According to senior Maureen Hickey, movie music gets a bad reputation among orchestra members.
“Really it’s always the same thing — the brass get all the pretty things and the strings are just doing effects,” Hickey said.
Unsurprisingly, she was skeptical when she found out that Miami University Symphony Orchestra’s second concert of the 2018-19 season is titled “Music and Movies” and will focus solely on movie scores.
However, Hickey, MUSO’s concertmaster, has since grown fond of both the idea and the selections, which include music from movies such as “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Princess Mononoke” and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” and “Spellbound.”
She’s most excited for the piece from “Vertigo,” even though she hasn’t actually seen the film.
“The Hitchcock stuff is so like golden age of Hollywood lush,” Hickey said. “I feel like I’m in the movie. I feel like I should be Ingrid Bergman or something. It’s beautiful…I was really amazed, especially by Hitchcock, because, I mean, he was obviously a brilliant director, but I think a lot of it is the music that goes along with it…Without even having seen the film, I feel like I’m in it.”
Though she is also excited about the movie pieces coming to life, MUSO student manager, senior Grace Rosus, is most excited about the implementation of the theremin, an electronic instrument that is controlled by the musician holding their hands over it and creating sound waves rather than physically holding the instrument.
Only a few members of MUSO had ever heard of it.
Rob Schwimmer, former co-director of the New York Theremin Society, will be joining MUSO for the concert as a guest theremin player.
“It’s really exciting getting to reach out to the professional music world and get someone to come join us,” Rosus said. “It’s also really fun because he’s like, ‘Oh I want to work with the orchestra, I want to have a Q&A with them and have a conversation with them and teach them about the instrument.’ So that’s really exciting that not only is it a cool performance opportunity but this is an instrument that…I’ve never seen in person. ”
The theremin will be featured in “Vocalise” by Yovcho Krushev, which MUSO will play as a live accompaniment to the screening of a film created by students in Miami’s Film Studies Program.
While Rosus is excited about bringing MUSO and Film Studies together, working with the film studies students has been a learning curve.
“It’s been tricky because we don’t know anything about this stuff, and they know just as little about us as we know about them,” Rosus said.
MUSO hopes to attract a broader audience with this concert’s iconic tunes and change the way people think about symphony orchestras.
“I think there’s a big stereotype that when you look at an orchestra, it’s all Beethoven and Tchaikovsky and music that’s a little bit more distanced from our current society,” Rosus said. “I think it’d be really great if the community could come and see that…behind every film, behind every soundtrack, behind every song, there’s a full-blown orchestra more times than not. So I hope the community takes away that it’s not one-dimensional. There’s so many different sides to classical music ensembles.”
“Music and Movies” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 28 in Hall Auditorium. Admission is free.