Renowned Composer Jerry Bilik Moves to Sarasota

The composer has been music coordinator the Oscars and Emmys, as well as VP of creative development at Feld Entertainment. His new piece premieres at La Musica in April.

By Ilene Denton March 3, 2015

Hi mnh wokkif

Composer and musical arranger Jerry Bilik scored the music for the TV shows Charlie’s Angels and Starsky and Hutch and provided music for such films as Albert Brooks’ Real Life and The Best Man. He and his wife, Helga, moved to Sarasota several years ago. But as vice president of creative development for Feld Entertainment, writing and directing Disney on Ice, he was always on the road. “I was here, but I wasn’t here,” he says. When Bilik recently retired, he dove right in, joining the boards of WEDU Public Television and La Musica International Chamber Festival and volunteering for Sailor Circus. In April, La Musica will premiere his new piece, String Quartet in Modus Lascivus.


“I was music coordinator for a lot of awards shows: the Oscars, the Emmys. I wrote music and kept track of everything that was happening musically. I worked on a CBS-TV special on the circus, and the Felds asked me to work for them. I decided to [accept] because of the live interaction with the audience at every show. It’s kind of sterile in Hollywood; for some of the [awards] shows we were six miles away in a recording studio with monitors.”


“I have a piano and write the music down with a pencil the old-fashioned way. The piece that La Musica is going to premiere in April is a completely serious work.”


“I was a professor of music at the University of Michigan and did a lot of music for marching bands. We’re back in Ann Arbor in the summers. The university’s 200th anniversary is coming up in 2017, and I’m guiding a big spectacle that’s going to be simulcast all over the world to their giant alumni base.”


“WSMR [classical radio] is on almost all the time in my house, but the music I like ranges from classical to rock and jazz to R&B. I arranged some music for the Temptations a long time ago, and they wanted to study music theory with me. We’re season subscribers to the orchestra; a collaboration may be in the works.”


“What we really do is simply groove on this place. We walk around Marina Jack, and I sometimes take a sailboat out from O’Leary’s. Everywhere it’s so beautiful, the people are wonderful, and we like the constant striving for diversity that’s going on here; it’s something we believe in strongly.”


“Helga and I are entranced by the cultural quality of Sarasota at the professional level and also in the schools. I’ve gotten involved with the Sailor Circus with Dolly [Jacobs] and Pedro [Reis], and what they’re doing with those kids is exceptional.”

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