Adventurous Film Music from “Joker”, “King Richard” Gets Disney Hall Showcase

Los Angeles Philharmonic is a film music enthusiast. They have performed many concerts that include everything from “Black Panther”To “Home Alone”And “The Princess Bride”To “Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde”The Disney Hall and Hollywood Bowl will host this season’s Disney Hall and Hollywood Bowl concerts, as well as the Academy Awards stage in 2019. But its boldest foray into film music may come this weekend with Reel Change, when the orchestra will devote three Disney Hall programs to music curated by composers Hildur Guðnadóttir (“Joker”Kris Bowers (“Bridgerton”) and Nicholas Britell (“Moonlight”).

These events will take place on Nov. 19, 20, and 21 and could be an opportunity for Britell and Bowers to showcase new music that is eligible for awards. “King Richard”And “Don’t Look Up,” respectively, and for Guðnadóttir to remind concertgoers of the score to “Joker”For which she was awarded the Oscar in 2020. But they’re also adventurous evenings in which the three composers’ work will be mixed with film scores and concert pieces that have influenced them, including music from modern composers like Arvo Pärt, György Ligeti, Mica Levi, Jonny Greenwood and Björk.

“The idea was to put a focus on the fact that film music can also be concert-hall music,” Icelandic composer Guðnadóttir told . “But it’s not just film music – it’s music that has inspired me and people of my generation throughout the last couple of decades.”

Guðnadóttir’s program will include a cue from the Oscar-winning “Joker”Score (“the hit,”She laughed and shared some of the music she and Sam Slater composed for the new videogame. “Battlefield 2042”And a concert piece. “Under Takes Over,”She wrote it a decade ago. In between those selections, she’s including music from film composers Ryuichi SakamotoAnd Mica Levi, plus often uncompromising compositions from Alvin Lucier, Kaija Saarihio, Arvo Pärt, György Ligeti and Henryk Górecki.

Bowers’ evening will lean more heavily on his own compositions, with the world premiere of his Concerto for Horn and medleys of his scores to “King Richard,” “Green Book,” “When They See Us” and “Bridgerton.”It will also contain what he calls his “Inspirations Medley,” consisting of selections from composers including Shigeru Umebayashi, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Owen Pallett, Arcade Fire, Björk, Jason Moran and John Brion.

Britell’s program includes selections from four of his scores – “Vice,” “The Underground Railroad,” “If Beale Street Could Talk”The new “Don’t Look Up” – as well as film music from Mica Levi (“Jackie”), Gary Yershon (“Mr. Turner”), Terence Blanchard (“Malcolm X”), Jonny Greenwood (“There Will Be Blood”Kathryn Bostic (“Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am”).  

BowersAnd Guðnadóttir are in their 30s while Britell is 41. They’ve all begun to achieve recognition in recent years, with Guðnadóttir winning the Oscar and Britell receiving nominations for “Moonlight” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.”Bowers has not been nominated for his musical compositions, but he was recognized earlier this year for his co-directing the documentary. “A Concerto Is a Conversation,” about his writing of the horn concerto and about his grandfather’s move to Los Angeles from the Jim Crow South.

“They wanted to do a whole series about the new generation of film composers, and the opportunity to curate an evening with one of the best orchestras in the world was something I couldn’t say no to,” Guðnadóttir said.

She said that the hardest part was to limit her music selections to approximately an hour and to figure out how much of her own work she should include. “I could have easily done a whole week of concerts with music that has inspired me and other composers.  And in some ways, I was more excited to hear music from other people than my own music. So I chose pieces that I selfishly wanted to hear performed.”

Her own composition “Under Takes Over,”She said that the overture was meant to be a sort of overture. “I wrote it 10 years ago, and it sort of illustrates what my thought process has been over that time,”She spoke. “Even though people know me best for the films I’ve done in the last two years, I’ve been forming this way of thinking about space and live performance and exploration for about 20 years. I’ve been twisting the perception of music and time and space and doing lots of experiments with the concert form, so I thought it would be fun to include one of the older pieces where you can see the sense of exploration.”

Guðnadóttir’s program will take place on Friday evening, Bowers’ on Saturday evening and Britell’s on Sunday afternoon. More information is available here laphil.com.

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