I had the rare privilege of experiencing one of my favorite literary series HARRY POTTER come to life, as one of the world’s leading conductors/composers, JUSTIN FREER, led the renown Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in their interpretation of John Williams’ magical score. I will never forget reliving the first film at the Harry Potter™ Film Concert Series in high-definition on a 40-foot screen while listening to a live performance that swirled all around a full-audience of Harry Potter fans of all ages.
Listen to this whimsical clip of “Harry’s Wondrous World” from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by John Williams. Released: 2001. Track 2. Genre: Stage & Screen.
In 1997, my sister-in-law introduced me to the children’s book. Immediately, I was drawn into J.K. Rowling’s extremely captivating characters and the world of Harry Potter. Since that first book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, I have personally purchased, re-read and listen’s to Jim Dale’s phenomenal audio version of the entire 7-book series several times.
In 2001, Harry Potter was released as a full-length feature film, musically framed by one of the top soundtrack maestro’s John Williams. The movie added another layer of amazement as all of Rowling’s incredible imagination emerged on the big screen.
How did you feel when you first saw Hogwarts? Or the feast at the beginning of the school year? And what about the Quidditch game?! ‘Seeing’ Harry Potter, everyone and everything ‘come to life’ was such a treat for the senses.
Now, the series has reached another level of dazzling entertainment for all ages. CineConcerts is thrilled to partner with Warner Bros Consumer Products on this iconic franchise.
CineConcerts has been building an international reputation of producing orchestral concerts performed with visual media. The Harry Potter film series is one of those once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomena that continues to delight millions of fans around the world. CineConcerts is delighted to screen the film with the live immersive musical component. It is the first time ever that audiences will experience this film in this dimension with the award-winning music scores played live by a symphony orchestra, all while the beloved films are simultaneously projected onto the big screen.
The cinematic tour features the entire film, beginning with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, being screened with all the music removed from the print, and every note being performed live by a symphony orchestra.
Enjoy the musical dance from “The Quidditch Match” from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by John Williams. Released: 2001. Track 11. Genre: Stage & Screen.
We arrived at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland and were instantly taken in, by the impressively unique architecture of the building.
The external view with the outdoor pavilion felt like a sculpture itself.
Meanwhile, equally captivating was the acoustically balanced theater.
We entered the theater, and the world that J.K. Rowling imagined for all of us to enjoy.
Where is the tour traveling?
- The Harry Potter Film Concert Series will tour across the globe. For a current, and constantly updating list of the tour, visit harrypotterinconcert.com.
The Hollywood Bowl Concert (photo credit: Warner Bros. Consumer Products)
Will the tour expand to include other films from the franchise?
- The first film concert in the series begins this summer with the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone concert tour; eventually all eight films will be screened in the concert series. For more specifics on the Harry Potter Film Concert Series, visit www.harrypotterinconcert.com.
Will John Williams conduct the Harry Potter Film Concert Series?
- The Harry Potter Film Concert Series will be conducted by one of the most sought-after conductors Justin Freer.
“The more creative I am throughout the day, the more energized I feel.”
Who is Justin Freer?
- Justin Freer is the leading conductor of full symphonic music live to projection projects. He has appeared with some of the world’s leading orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, London Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. From full-length screenings with live orchestra to music-interactive sporting event experiences to original 3D-environment holiday programming, CineConcerts is at the forefront of live entertainment.
It was a pleasure to meet and interview Justin Freer. He is a charming, friendly and passionate artist. I love meeting people who are able to find their GIFT in life and use their talent to inspire the world around them. Enjoy my exclusive interview:
Q: You have performed several full-length feature film soundtracks. What is one of your favorite movie scores to perform?
Harry Potter has always been one of my favorite scores since I was a kid. I admire John Williams so much, and he has written several amazing scores over the years. I also adore Jerry Goldsmith (“Papillion”, “Tora Tora Tora”) and Dimitri Tiomkin (“High Noon”) are genius, real genius.
The Harry Potter™ Film Concert Series is a wonderful journey to celebrate all eight films.
Q: Do you remember how you were introduced to both classical and film music?
I remember it very well. When I was 7 years old, my grandfather gave me a few CDs. “The Best of John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra” felt like I was in a candy store, drunk on the colors and tamber that exist in the orchestra. From that moment, I was definitely in love with music and especially orchestral music in general.
Colors is one of the great tools of any artist, which is obvious when you see how painters brush, we know that they are executing color on a canvas. I think a composer and conductor are shaping these colors to the music. When we think about music in color and speed of rhythm – or lack of speed in rhythm – and tamber, and all these things that are a little more intangible. In ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’, your ears have a journey to experience. One of the things that John Williams does so well, is he finds ways to explore such a vast amount of color in a picture. But, he always has certain types of colors that he will always go back to. He has very specific themes and colors that he calls upon depending on the characters and what scenes are happening. It is magnificent.
[Stella Note: I have that same John Williams CD, and we geeked out over tracks #15 “The Emperial March”, ‘ET’ and other movie scores.]
Q: Who are you currently listening to, while you rehearse during the week?
Before rehearsal today, I was listening to Falco. [Do you all remember Falco?! I loved him back during ‘Rock Me, Amadeus’ and ‘Vienna Calling’] and a bit of Bruce Springsteen.
Q: As you continue with your international tour of the first Harry Potter in Concert series, do you find that international audiences respond differently to the performance?
Certain audiences are attuned to listening to certain elements in concerts, like playing Stravinsky in Russia – there is a tradition in music performance. In the case of film music, like ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’, we have seen wonderful differences between audiences in North America and Canada. Characters in Canada, are adored in different ways as they are in America. I have found that Neville, surprisingly, is one of the favorites. At the end of the film, when they are awarding the House Points, and Dumbledore gives Neville the special points for bravery – for standing up to his friends – people go nuts! It’s wonderful.
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring composers?
The hardest part of being creative, is knowing how to fail – which is one of the most important things. We all fail. If we can find ways to learn from, and be inspired by our failures, our successes feel that much more accomplished and whole. That still is a struggle of mine, but you should learn to embrace it.
Be sure to follow Justin Freer and CineConcerts! You will love the experience as much as we did!
What is CineConcerts?
- CineConcerts is a leading producer of live music experiences performed with visual media founded by producer/conductor Justin Freer and producer/writer Brady Beaubien. Recent live events include Gladiator, The Godfather, It’s a Wonderful Life, DreamWorks Animation In Concert, Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage 50th Anniversary Concert Tour, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
For more information and upcoming concert events, follow these links below: