Geelong Symphony Orchestra Bring Music From Movies To The Stage

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Geelong Symphony Orchestra Bring Music From Movies To The Stage

Mario Dobernig
Words By Tammy Walters

From Star Wars to The Lord Of The Rings, conductor Mario Dobernig brings timeless and classic films to life, with Music from the Movies.

“Get this much money and buy all the classical music you can find downtown,” were the words of director Stanley Kubrick when building the intense moments of the mind-melting 2001: A Space Odyssey. The careful use of Richard Strauss’s tone poem ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ scored the crescendoed embryonic space scene, cementing it as a cultural moment that lives on in cinema history whilst being heavily referenced in pop culture. 

Just last year we saw it adapted in the realm of Barbie World and in February pop-punk legends Blink-182 dramatically entered the stage each night of their fifteen-show tour to the orchestral piece.

Kubrick is not the only director to use this transformative formula to heighten scenes, enhance characters and world-build. ‘The Imperial March’ defined the formidable villain, Darth Vader, and Steven Spielberg built the hero narrative around Indiana Jones through John Williams’ composition of ‘The Raiders March’. Williams also sonically transported audiences into the magical world of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and Howard Shore took us on a journey through Middle Earth scoring The Lord of The Rings trilogy. 

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Now these iconic musical moments are being brought to the stage by the Geelong Symphony Orchestra in concert, Music From The Movies

Taking place at Costa Hall on Saturday 11 May 2024, Music From The Movies sees the GSO perform a stacked program of music themes from the aforementioned 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, The Lord of The Rings trilogy, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, along with pieces from Schindler’s List, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Mission, The King’s Speech, and Zorba the Greek.

“We have selected themes that have made an impact in pop culture and have become timeless. Whether you have seen the movie or not, you know Beethoven: Symphony No.7 or have heard the Star Wars theme. We wanted things that were really satisfying to the players to play,” says Music Director and GSO President, Wendy Galloway.

With the intention of carrying the audience into the screen through score, Music From The Movies enlists 60 talented musicians under the direction and mentorship of internationally renowned conductor Mario Dobernig. With Susan Pierotti in the Concert Master seat and well-known Australian opera singer and entertainer Sally-Anne Russell as the presenter, the GSO aims to prove their place as a top tier symphony orchestra.

“Geelong Symphony Orchestra is known for our high reputation across performances and our talented players, mainly local players. About 70% of our players are local but we did have to bring in a few imports from Melbourne,” explains Galloway.

Consisting of teachers, doctors and engineers, GSO members are all involved not only because they are incredibly talented with their instrument, but because they are passionate about playing with Galloway commenting that “they all jumped at the opportunity to play together”.  

Established in 2016 as Galloways brain child, the Geelong Symphony Orchestra’s track record is solid, taking on waltzes and orchestral show pieces from Johann Strauss II, Franz Lehár, Brahms and Puccini in Vienna – City of Dreams, mastering Sibelius Finlandia for Titans, and tackling Elga’s Enigma.

In Music From The Movies, audiences need not have a classical ear. As a 3PM matinee session, the two hour concert – including an interval – is accessible to all walks of life; symphony orchestra enthusiasts, classical music novices, film lovers, and families. 

“We aim to have all of our events as early evening or a 3PM start to make sure it is accessible to everyone. We try to keep it very audience friendly – if it is fully serious classical music you can turn people off but music stays famous for a reason. People are getting more excited about symphonic orchestras and there has been a buzz about our Geelong Symphony Orchestra with strong audiences. Music From The Films is a good starting point for new audiences,” comments Galloway.

Aiming to run three shows per year, the end of the year sees the orchestra take on Mozart and Beethoven in Heroica on Saturday 26 October from 5pm at Costa Hall with further programming sorted for 2025.

“There’s certainly a desire with the players and with the audience for more shows so we’ll keep filling the need as long as we can!”

But for now audiences can dive into the cinematic universe through the swirling sound of the Geelong Symphony Orchestra in Music From The Movies. Tickets to Music From The Movies are on sale now via Geelong Arts Centre website.