See Harry Potter With a Live Orchestra Accompaniment on an Upcoming ‘Film Concert’ Tour
Arthouse or independently-run movie theaters will occasionally offer screenings of silent classics with new accompaniment music interposed over the film. Intrepid programmers have rounded up musicians to play a score for the given film in real-time for a live audience, and the results are usually pretty magnificent. One of my most cherished Halloween memories involves a showing of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with a three-piece heavy metal band droning mercilessly beneath the screen, and another cherished memory, non-Halloween category, involves a pipe organ virtuoso soundtracking Metropolis with a rig the size of a bedroom. When treats like this come to town, they’re not to be missed.
The upcoming “film concert series” in the works at Warner Bros. won’t be quite the same deal, Variety reports, but it’ll probably draw an even larger crowd. Because the film in question here is not some stuffy artifact from a century ago, but the people’s champion, boy wizard Harry Potter. WB and CineConcerts have partnered to produce a series of events at which a full orchestra will provide a live performance of John Williams’ iconic theme music in perfect tandem with the film. It’s a trickier feat than the usual silent-film accompaniment, because the film’s audio track will still include all dialogue and non-musical noise, while the orchestra must synchronize precisely with the film moment by moment. To reinforce the sense of spectacle and occasion inherent to this new undertaking, the ‘film concert’ will project each of the Harry Potter films onto a 40-foot-screen, beginning with The Sorcerer’s Stone.
The Variety piece cites upcoming dates in Philadelphia, San Diego, Nashville, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, and San Francisco, though it does not provide any comprehensive tour schedule. But CineConcerts has met with warm receptions when attempting this with other films (the article mentions past performances of The Godfather, Gladiator, and It’s A Wonderful Life), and with Harry’s mass appeal, this could be a great way for kids to get jazzed about orchestral music.