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May 4, 2010
Good Omen: American Youth Symphony Salutes Jerry Goldsmith
Concert and symposium celebrate respected film composer's legacy by Marilee Bradford

Photograph by Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging

WESTWOOD, Calif.—An estimated 1,300 attended Sunday night's American Youth Symphony concert of music by Jerry Goldsmith, with another 400 in attendance at a Film Music Society-sponsored afternoon symposium and mini-concert, both held at UCLA's Royce Hall.

The evening concert featured David Newman conducting Goldsmith's theme from Capricorn One, a new 13-minute concert suite from Papillon, three pieces from the miniseries QB VII, portions of the unused music for Alien played to the film, and a lengthy suite drawn from Goldsmith's Oscar-winning music for The Omen coupled with the triumphal finale of its sequel The Final Conflict.

The 95 players of the American Youth Symphony – consisting of top student musicians between ages 15 and 27 – were joined by the 80-voice Angeles Chorale for the choral segments of QB VII, The Omen and The Final Conflict. Earlier in the concert, AYS music director Alexander Treger conducted Goldsmith's 1971 concert work "Music for Orchestra" and a suite from Aaron Copland's The Tender Land.

During the afternoon, Newman conducted about 45 members of the AYS in the premiere of a new 15-minute suite from Goldsmith's score for The Red Pony, which won him an Emmy for best score in 1973. The performance was the centerpiece of a 75-minute symposium chaired by Variety music writer Jon Burlingame, who also hosted the evening concert.

(Left to right) Jon Burlingame, Nick Redman, Robert Townson, Michael Matessino, Kenneth Hall and Charles Fox.
Photograph by Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging

On the afternoon panel were composer Charles Fox (Goodbye Columbus, Foul Play, Nine to Five), who has often conducted Goldsmith music in concert; Goldsmith's longtime music editor Kenneth Hall; 20th Century-Fox music consultant Nick Redman; soundtrack producer Robert Townson; and music mixer/editor Mike Matessino. Topics included the rich Goldsmith legacy of his 1970s scores, his relationship with director Frank Schaffner, the influence of his Jewish heritage on such scores as QB VII, and his musical approach to Americana films. Included was rare footage of Goldsmith conducting at a recording session for The Mephisto Waltz in 1971.

Both events received standing ovations and were acclaimed by Goldsmith enthusiasts as among the best live performances of the composer's works. This was the second installment in the AYS' three-year Goldsmith Project. During the 2008-2009 season, Goldsmith's early years in film were explored, including performances of his music from A Patch of Blue, The Sand Pebbles, Planet of the Apes and Patton. This year's focused on the years 1971-82. Next year's installment, tentatively scheduled for May 2011, will examine the composer's music from the final two decades of his life.

Goldsmith, an Oscar and multiple Emmy winner, remains among the most respected composers in Hollywood history. He died in 2004.

The American Youth Symphony was founded in 1964 to train gifted young musicians for professional careers in symphony orchestras.

The Film Music Society is a nonprofit organization established in the 1970s by entertainment industry professionals to preserve motion picture and television music.

©2010 Marilee Bradford
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