Admired by many for her groundbreaking achievements, PATRICE RUSHEN has amassed an impressive list of “firsts.” She was the first woman to serve as head composer/musical director for television’s highest honor, the Emmy Awards, and the first woman to serve as musical director for the NAACP Image Awards broadcast, an honor she has held for twelve consecutive years. Rushen has been the only woman musical director/composer for the People’s Choice Awards and for HBO’s Comic Relief, and the only woman musical director/conductor/arranger for a late-night television talk show, The Midnight Hour, which aired on CBS.
In 1998, Rushen was honored by the music industry when her adult-contemporary CD Signature received a Grammy nomination, as well as an NAACP Image Award nomination, and landed in the top ten of the adult-contemporary jazz charts. In addition to her success as a recording artist and musical director, Rushen is also an accomplished composer, providing musical scores for Emmy-nominated television movies and series, and several feature films, including Men In Black and Waiting To Exhale.
Considered one of the world’s top jazz pianists, Rushen has performed with and produced for such esteemed artists as Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Prince, Lionel Hampton, Nancy Wilson, and Michael Jackson.
Currently, her career focus is composing for films, television, and orchestras. Rushen can be seen as the host of Clint Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions’ 40 Years of the Monterey Jazz Festival, which will air on cable and has been released on DVD. She will also be featured in an upcoming Houses of Note special on HGTV. Rushen spends whatever free time she has working closely with the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, the NARAS Grammy In The Schools program, and other organizations dedicated to establishing music education and mentorship programs for inner-city youth.