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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Utah Symphony soars in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” music-movie collaboration

Courtesy of Utah Symphony

The Utah Symphony succeeded smashingly in its live music-movie collaboration “Raiders of the Lost Ark in Concert” last Friday, adding a new element to its already-dynamic performance.

The popular and classic Steven Spielberg film, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” was brought to life with live symphonic orchestration led by conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos. To make this possible, Abravanel Hall featured a high-definition projection of the movie onto a big screen, the Utah Symphony performing directly beneath.

The 1981 film, which stars Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies and Denholm Elliot, features music by John Williams. Known for his music in all seven “Star Wars” films as well as “Superman,” “Jaws,” “Home Alone” and the first three “Harry Potter” films, Williams also composed themes for four Olympic games. His music consistently embodies the character of the story being portrayed. The rousing main theme within “Indiana Jones” is a perfect musical personification of the daring namesake himself.

Utilizing a specially adapted screen score, as well as technology in which Kitsopoulos follows film cues, the Utah Symphony provided all music for the film. The already-dramatic story of Indiana Jones was enhanced by swelling orchestral surges and elaborate percussion as well as a controlled and bright brass section. The symphony orchestra performed in succinct harmony, instruments unified in the telling of the daring story. The orchestra not only stayed precisely on cue with the film, it enhanced the sound that would have occurred. Live music brought this film to the next level: The ark excavation became deeply thrilling and the pit swarming with asp snakes became even more terrifying. The symphony created an atmosphere of the ideal movie and concert experience

Of course, the experience was aided by the classic novelty that is the Indiana Jones character; however, it only makes sense that the supremely dynamic Utah Symphony would be paired with an equally dynamic story, culminating in a rich and exciting performance.

As an added bonus, the Utah Symphony concluded the performance with a final rendition of the soaring soundtrack throughout the duration of the credits.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark in Concert” was performed Sept. 7 and 8 in Abravanel Hall. Be sure to check out other cinema symphony experiences with the Utah Symphony, such as “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Concert” on Dec. 21 and 23.

For more information regarding further Utah Symphony performances, visit their website:

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