Wands at the ready, Harry Potter fans. It’s been more than 15 years since audiences entered J.K. Rowling’s world of witchcraft and wizardry, but now Baltimoreans can experience adventures with a three-headed dog, a troll in the dungeon, and a two-faced villain on a whole new level.
In time to coincide with the print version of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, this weekend, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will perform every note from the book and movie that started it all. A 40-foot, high-definition screen will project Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone while the 85-piece orchestra plays John Williams’s iconic score. The concerts, which will be presented at the Meyerhoff on August 4 and 6 (as well as the Strathmore in Bethesda on August 5) will celebrate the music behind on of the most beloved film franchises in history.
“You can’t experience the movie like this in your home or a movie theater,” says the show’s producer and conductor Justin Freer. “You really have to be there to feel the energy of the orchestra performing this magnificent score live.”
Members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra were responsible for learning every sound cue in the two-and-a-half-hour film. Freer collaborated with the musicians during two rehearsals, but the ability to play as a singular unit onstage is left up to the players’ artistry and sight-reading ability. The orchestra will play 19 songs from the original soundtrack, including “Christmas at Hogwarts” and the iconic “Hedwig’s Theme.”
“As we all know, Harry Potter is one of those once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomenas,” says Jamie Kelley, vice president of development for the BSO. “This is the first time the movie has been presented with a live orchestra, and the incredibly moving music of John Williams is what literally set the scene and makes the movie magical.”
The shows mark the first of eight installments in this Harry Potter film concert series, which will dedicate a weekend of performances to each film in cities around the country. The BSO previously paid tribute to Williams’s score during concerts like Wizards & Wands and BSO SuperPops.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will continue the trend of film-concert performances this coming season, starting with showings of The Nightmare Before Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life in December. In addition, Associate Conductor Nicholas Hersh will lead back-to-back performances of Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. For the final film-concert show of the year, Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly will lead the symphony through the score of E.T.