On Sunday, May 27th at 3pm The Chicago Philharmonic will present one of their characteristically enchanting concerts, a performance they call Hollywood Heroes. It’s a program in which Artistic Director Scott Speck has gathered eleven brilliant compositions from scores for film, featuring landmark works from composers like Elmer Bernstein, John Williams, Danny Elfman and Maurice Jarre for legendary films like The Magnificent Seven, Star Wars, Spider-Man and Lawrence of Arabia.
… we’ll play the music for superheroes, pirates, wizards, cartoon heroes, space epics, dramas, Westerns and family films. Something for everyone …
The concert at Chicago’s Harris Theater is both family friendly and musically rich, bringing into one fun afternoon the chance to enjoy music that millions of people have heard and loved, along with a rare opportunity to appreciate the musical richness of great orchestral composition. The Chicago Philharmonic’s Artistic Director, Scott Speck, has performed all over the world, and brings a bright and careful understanding of why people love music to both his conducting and his programming. With both of those talents on display in Hollywood Heroes, we just had to ask Scott to give us a closer look at the program. Here’s what he told us:
… we often find that good programming comes about through creatively limiting the possibilities. And so at the Chicago Philharmonic we hit upon a specific topic to help focus our thinking …
Johnny Nevin: The Chicago Philharmonic’s Hollywood Heroes concert includes an incredible range of music for film, from Star Wars to Lawrence of Arabia, from Spider Man to The Magificent Seven. What were some of the ideas you were thinking of as you chose the pieces that the orchestra would perform?
Scott Speck: Some of my favorite music of all time was written for the movies. I grew up listening to film music and imagining that I would become a film composer, or maybe even a film director! So it would be impossible to put into one concert all the movie scores that I consider to be great masterpieces — or even all the scores that I feel especially close to. Honestly, those would fill at least fifty different concerts.
But we often find that good programming comes about through creatively limiting the possibilities. And so at the Chicago Philharmonic we hit upon a specific topic to help focus our thinking: Hollywood Heroes. The heroes we chose, both female and male, come from epic, iconic movies of the past several decades. We chose themes that are not only heroic, but also highly memorable. This is a concert where the audience will go out humming!
Furthermore, we decided to feature the heroes of many different film genres in our concert. So we’ll play the music for superheroes, pirates, wizards, cartoon heroes, space epics, dramas, Westerns and family films. Something for everyone. I can’t wait to conduct this concert!
Johnny: This is the Chicago Philharmonic’s final concert of the 2017-2018 season, so that makes it a good time to look ahead to what you have planned for next season. We hear that the full season is going to be announced at Hollywood Heroes, but can you give us an idea of what some of the orchestra’s plans are?
… we are thrilled to expand this concept to our entire 2018-2019 season: Heroes and Legends
Scott: All that thinking about heroes made us realize just how much music has been composed on the subject — and not just for the movies. So we are thrilled to expand this concept to our entire 2018-2019 season: Heroes and Legends. The season celebrates some of the great heroic stories set to music. Without giving everything away, I’ll let you know that we explore, among other things, the stories of Scheherazade, Romeo and Juliet, and the Great Gatsby. And for the first time, the Chicago Philharmonic presents a five-day international festival. We are highlighting the music, heroes and history of Poland, and collaborating with some esteemed and beloved Polish partners, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Polish independence.
We are proud that the Chicago Philharmonic has developed a following in many diverse communities throughout Chicago and beyond. We are excited to cater to all these communities, and spread the unadulterated joy of music-making on the highest level.
The Chicago Philharmonic will present Hollywood Heroes on Sunday, May 28th at 3pm at The Harris Theater. Tickets are available online from The Harris Theater. The program (take a deep breath) includes:
The Incredibles Michael Giacchino
Wonder Woman Rupert Gregson-Williams
Spider-Man Danny Elfman (arr. John Wasson)
Pirates of the Caribbean Klaus Badelt (arr. Ted Ricketts)
Lawrence of Arabia Maurice Jarre
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone John Willams
The Magnificent Seven Elmer Bernstein
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Ennio Morricone
“Gabriel’s Oboe” from The Mission Ennio Morricone (arr. Robert Longfield)
Star Wars John Williams
“Adventure on Earth” from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial John Williams
PHOTOS (from top): The Chicago Philharmonic’s Hollywood Heroes (Courtesy of The Chicago Philharmonic Society • The Chicago Philharmonic (Photo by Elliot Mandel) • Scott Speck (Photo by Elliot Mandel • Scott Speck and The Chicago Philharmonic (Photo by Elliott Mandel)