Menken was announced as the recipient on Feb. 29, 2020, just days before the COVID-19 pandemic put such gatherings on a very long hold. But now it’s back on: Stars from Broadway and the West End will pay tribute to the eight-time Academy Award winner at the 13th Hollywood in Vienna. The event will be held at the Vienna Concert Hall (Wiener Konzerthaus) over two nights — Sept. 23 for a concert and Sept. 24 for a concert and award ceremony where Menken will be presented with the award by the city of Vienna.
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Adam Jacobs, who received a 2014 Grammy nod for best musical theater album for Aladdin, will perform, along with Trevor Dion Nicholas, Celinde Schoenmaker, Christine Allado and Bongiwe Happiness Malugna.
Disney+ will stream the gala event globally (alongside Austrian Broadcasting ORF) for the first time – a sign of how important Menken is to the Disney brand. In 2001 Menken was named a Disney Legend.
“I am truly honored to be receiving the prestigious Max Steiner Award this year,” Menken said in a statement (recycled from 2020 for understandable reasons). “And I feel humbled to have my name and work associated with the brilliant and legendary Max Steiner himself. The way his creative life moved from theater to film to the concert stage, even as his personal life moved him from Austria to England, and from Broadway to Hollywood, is an inspiration for all of us who follow in his footsteps nearly 50 years after his passing. And to receive this award in Vienna, the classical music capitol of the world, promises to make this one of the highlights of my life and career.”
Hollywood in Vienna was founded in 2007 by Sandra Tomek (Tomek Productions), who said in a statement: “Alan Menken wrote the melodies we listened to growing up from The Little Mermaid to Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. And now our children listen to those melodies once again through Disney’s live-action adaptations of those films. Alan wrote melodies that are known around the globe and are beloved by generations.”
Menken amassed eight Oscars in a seven-year span (1989-95). He won best original score for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Pocahontas and best original song with songs from those same films (“Under the Sea,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “A Whole New World” and “Colors of the Wind,” respectively).
Menken’s tally of eight Academy Awards is more than any other living individual. It’s just one short of the record for a musician (living or dead). Alfred Newman won nine scoring Oscars.
In 2020, Menken became the 16th individual to become an EGOT. In addition to his eight Oscars, he has won 11 Grammys (including song of the year for “A Whole New World”), a Tony (best original score for Newsies) and a Daytime Emmy (outstanding original song in a children’s, young adult or animated program for a song from Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure).
Menken was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008 and received that organization’s top award, the Johnny Mercer Award, in 2017.
Menken’s other awards include seven Golden Globes, the Olivier Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama Desk Award.
The Max Steiner Film Music Award is presented annually by the City of Vienna to renowned film music composers. Past awardees include Gabriel Yared (2019), Hans Zimmer (2018), Danny Elfman (2017), Alexander Desplat (2016), James Newton Howard (2015), Randy Newman (2014), James Horner (2013), Lalo Schifrin (2012), Alan Silvestri (2011), Howard Shore (2010), and John Barry (2009).
Steiner scored such classics as King Kong, Gone with the Wind and Casablanca. The composer, who was born in Vienna, received Oscars for scoring Now, Voyager (1942) and Since You Went Away (1944). He died in 1971 at age 83.