Alan Menken Named 2020 Winner of Max Steiner Film Music Lifetime Achievement Award

Alan Menken — the award-winning composer behind some of Disney’s most beloved songs — is this year’s recipient of the Max Steiner Film Music Lifetime Achievement Award.

The honor, bestowed by the City of Vienna and named for Austrian composer Max Steiner (who penned the scores of Gone With the Wind, Casablanca and more), will be presented to Menken during the Hollywood in Vienna gala concert, an annual celebration founded by Sandra Tomek. Menken will receive his award in a ceremony on Oct. 3 following the gala concert at the Vienna Concert Hall on Oct. 2.

“I am truly honored to be receiving the prestigious Max Steiner Award this year,” Menken said in a statement. “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.”

Several of Menken’s contributions to the Disney canon have been chart hits: Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1993, Vanessa Williams’ recording of 1995’s “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas peaked at No. 4 on that same chart, Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson’s Beauty and the Beast duet followed when it reached No. 9 in 1992, and Michael Bolton’s rendition of “Go the Distance” from 1997’s Hercules rose to No. 27. He holds a veritable collection of Oscars, Golden Globes, Grammys and Tony awards, including best original score Oscars for The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Aladdin (1992),

Menken finds himself in exceptional company, as previous honorees include distinguished film composers such as Gabriel Yared, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Alexandre Desplat and more.