Back in 1987, Andre Previn conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic as they performed music composed by Sergei Prokofiev alongside a showing of the 1938 film Alexander Nevsky. Ever since then, the practice of performing live orchestral music in conjunction with film screenings has become a growing form of entertainment. Film Concerts Live (FCL) organizes a number of these concerts, having played concerts for films such as Star Trek, Back to the Future, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Now, they have their eyes on Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park.
This is certainly a prime time to do it, what with the semi-recent success of Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World. But it can be a bit difficult to put these concerts into effect. FCL has to communicate with directors and composers alike when organizing a concert, as new music must be used as they enter and exit the intermission. For the purposes of the Jurassic Park concert, the process of creating this music will be overseen by composer John Williams himself.
Williams’ involvement is a big win for FCL producer Jamie Richardson, who credits the score as a major aspect of the film’s success.
“Jurassic Park is one of John’s most recognized, beloved scores. The dinosaurs are created through special effects, but the reason they live and breathe is John’s music.”
It may be difficult to pull these concerts together, but FCL producer Steve Linder says that these concerts are increasing in popularity. FCL alone raised their output from 18 live-to-picture concerts in 2014 to 98 such concerts in 2015. These concerts attract numerous audience members (as many as 75% of those filling the seats) who have never attended an orchestral event in their lives. And while they can be somewhat expensive, the profits aren’t exactly garbage. Their Back to the Future concert made $411,273 in just two nights.
This might be why more and more outfits are beginning to host these events. Even concerts featuring music without picture have a tendency to do well when they embrace movie music as their thematic focus. Over the course of 2016, more than 100 performing arts halls in North America will host Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage. This concert, organized by CineConcerts in conjunction with Paramount Pictures and CBS Consumer Products, will include music from approximately fifty years’ worth of Star Trek series and films. Says Linder:
“I know of no orchestra that isn’t doing this now. They understand that it’s being done at a very high artistic level.”
This artistic level just might skyrocket with a name like John Williams involved. FCL has plans to push the Jurassic Park concert at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters’ convention in New York this weekend, with plans to debut the concert this fall. At the time of writing, no symphony has been announced.