Star Trek Boldly Goes On Tour

Star Trek Live
CBS Studios Inc. © 2013 Paramount Pictures Corporation

When J.J. Abrams relaunched the Star Trek franchise, composer Michael Giacchino added his musical talents to the mix with his scores for 2009’s Star Trek and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness.

Starting in May, these films will be presented in high definition, with live orchestra accompaniment as part of the Star Trek: Live in Concert experience. The tour kicks off May 24 at KKL Concert Hall in Lucerne, Switzerland, home to the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. The group presents around 45 concerts of symphonic music worldwide each year.

Some of the tour’s highlight performances include three nights with the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at London’s Royal Albert Hall from May 29 to May 31, and with the San Diego Symphony in July at Embarcadero Marina Park, coinciding with Comic-Con International.  The show will also be presented in conjunction with official 2014 Star Trek Convention events in Las Vegas, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and Cherry Hill, N.J.

Star Trek: Live in Concert is the latest of live music performances to put the “pop culture” into “pops concerts,” bringing the world of classical music to more generations.

This is a concept that appeals to me as well, as I learned when I took my then 3-year-old daughter to a young people’s concert comparing Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5” to John Williams’ Darth Vader “Imperial March.” She politely, albeit impatiently, sat through the former piece, but when the orchestra started in on that familiar “Dum, dum, dum, dum dum, dum, dum dum dum,” she was hooked. I then realized the key to opening young minds to the orchestra: Sith Lords.

live tours
Science-fiction and fantasy-themed live music events have included Star Wars: In Concert, Video Games Live and the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular.

Since then, I have always been on the hunt to find similar ways to introduce my own kids and their friends to the beauty of orchestral music, especially when played live.

One of the more recent live orchestra performances with a science fiction or fantasy edge was Star Wars: In Concert. Hosted by Anthony Daniels, this show toured world wide for more than two years and included an extensive prop and costume exhibit at many venues. The live tours stopped in 2012, but fans can still catch clips of the show on YouTube and the event’s official website. A similar, Lord of the Rings In Concert event (not affiliated with Star Wars: In Concert) also toured around the same time.

In 2013, Doctor Who fans celebrated the series’ 50th anniversary with a one-time concert, Doctor Who Prom (short for promenade concert). Held at Royal Albert Hall in London, the show included the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the London Philharmonic performing the music of Murray Gold, who composed the score for the series since its 2005 return. The London event included special guests Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman, among others, and was so well-received that the follow-up Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular concerts were held in January and February this year in Australia and New Zealand, complete with plenty of visuals, aliens, and monsters. There are no additional tours scheduled at this time, but fans can still enjoy highlights online.

Still touring is Video Games Live, which has been selling out venues worldwide since 2005 and is still making its way around the United States and beyond. This too is an immersive production with full orchestra, choir, and big screen visuals, as well as audience participation. This covers everything from the “old school” classics like Space Invaders and Tetris to today’s big sellers like Halo, Portal, BioShock, Medal of Honor, Zelda, Warcraft, and tons more. Find upcoming dates on via their official site, or find out about their latest studio album from our recent GeekMom post.

Star Trek: Live in Concert will host concerts in the United States and Europe this year, with a Canadian tour beginning in 2015. Tickets and tour schedule information can be found at StarTrekConcerts.com.

Lisa Kay Tate is a veteran feature writer with 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine and freelance writing. In addition to serving as Associate Editor for her local arts and entertainment guide, El Paso Scene, she has been a regular contributor to the site ihogeek.com and maintains her own blogsite at lisathegeekmom.wordpress.com. She and her husband, writer/photographer Rick, live on the edge of "New Texico" where they keep busy raising their two geeklings and sharing space with their dog, Sirius Black, and cat, Loki.