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NM Philharmonic takes a tour of classic movie scores

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Philharmonic will mine some Oscar glitz with “Lights! Camera! Music!” on Saturday at Popejoy Hall.

A concert of classic movie scores, the music will transport listeners back to the first time they saw “The Sound of Music,” “E.T.” and “The Lord of the Rings,” guest conductor Jason Altieri said.

Jason Altieri

“A big part of the movie experience is the music,” Altieri said in a telephone interview from Reno, Nev., where he is the associate conductor of the Reno Philharmonic. He is also associate conductor of the Atlanta Pops Orchestra. “They’re the songs that have made their way into the American songbook.”

The soundtracks include music from “Schindler’s List,” “Titanic,” “West Side Story,” “Chicago” and “Les Miserables.”

“Some are from Broadway,” he said. “And some more familiar things like James Bond’s 007. And, of course, you have to have John Williams.”

The Oscar-winning composer penned the famous themes to “Dances With Wolves,” “Star Wars” and the “Indiana Jones” series, among many others.

The musicians will be joined by winners of the New Mexico High School Musical Theater Awards on “Schindler’s List” and “Les Miserables.”

“The music in the movies is the most readily available music for audiences today,” Altieri said. “They hear an old song, and it reminds you of a time of your life. I think of the same thing when I think about ‘Star Wars’ and I was sitting in a theater at 7 years old.”

Today’s composers might not write a traditional symphony, but they might pen a film score that is symphonic in scope, he said.

Altieri is familiar to Albuquerque audiences, having led the orchestra’s holiday concerts and a program of music from science fiction films.

“It kind of feels like home,” he said.