We love movie music. We, the audience, love how movie music is the off screen character that can make us laugh and cry. As Francis Ford Coppola once said, “music is a big factor in helping the illusion of the film come to life. The same way music brings back different periods of our lives.” Through film music in concerts, one can relive the journeys of our friends Han Solo, Bilbo Baggins and even Buzz Lightyear.
This last weekend the Chicago Symphony Orchestra opened the 10th season of the CSO at the Moviesconcert series with Pixar in Concert. The CSO played a lively concert of the music from such Pixar films as Finding Nemo, Wall-E, Monsters Inc. and Toy Story. The concert was accompanied by projections of the scenes from the films. As explained by conductor Richard Kaufman, “This shows how the music brings characters and story to life!” With incredible command of the orchestra, the Grammy Award-winning maestro led the orchestra in a wildly fun display of styles. From jazz to rock to emotionally driven melodies, the CSO brought these films to life. The dynamic performance by the CSO was expected, but the emotional experience inflicted by these films was surprising. Apparently every film by Pixar is made to make one cry.
Kaufman’s approach to the spectacle was professional, but endearing. He even took the time on stage to thank the stage crew and music librarians! It was so nice to have laughter in the hallowed halls of Symphony Center. It’s too bad it takes film music for the CSO to perform music by living composers to a full audience. This season 13 of 108 Symphony Center concerts by the CSO include music by living composers. These 13 concerts feature a grand total of five different living composers. Three of these living composers include the Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus Pierre Boulez and the Mead Composer’s-in-Residence Anna Clyne and Mason Bates. Although this does not include the CSO at the Movies orMusicNow series, the inclusion of living composers at the CSO is startlingly low.
Whether you are new to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or not, this is a wonderful concert series to witness. Hearing a film score live is a completely unique way to enjoy the journey of beloved characters. The music is also fantastic, owing everything to its forefathers Copland, Shostakovitch, Vaughn-Williams and Wagner. This is also a concert series for a variety of ages. Of course Pixar in Concert is targeted for youth, the other films are a great introduction to the symphony for young or new audiences.
Friday, May 29, at 8 p.m. – Metropolis, a unique event that highlights this genre-defying, science fiction masterpiece set to music by composers from the silent film period including selections by Arnold Schoenberg, Edward Grieg and Béla Bartók.
Friday, March 13, at 8 p.m. – Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey which features the CSO and Chorus under conductor André de Ridder in a score that brought worldwide fame to Richard
Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra, the music of Gyӧrgy Ligeti and Johann Strauss, Jr’s. Blue Danube Waltz.
Tuesday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m. – Ben-Hur, MGM’s 1925 silent film classic showcases the CSO in an orchestral score composed and performed by legendary drummer and composer
Stewart Copeland (The Police), who joins the orchestra as a soloist on the drum kit for this one-of-a-kind event.
Friday, October 31 at 8 p.m. – The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with music by Robert Wiene featuring the mighty organ of Orchestra Hall (Casavant Frères Opus 3765; 44 stops, 59 ranks, 14 couplers, 3,414 pipes).
Tuesday, February 3 & 4 at 7 p.m. Frances Ford Coppola’s landmark film, The Godfather, The Academy Award-winning drama is regularly cited as one of the greatest films ever made and in these performances, members of the CSO perform a recently uncovered version of Nino Rota’s unforgettable score.
Tickets for all CSO concerts can be purchased by phone at 800-223-7114 or 312-294-3000; online at cso.org, or at the Symphony Center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604.
Subscriptions for the three-concert CSO at the Movies series (Pixar in Concert, 2001, Metropolis) are on sale now for $75-291. Subscribers to the series can purchase tickets to any film-related Special Concerts now. Single tickets for all 2014/15 concerts at Symphony Center including CSO at the Movies or film-related Special Concerts go on sale August 8, 2014.
Discounted student tickets for select concerts can be purchased, subject to availability, online in advance or at the box office on the day of the concert.
For group rates, please call 312-294-3040.