Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Composer Premieres 'Hobbit' Piece with Pso

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Composer Premieres 'Hobbit' Piece with Pso

Article excerpt

Howard Shore's journey to Heinz Hall and back again began in 2005, when a tour landed the composer in front of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to conduct his "The Lord of the Rings Symphony." This weekend, Pittsburgh will be the start of the journey for "The Hobbit for Symphony Orchestra," a world premiere 30-minute piece in four movements, culled from the three "Hobbit" films.

If the composer's name sounds familiar, it may be because you pay attention to movie credits. "Music by Howard Shore" has appeared in nearly 80 films, earning three Oscars and four Grammys. He has composed music for best pictures "The Silence of the Lambs," "The Departed," "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" and "Spotlight" and is a frequent collaborator of directing titans David Cronenberg, Martin Scorsese and Peter Jackson.

His long career in movies, which began with "Drop Dead, Dearest" in 1978, got a jump-start in his native Canada, where a group of pals created summer shows in northern Ontario. Among the pack was Lorne Michaels.

"We did comedy and sketches, we played music," recalled Mr. Shore, 69. "There was a group of us who became writers, actors, directors - I did a little of each of those things - and I continued with music, and Lorne continued with television, and we came together in 1975 with another group of writers and performers and created 'Saturday Night Live.' "

Mr. Shore was "Saturday Night Live" music director from 1975-86. Among his contributions, John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd became The Blues Brothers at his suggestion, after they appeared in a 1976 sketch with "Howard Shore and his All-Bee Band."

The program in Pittsburgh is titled "The Film Music of Howard Shore," for which he will be a guest speaker, with Ludwig Wicki conducting. The first part is dedicated to "The Hobbit," and the second concludes with selections from "The Lord of the Rings" films. The program also samples his scores for psychological thrillers such as "Dead Ringers" and films with a lighter touch, such as "Ed Wood," about the filmmaker critics dubbed "the world's worst director."

The theme for Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" featured the theremin, whose signature high-pitched sound signaled "spooky" in science fiction movies such as "The Day the Earth Stood Still. …

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