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Cinematic Arts Library adds the music of composer John Cacavas

Dean Daley and composer Michael Feinstein celebrate the school’s new Cacavas Music Collection

The USC School of Cinematic Arts celebrated the donation of the John Cacavas Music Collection over the weekend.

Cacavas, who died in 2014, was remembered as a composer, conductor, author, chef and raconteur at an event attended by his widow, Bonnie, and 10-year-old grandson Eric. Also in attendance were Dean Elizabeth M. Daley, composer Michael Feinstein and several guests from the American Society of Composers and the Film Music Society.

Bonnie Cacavas told the audience that John would have loved the party and would certainly be telling stories in the lobby. She stressed that John should be remembered across mediums and genres.

He would sit at his old typewriter and type away.

Bonnie Cacavas

“John was passionate about cooking, painting, making collages, making cocktails and writing. He would sit at his old typewriter and type away. He would turn out novels and textbooks and a Broadway show,” she said. “John often said he thought he should have been a writer, but the world would have lost a lot of music. I’m so happy that his legacy will be preserved here at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.”

Small-screen themes

Cacavas was a prolific composer of television scores who perhaps is best known for writing the theme to Kojak. He also scored the music for The Bionic Woman and Mrs. Columbo, as well as TV movies such as The Executioner’s Song.

Elizabeth Daley and Bonnie Cacavas

Dean Elizabeth Daley, Daniel Carlin, Michael Feinstein and Bonnie Cacavas, from left (Photo/John Sciulli)

“We at the USC School of Cinematic Arts will do everything we can to preserve John Cacavas’ legacy,” Daley said. “John is one of television history’s most accomplished composers. He also created music for films, miniseries and even video games. The John Cacavas Music Collection is an incredible asset to our students and a fitting tribute to a renaissance man.”

Professor Daniel Carlin, chair of the Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program, was a colleague of Cacavas at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, spoke at the USC event.

“He was a person of principles for whom doing the right thing came naturally, and that certainly left a lasting impression on me,” Carlin said. “Whether we were working together on the scoring stage, screening a movie together, discussing a score, or mulling over the latest challenge at the Academy, I knew simply being in John’s presence would leave me smarter, more sure of myself and more grateful for being a part of his presence.”


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Cinematic Arts Library adds the music of composer John Cacavas

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