For film music aficionados, October is shaping up to be an embarrassment of riches, as fans and pros will be converging on the U.K. and Belgium for three concerts celebrating the exceedingly popular medium.
Things kick off Oct. 18 at London’s Royal Albert Hall, where virtually every A-list film composer in the country is scheduled to participate in a benefit concert for Care Intl., an aid organization that battles poverty in more than 70 territories.
David Arnold, who composed the scores for five James Bond movies, including “Quantum of Solace,” and British broadcaster and concert host Tommy Pearson are organizing the event, which has so far attracted composers Craig Armstrong (“Love, Actually”), Anne Dudley (“The Full Monty”), Michael Nyman (“The Piano”), Patrick Doyle (“Hamlet”), Rachel Portman (“The Cider House Rules”), Dario Marianelli (“Atonement”), George Fenton (“Gandhi”) and Christopher Gunning (“La Vie en rose”).
Joining them are Brit expatriates Harry Gregson-Williams (“Prince of Persia”) and John Powell (the “Bourne” movies), who now live and work in L.A., and American John Ottman (“Valkyrie”). Many of the composers will conduct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in performing their scores; veteran conductor Robert Ziegler will wield the baton for the remainder of the program.
Reached in London, Arnold said he had recently spent time in Rwanda “and sat with people for whom $10 could effectively change their lives. I found it difficult to come back to my world, with all its privileges, and not seriously think about ways of trying to help in any way I could.”
Producer Pearson declined to specify a financial goal for the evening other than to say organizers hope to raise “tens of thousands” of pounds for Care. All the composers are donating their time, he said. Last year Arnold headlined a smaller fund-raiser with colleagues from the pop world.
British comedian Jimmy Carr will engage in some snappy patter between numbers and Pearson said others, including some pop vocalists, are expected to join the roster.
The day before the concert, the same group will screen Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” at the Empire Cinema in London’s Leicester Square.
A Q&A will follow with many of the composers on hand to talk about the importance and impact of Bernard Herrmann’s groundbreaking score.
A few days later, the Ghent Film Festival will sponsor two film music events: a concert devoted to the music of John Barry on Oct. 21, with Nicholas Dodd conducting the Brussels Philharmonic at Ghent’s Kuipke Concert Hall, and a second concert as part of the World Soundtrack Awards on Oct. 23, also in Kuipke.
Composers expected to take part include Howard Shore (“The Lord of the Rings”), Elliot Goldenthal (“Titus”), Gabriel Yared (“The Talented Mr. Ripley”), Gustavo Santaolalla (“Brokeback Mountain”), Stephen Warbeck (“Shakespeare in Love”), Angelo Badalamenti (“Twin Peaks”), Alberto Iglesias (“Volver”), Bruno Coulais (“Oceans”), Nico Muhly (“The Reader”), Frederic Devreese (“Un Soir, un train”) and Armstrong.
Several of the composers will conduct their own works, while Brussels maestro Dirk Brosse will conduct the others, Ghent officials said.
The Barry concert will include the presentation of a lifetime achievement award to the British composer of “Out of Africa,” “Dances With Wolves” and multiple James Bond classics including “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball.”
Barry, who now lives in the U.S., is expected to attend. Excerpts from many of his scores (which include “Somewhere in Time,” “Midnight Cowboy” and “Body Heat”) will be performed.
The concerts mark the 10th anniversary of Ghent’s World Soundtrack Academy. The festival itself, which is in its 37th year, runs Oct. 12-23.