Nearly everyone grows up with movies and nowadays, they’re more accessible than ever with platforms like Netflix or Hulu. On top of that, the mainstream rise of critically-acclaimed soundtrack composers—from John Williams (Star Wars) and Alan Silvestri (The Avengers) to younger stars like Justin Hurwitz (La La Land)—brings high artistic value to audiences of all ages.
The success and popularity of these new film-in-concert series is evident with this published list of all the live-to-screen concerts scheduled around the world for the next year—there’s HUNDREDS already listed! Best of all, they’ve brought everyone to the symphony, ranging from lightsaber-wielding toddlers to longtime fans who saw these movies back when they were in theaters.
So what about Lockhart’s original concerns about light music dying out? Will movie screenings and other pop culture acts inevitably take over? How can we be sure to preserve this subgenre of classical music?
There’s no way to predict the future, but in this day in age, directors and musicians must keep an open-mind.
This isn’t to say that we let go of the light classics nor should musicians ONLY play what audiences want (they have to enjoy their art, too). What’s important is that symphonies and orchestras should look to diversify their audiences all around by reflecting that same outreach in their programming—not just targeting specific groups. We can’t ONLY cater to millennials and Gen-Z audiences, neglecting our baby-boomer listeners; at the same time, it’s unfair to not let younger people simply enjoy the same genre music because of a generational difference in media consumption.
If symphony orchestras exist as a hub of cultural life and appreciation, we should to be able to celebrate that very “culture” with every person that’s a part of shaping it.
Luckily, this summer, Pacific Symphony is giving us the best of both worlds with a concert event for classical aficionados and movie fanatics: “Star Wars: A New Hope – In Concert” on Saturday, August 17 at Costa Mesa’s wonderful Pacific Amphitheatre!
This article was written by Alison Huh, one of Pacific Symphony’s Marketing & PR interns. Alison will be a sophomore at University of California, Berkeley, where she studies English. She was formerly a member of Pacific Symphony’s Youth Orchestra, playing flute.