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Acad Music Contenders To Take Stage at Royce Hall

Concert at UCLA is unprecedented, and a chance for Oscar nominees to shine live

Three nights before the Academy Awards, music fans in L.A. will have the opportunity to hear the work of all the music nominees in a live concert setting at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus.

The unprecedented move seems to reflect the growing popularity of film music on the concert circuit and at score-centric film fests like Ghent and Tenerife. It also gives the composers and songwriters an opportunity to shine at a time when the Oscarcast is becoming more streamlined, eliminating the tradition of nominated songs being routinely performed as part of entertainment.

The Feb. 27 event is officially sanctioned by the Motion Picture Academy. Although plans are still fluid, music branch governor Charles Fox says the concert will feature “all the nominated music, songs and scores conducted by the original composers.”

Acad members have been invited to attend (at $75 and $50 ticket levels) and the public will be invited (at $100 and $75 levels) starting Wednesday. Seating capacity at Royce Hall is about 1,800.

Fox says the composers who also conduct their music (John Williams for “The Book Thief,” Alexandre Desplat for “Philomena,” Thomas Newman for “Saving Mr. Banks”) will be on the podium with an 80-piece orchestra. Music from “Gravity” and “Her” will also be performed.

The four nominated songs are also expected to be performed, but by whom is a question mark. Pharrell Williams and Idina Menzel (singers of “Happy” and “Let It Go” respectively) have already been announced as performing on the Oscarcast itself, leading to speculation that U2 and Karen O may also be invited to perform on the telecast. The songs are likely to be performed by others at the Thursday concert, although Fox has not confirmed that.

“What we’re doing will not impede in any way on the Oscars themselves,” Fox says. “The purpose of this concert is to put music from motion pictures center stage. There’ll be a lot of firsts with this concert.”

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