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Fests sing praises of film composers

Ubeda, Tenerife events celebrate movie music

The spirit of composer Jerry Goldsmith, who would have turned 80 this year, hovers over back-to-back festivals this summer that focus on music for film.

The Intl. Film Music Festival in Ubeda, Spain, running July 16-19, will hand out a number of “Jerrys,” the fest’s award named after the late composer, who died in 2004. Immediately following, July 20-26 at Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, film music fest Fimucite will screen such Goldsmith classics as “Chinatown” and “Papillon,” and a closing-night gala concert will feature Joel McNeely conducting numerous Goldsmith film suites including “The Omen,” “Planet of the Apes” and “The Sum of All Fears.”

The two events, which boast attractive European locales, join a growing roster of film fests dedicated to the art and craft of movie music, including the granddaddy of such celebrations, Belgium’s Ghent Intl. Film Festival (Oct. 6-17), marking its 36th edition, and Austria’s “Hollywood in Vienna,” which stages its second go-round Oct. 9-14.

Numerous American composers will make the trip to Ubeda and Tenerife, both of which offer a host of live concerts and panel discussions, with attendees arriving from all over Europe, making up a mix of movie-music buffs, locals and tourists.

“The Ubeda festival is a celebration of film music in the unlikeliest of settings,” says U.S. soundtrack producer Robert Townson, the fest’s artistic director, “where all of these composers converge in a beautiful Renaissance town in the south of Spain.”

Scottish composer Patrick Doyle (“Gosford Park,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary”), who attended last year, will function as the fest’s “honorary president,” moderating panels and giving a workshop for aspiring film composers.

He also will perform in both of the festival’s concerts: a Friday-night recital in which he will play piano; and a Saturday-night symphonic concert that will include excerpts from his “Hamlet,” “Much Ado About Nothing” and “East-West” scores as well as the premiere of a six-minute tone poem for violin and orchestra dedicated to Emma Thompson, six of whose films feature Doyle scores.

Also participating are Michael Giacchino, doing music from “Up,” “Star Trek,” “Ratatouille,” “Cloverfield” and TV’s “Lost”; Christopher Young, showcasing his horror scores for “Hellraiser” and “Hellbound”; and McNeely, conducting a suite from his “Tinker Bell” scores for the popular Disney videos; as well as music from “Agnes of God” by the late French composer Georges Delerue, who will be the subject of a tribute.

And, befitting its international status, other composers such as Spanish-born Roque Banos, Fernando Velazquez and Aritz Villodas; France’s Philippe Rombi and Brazilian-born Claudio Simonetti, will participate.

Meanwhile, along with the Goldsmith tribute, Fimucite will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the “Alien” franchise and will feature live performances of music from five of the films (composed by Goldsmith, James Horner, Elliot Goldenthal, John Frizzell and Brian Tyler) and conducted by music director Diego Navarro.

Fimucite’s guest composers include Oscar winner Jan A.P. Kazcmarek (“Finding Neverland”), Clint Mansell (“Requiem for a Dream”) and Mark Snow (“The X-Files”). Snow, in addition to performing his “X-Files” music live, says he will debut a four-minute version for orchestra and choir of his “Millennium” TV theme and a new six-minute orchestral piece (based loosely on a 1997 “X-Files” score) called “The Post-Modern Prometheus.”

Navarro notes that Fimucite features a 120-piece orchestra and choir. The fest is expecting upward of 4,000 visitors during the week-long event.

Meanwhile, Ghent so far has announced plans to spotlight Japanese composer Shigeru Umebayashi (“House of Flying Daggers”). And a Max Steiner documentary will debut at the Austria event, where England’s John Barry (“Out of Africa” and several Bond films) will be honored.

Somewhere, Goldsmith is smiling.

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