Films-with-orchestra: entry points for audiences, revenue for orchestras

Posted on: July 26, 2022

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Assistant Conductor Jacob Joyce conducts a July 7 rehearsal for the orchestra’s “Jurassic Park” concert at Heinz Hall. Photo by Vanessa Abbitt / Post-Gazette

“At a recent orchestra rehearsal in Heinz Hall, a raptor sprang from the shadows repeatedly to the sounds of bellowing brass and squealing strings,” writes Jeremy Reynolds in Monday’s (7/25) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra was preparing for a weekend of concerts of live film with orchestra, in this case, ‘Jurassic Park’ [featuring] John Williams’ score…. The Pittsburgh Symphony’s performances of ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Harry Potter’ films typically sell out…. They’re significant revenue generators…. Said Jacob Joyce, the PSO’s assistant conductor … who leads the orchestra’s film concerts, ‘It shows the orchestra off in the best way… These are serious in every way as a Wagner opera or a Beethoven symphony.’ … ‘Cinematic music connects with people enormously,’ PSO music director Manfred Honeck [said] in April…. Converting the music for live performance is an involved process that begins with securing the licensing for the music and screenings from production companies. In the past 10 years, several companies have sprung up to do just that [including] CineConcerts [which] typically puts on around 400 such shows a year at different orchestras, offering a range of classics … to more modern favorites… Other production companies license and package dozens of other films.”