The American Youth Symphony performed their first of three concerts in the Elfman Project, a series that features the work of beloved film composer Danny Elfman. The audience was a varied group of AYS members, the player’s families, UCLA alum, fellow composers, and Elfman fans.
When asked what most excited them, many concertgoers said one word — “Batman.” One audience member even shouted “yeah!” after the conductor came on stage and also following an impressive violin cadenza. Most of the audience did not understand the shouts were that person’s way of expressing gratitude and love of the music; though he was frequently shushed, these were sounds of enjoyment.
Even looking at the faces of the musicians themselves, the audience could feel that energy and passion for music. To see their dance-like sways during romantic bits change to tense stillness during slow movements and even to intense faces during musical frenzy probably had the rest of the audience shouting “yeah!” inside their own minds.
The AYS puts on free concerts, and even though you must still reserve a ticket to attend, the fact that they are open to the public at no charge is reason that you must go. The AYS features the next up-and-coming musicians, and many of the players attend prestigious schools like Indiana University and Juilliard when they finish their term. The mission of the symphony is to train young musicians for professional careers and to make music events available to the public to help foster music appreciation.
The Elfman Project is particularly special because it brings modern, commercial music in a live format. Most people admit they love movies, and the score of the movie is one aspect that makes film really special. Film music is manipulative, and that is meant in a positive way; think about the way you feel about a character or a scene in a film, and consider that scene without music — it would be a much different experience. Danny Elman’s film music is so loved because even standing alone, it not only recalls some films we might love (Edward Scissorhands, Batman), but also it brings forth emotions and memories. Add the music to a stellar live performance conducted by one of the industry’s best, David Newman, and you have magic.
Composer Rebecca Nunez says music “is my power source.” And the same is true for many concertgoers. We use music to lift us up, calm us down, comfort us when we’re sad, or cheer us up when we need a smile. All of that is music appreciation, and we applaud the American Youth Symphony for bringing such magic to the Los Angeles community.
Visit AYSymphony.org for more information about the organization and musicians, as well as upcoming concerts and events. For those not residing in the LA area, check your local philharmonic or symphony orchestra for similar groups in your area.