Cheryl Tiano, an agent for the Gorfaine-Schwartz Agency representing film, TV and game composers, died Monday night of complications from heart surgery. She was 59.
The agency issued this statement Tuesday night: “It is with deepest sorrow that we mourn the passing of our dear friend and colleague Cheryl Tiano. Cheryl was a beloved member of our GSA family for nearly 30 years… It is impossible to express how deeply we will miss her.”
The Society of Composers & Lyricists added, “Cheryl had long ago taken her place amongst the top tier of composer agents in the entertainment industry. Her clients loved her, and she loved repping them. She is an enormous loss to our media music community.”
Tiano was a rare instance of a composer agent who was actually a musician. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, she studied composition at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and later graduated from California Institute of the Arts, where she found a passion for the business side of the music industry.
She spent several years working with high-profile concert-music organizations, including the prestigious Monday Evening Concert series at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, known for its premiere performances of original works by 20th century composers.
Tiano joined the Gorfaine-Schwartz Agency in May 1993. Over the years she represented many of the agency’s high-profile composers in the film and TV realm and, several years ago, spearheaded the agency’s interactive division, handling video game composers as well.
GSA partner Sam Schwartz told Variety, “Cheryl was sensitive to the art form itself, and to the artist who created it. She had a unique, effervescent personality. She was dedicated to her clients, her work, her relationships.”
Added GSA partner Michael Gorfaine, “She had all this talent as a representative and, as a colleague, she was detail-oriented and homework-driven — and had all that wrapped around a core of loving music, decency and integrity. She never wavered from those values.”
Both praised her foresight in helping to elevate game music to the prominence it has today, involving high-profile composers and encouraging game publishers to enhance their soundtracks with huge orchestras.
Among the composers she represented over the years were Brian Tyler (“Avengers: Age of Ultron”), Steve Jablonsky (“Transformers”), George S. Clinton (“Austin Powers”), Sean Callery (“24”), Gabriel Mann (“Modern Family”) and Jesper Kyd (“Assassin’s Creed”).
Survivors include her husband of 15 years, Frank Gerechter; stepson Joseph Simon of Cambridge, Mass.; father Hi Tiano of Los Angeles; and sister Linda Tiano of New Jersey. A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family is suggesting donations in her name to local animal rescue organizations.