The Tucson Symphony Orchestra is going to the movies this weekend.
The orchestra, under the baton of Nashville conductor Kelly Corocoran, will perform “Pixar in Concert,” a multimedia event that features the orchestra performing the soundtracks of some of Disney-Pixar’s most popular animated films.
“A big screen will show clips from the movies and the orchestra will play live to accompany the clips,” explained Corcoran, who was an associate conductor with the Nashville Symphony before recently taking over as director of the symphony’s choir. “There’s definitely that visual element where kids are going to see scenes and images from the films. ... I think it’s a great example of how orchestra music is not something from the past. It’s a living, breathing art form that composers are still writing in.”
Movies featured in “Pixar in Concert” include “Finding Nemo,” “Toy Story,” “The Incredibles,” “Monsters Inc.,” “Cars” and “Brave.”
“It’s really, really good music. I think people will love it,” said Corocoran.
Disney-Pixar developed the concert two years ago initially as a one-time “gift for San Francisco,” home of Pixar animation studios, said Jonathan Heely, director of Disney Concerts. But Disney had already figured out a business model to bring its films to the concert halls.
Heely was a driver in a number of the studios concert packages including “Fantasia,” which the TSO performed last November.
Corocoran has never conducted “Pixar” nor any of the Pixar film scores, although she is familiar with the music.
“I’ve seen all these movies,” said Corocoran, the mother of a 5-year-old daughter who will be in the audiences this weekend. “I’m really excited about it. This is all beloved music and I’m a big fan of Michael Giacchino, who did the scores to ‘Ratatouille’ and ‘The Incredibles.’ It’s just really good music.”
“I’m struck by the depth of repertoire,” she added. “It’s so many different movies. I think that’s kind of cool to recognize that Disney-Pixar has put out that many movies. Until I started looking at this music I didn’t even process how many movies they put out.”
“I look at these wonderful stories and positive message from these things and I am really blessed to say I had a part in it. It’s a touching program,” added Heely. “It’s almost like they distilled the most meaningful moments from these films. It’s very emotional.”
So just how will the TSO synchronize its performance with the film clips?
That’s the tricky part, said Corocoran.
In addition to having eyes on a screen showing the film clips, the conductor will have a device in her ear that will click when the scenes change.
“You have to kind of hit your mark and be at the appropriate scene at the right moment,” said Corocoran, who has conducted live performances of film scores from “Psycho” and “Casablanca” and was a regular behind the podium of the “Legends of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses” tour — all of which used the clicker system. “You have to stay in line with the film. There’s no room for me to infuse my own tempo or speed. It’s a different kind of approach, but it’s fun. I love doing things like this.”
Other film soundtracks featured in the matinee concerts the orchestra will perform on Saturday, Nov. 28, and Sunday, Nov. 29, are “Ratatouille,” “Wall-E” and “Up,” which won the 2009 Academy Award for best original score.