Cheryl Tiano, Longtime Film/TV Music Agent, Dies at 59

Cheryl Tiano
Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency

Cheryl Tiano

Cheryl Tiano, a revered music agent who represented A-list film, TV and video game composers for nearly three decades, died Monday of complications from heart surgery. She was 59.

At the time of her death, Tiano was an agent at the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency (GSA), a job she held for 27 years. In addition to repping such top-tier composers as Brian Tyler (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Steve Jablonsky (Transformers), Sean Callery (24) and George S. Clinton (Austin Powers), Tiano developed the agency’s video games and interactive division, where she successfully pushed video game producers to utilize orchestral scores before it was common practice.

"It is with deepest sorrow that we mourn the passing of our dear friend and colleague Cheryl Tiano,” said Gorfaine/Schwartz in a statement. “Cheryl was a beloved member of our GSA family for nearly 30 years. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this difficult time, and with everyone in our industry who knew and loved her. It is impossible to express how deeply we will miss her."

The Society of Composers & Lyricists also acknowledged Tiano’s death with the following statement: "Cheryl had long ago taken her place amongst the top tier of composer agents in the entertainment industry. Her clients loved her, and she loved repping them. She is an enormous loss to our media music community."

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Tiano studied composition at Boston's Berklee College of Music and later graduated from the California Institute of the Arts. Early in her career, she spent several years working at a variety of high-profile arts organizations, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she ran the Monday Evening Concert series. She was hired at Gorfaine/Schwartz in May 1993.

It was Tiano’s music background that, in the words of GSA partner Sam Schwartz, made her “sensitive to the art form itself, and to the artists who created it.” He added, “She had a unique, effervescent personality. She was dedicated to her clients, her work, and her relationships."

GSA partner Michael Gorfaine released his own statement in the wake of Tiano’s passing. "She was a talented representative who was very detail-oriented and homework-driven, all of which was wrapped around a core of decency, integrity and a deep love of music,” he said. “She never wavered from those values.”

Tiano's death also sparked a flood of tributes from her clients, including Tyler, who called her “a true beacon in the music world and a champion for change for so many. My heart goes out to everyone who knew and loved her. This loss is incalculable.”

“Cheryl was that rarest of rare combination of a really great person and a really great agent,” remarked Clinton. “I feel so fortunate to have been both her client and her friend. Hollywood will be a darker place now because we’ve lost her bright light.”

“The word ‘agent’ is too impersonal,” said Callery in a statement. “She was someone I loved and trusted unconditionally with absolutely anything. She often knew more what was going on in my head than I did. I suppose the word ‘consigliere’ comes closer, but not quite. Not once in 24 years of conversation did she ever put me on hold or step away. If God ever needs an agent, he sure has one now.”

Tiano is survived by her husband of 15 years, Frank Gerechter; stepson Joseph Simon; father Hi Tiano; and sister Linda Tiano. A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made in her name to local animal rescue organizations.

You can find more tributes to Tiano below.

Christopher Lennertz, composer/songwriter (The Boys, Sausage Party):

Andrea von Foerster, music supervisor (500 Days of Summer, Begin Again):

The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation:

Brian H. Kim, composer (Amazon’s Panic)

Jeff Rona, composer (Devil May Cry 5):