The intersection of geek culture and “high culture” has had some mixed results. However, the trend of taking beloved geeky films and having full orchestras play the music live? I think we can all agree that’s pretty awesome.
Here in Washington, DC, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (the National Park Service’s only national park dedicated to the performing arts) has been at the forefront of this trend. Way back in 2008, they screened The Fellowship of the Ring with a full orchestra. The next two years saw performances of The Two Towers and Return of the King. I was at all of them, and they were amazing.
Since then, the trend has expanded out, and every summer, outdoor venues across the country have done live screenings of films such as Star Trek, Back to the Future, The Sound of Music. and others. The concerts haven’t been limited to full movies, either. I’ve written about a couple of the more kid-friendly “compilation” shows that were pretty remarkable: Pixar in Concert and Disney in Concert.
This summer, Dreamworks is entering the fray with Dreamworks Animation in Concert. This week (June 30th), the show will have a special one-night-only premiere at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center (tickets available here) with the National Symphony Orchestra. Later this summer, you can catch performances with the Houston Symphony, Utah Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, and–for those of you not in the States–in Moscow, Melbourne, and Calgary. More cities and dates will be added weekly, so keep an eye out.
The celebration includes more than 20 years of animation from Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, and more as scenes from the films are projected in HD onto the big screen as the scores are played live. The music–performed by the NSO–was composed by the likes of Hans Zimmer, Alexandre Desplat, Alan Silvestri, Danny Elfman, and others.
We’re obviously huge fans of this trend, and it’s a phenomenal way to get kids–who might not otherwise be “into” classical music–to appreciate the symphony. First stop, Shrek…next stop, Mozart?