Pacific Symphony Presents Its American Composers Festival: FROM SCREEN TO SCORE, 5/8-10

Pacific Symphony Presents Its American Composers Festival: FROM SCREEN TO SCORE, 5/8-10

Pacific Symphony's critically-acclaimed American Composers Festival (ACF) continues for the 14th year with "From Screen to Score: New Concert Music by Famous Film Composers"-who happen to be four of today's biggest Hollywood heavy-hitters: John Williams ("Star Wars," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "E.T., the Extra Terrestrial"), Howard Shore ("Lord of the Rings," "The Hobbit," "Hugo"), James Horner ("Titanic," "Star Trek," "Apollo 13") and Elliot Goldenthal ("Alien 3," "Batman Forever" and "Batman and Robin"). Together, these iconic composers boast 11 Oscars and countless billions of box office dollars. They also hold the ironic position of simultaneously being the most-heard orchestral composers ever (the soundtrack for "Titanic" sold 30 million copies), yet their music is the least performed.

Although once disregarded by the modernist school of composition, film music has without a doubt come into its own as a fully recognized art form. And, of course, this recognition is not just academic. Millions of filmgoers have been exposed to and enriched by orchestral music through the movies. But debates over the value of film music versus concert music or what constitutes "commercial," "serious" or "artistic" rage on. It is this controversy that lies at the heart of this ACF, as these extraordinary, if not revolutionary, composers prove their mettle through not film music but symphonic concert works.

Led by Music Director Carl St.Clair and curated by Richard Guerin, "From Screen to Score" takes place Thursday-Saturday, May 8-10, in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall; a preview talk with Alan Chapman begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25-$99. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit ACF, presented as part of the Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical series, is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support from media sponsor KPCC.

"It is always an exciting moment when great film composers have the opportunity to step out of the world of movies and can present their 'non-movie music' to a concert audience," says Music Director Carl St.Clair. "Without a storyline, plot or incredible sound effects, they have the opportunity to explore larger and longer musical forms, which are not bound to the timing or script of a film. They are afforded a musical freedom, as this upcoming program will reflect, that results in incredibly exciting concert works. Hearing these pieces will allow everyone to experience their immense talents and abilities as great American composers."

For Symphony patrons, the "Hollywood" theme may seem vaguely familiar. In 2009, the festival celebrated the art of film music, past and present, by exploring the differences between composing for concerts and composing for film-and how the two styles have evolved into what we hear today. Considering that film music has been an integral part of Southern California culture since the inception of the movie industry and has had strong connections to the world of "classical" concert music, the festival was not only relevant but it also began a conversation that begs to be continued.

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