J. J. Abrams to join Michael Giacchino at 50th birthday party at the Royal Albert Hall

Star Trek, Lost and Star Wars: Episode VII director J. J. Abrams will join his friend and collaborator, movie music titan Michael Giacchino, at the composer’s 50th birthday party at the Royal Albert Hall next month.

Abrams and War for the Planet of the Apes filmmaker Matt Reeves have been added to the stellar line-up of Giacchino’s first ever major career retrospective on Friday 20 October, which will showcase his scores from the likes of Rogue One, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Super 8, Jurassic World, The Incredibles, and Up – for which he won an Oscar, BAFTA, Grammy and Golden Globe.

Michael Giacchino said: “I am honoured that these incredible filmmakers are taking the time out of their schedules to join me on that stage at the Royal Albert Hall.

“I am fortunate to call them friends, and thrilled that they will be there to celebrate with me. In many ways, this is their show as well, because it was their vision and storytelling that inspired the music we’ll be performing with the Cinematic Sinfonia that evening.”

Abrams and Reeves complete a virtual ‘who’s who’ of hot Hollywood filmmaking talent appearing on-stage at Michael Giacchino at 50, alongside Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Gareth Edwards, Andrew Stanton, Colin Trevorrow and Carlton Cuse. They’ll be on hand to introduce musical suites from their films – and to share the stories behind them.

The concert will be hosted by self-described “maker of things” Adam Savage, (from US TV sensation Mythbusters), who said: “As a movie geek, it’s insane to think that Michael has penned music for many of my all-time favorite movies – hell, I think I have a costume or prop from nearly every one of his scored films! Being his friend is the icing on the cake. Emceeing his birthday at the Royal Albert Hall?! I have to pinch myself. It’s going to be a stellar evening and I can’t wait.”

Also announced today are Bond, the best-selling string quartet, who will play a new arrangement of ‘Married Life’ with orchestra, from Giacchino’s Oscar-winning score to Up.

Giacchino himself will share conducting duties with maestro Ludwig Wicki, a familiar face to fans of the Hall’s acclaimed ‘Films in Concert’ series, and the program will span Giacchino’s musical work from across the last 20 years, as well as giving the audience a personal glimpse of the composer through stories and home movies from his childhood.

Abrams and Giacchino have worked together since the hit TV series, Alias, and on feature films including Star Trek, Mission: Impossible 3, and Super 8. Reeves and Giacchino have collaborated four times, their most recent project being this summer’s critically-acclaimed War for the Planet of the Apes.

A portion of the proceeds from this concert will go directly to the Royal Albert Hall’s Education & Outreach projects to spread the positive powers of music to new audiences and communities.

Michael Giacchino at 50 is part of the Hall’s Festival of Film, which runs from 7 October to 3 November, and features 25 events across seven spaces, headlined by Film in Concert presentations of Jaws, Fantasia and The Addams Family, alongside a celebration of the legendary James Horner (TitanicAliensAvatar) and a world premiere career retrospective of James Newton Howard (The Hunger Games, The Dark KnightFantastic Beasts).

Friday 20 October, 7:30pm www.royalalberthall.com

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A Fantastic Festival of Film confirmed at the Royal Albert Hall

Bad Seed Barry Adamson, presenter and pianist Neil Brand, and Matt Johnson – frontman of The The, will join the likes of Michael Giacchino and James Newton Howard at the Royal Albert Hall’s Festival of Film in October.

Events confirmed in this eclectic, unmissable season – which brings movie music centre-stage – include Adamson discussing his work on Lost Highway as part of a celebration of David Lynch, Brand’s new silent comedy show for kids, and Johnson in conversation with Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy – digging into what makes a truly great score.

Movie producer Mia Bays, meanwhile, will present ‘The Many Faces of Marilyn’ – an exploration of Marilyn Monroe’s legacy, with a panel discussion and the chance to see Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot and the blistering film noir, Clash by Night, on the big screen.

Mehdi Aoustin-Sellami, Head of Programming at the Royal Albert Hall, said: ““There is even more to choose from at this year’s Festival of Film, both on our famous main stage, and beyond. These fantastic shows will add to your love – and understanding – of some of the greatest movies ever made, and celebrate the music that gives them so much of their power and emotion, in the company of some of the most important voices in cinema today.”

The Festival of Film, running from 7 October to 3 November is headlined by Film in Concert presentations of Jaws, Fantasia and The Addams Family, alongside a celebration of the legendary James Horner (TitanicAliensAvatar), and world premiere career retrospectives of Michael Giacchino and James Newton Howard – featuring the composers themselves.

Giacchino is an Oscar, Emmy, BAFTA and Golden Globe-winner, whose work can be heard in two of the summer’s biggest films – Spider-Man: Homecoming and The War for the Planet of the Apes­ – as well as LostRogue One, the rebooted Star Trek series, and Pixar’s Up and The Incredibles. James Newton Howard worked with the likes of Elton John and Diana Ross before embarking on a big screen career that has immeasurably enhanced the likes of The Sixth SenseThe Dark Knight, The Hunger Games series and Fantastic Beasts.

The season comprises 25 events across seven spaces, including a special Late Night Jazz date starring Robert Habermann and dedicated to movie musicals, a soundtrack silent disco in the venue’s underground Loading Bay, and Ali Hood from The Shark Trust trying to debunk a few myths about his subject, ahead of Jaws.

Opera Holland Park’s new ‘Opera and the Silver Screen’ show will explore arias used in popular films like The Untouchables and The Shawshank Redemption, with the help of some extraordinarily talented singers, while

Family events including Neil Brand’s Silent Laughter, a new, hour-long clip show especially for kids, featuring fast and furious comedy from the likes of Laurel & Hardy and Buster Keaton – all accompanied by the fastest piano fingers in the business – as well as Patrick Monahan’s Film Quiz for Kids, the interactive Heroes and Heroines concert from Albert’s Band, and a Fun DMC Film Special, with special guest DJ Yoda.

The Celebrating David Lynch evening will feature a double-bill of the new documentary portrait, The Art Life, and the director’s 1997 masterpiece, Lost Highway, and include a post-film Q&A with composer Barry Adamson, while Matt Johnson – frontman of The The and a big screen composer – will discuss what it takes to make a great film score, in a revealing chat with Classical Album Sundays founder, Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy. Johnson has scored feature films Tony and Hyena, and the documentaries Moonbug and The Inertia Variations.

The Festival of Film tour, running throughout the season, will take you on a fascinating journey through the Hall’s history on the big screen, from the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Michelangelo Antonioni to Spice World, via Julie Andrews, Michael Caine and Woody Allen.

For a full list of events, or to buy tickets, go to www.royalalberthall.com

Late Night Jazz is back – with beat poets, Bacharach and Bahraini brass at the Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall’s ever-popular, cutting-edge jazz programme returns in September for eight unmissable shows taking in everything from Hollywood musicals to Gambian Kora music, via Bahraini influences, South London Afrobeat and Quincy Jones’ new protégé.

Late Night Jazz, established in 2010, showcases the best up-and-coming and established names, in the Hall’s intimate Elgar Room.

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These eight shows include Hall debuts for explosively-talented young drummer Ollie Howell – fresh from a residency at Quincy Jones’ new Dubai jazz club – West African Kora (harp) player Jally Kebba Susso, and Radiohead and Courtney Pine collaborator, Yazz Ahmed.

Mehdi Aoustin-Sellami, Head of Programming at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “We’re always proud to announce our Late Night Jazz programme, but this season is the most diverse, exciting and adventurous yet, with acclaimed artists from around the world heading to the Elgar Room.

“This new programme has some nods to the past – with tributes to the Golden Age of Hollywood and Charles Mingus – but it also looks ahead, re-interpreting jazz, and showcasing some of the most original and ambitious voices in the genre, the ones who are forging its future.”

The season kicks off on 28 September, with Ollie Howell’s first show at the Hall. This hot young talent was described by no less an authority than Quincy Jones as “An unbelievable drummer. So creative I couldn’t believe it. This kid really is a 360-degree beautiful young cat.” His band will be playing music from new album, ‘Self Identity’, with the jazz taking in cinematic and electronic elements.

Jally Kebba Susso follows on 5 October, his electrifying stage show marrying traditional West African harp music – a heritage stretching back 74 generations – with the experimentation he has pioneered in the London underground scene.

British-Bahraini trumpet and flugelhorn player Yazz Ahmed performs a week later, displaying the accomplished, inimitable sound that has entranced audiences at Ronnie Scott’s and the Museum of Modern Art, and inspired the likes of Lee ‘Scratch’ Parry and Radiohead to enlist her services. She’ll be playing much from her extraordinary new album ‘La Saboteuse’ – a deep exploration of both her British and Bahraini roots.

Other highlights include South London Afrobeat collective Kokoroko making their bow at the Hall – playing music inspired by the likes of Fela Kuti, Ebo Taylor and Tony Allen – a tribute to Charles Mingus from Blues and Roots Ensemble, and jazz-poetry from the legendary Michael Horovitz’s William Blake Klezmatrix Band as part of the London Jazz Festival.

Finally, adding a little Tinseltown magic to the programme, the Hall is presenting two irresistible tributes to the screen musical: award-winning Robert Habermann taking us on a walk through the heyday of Hollywood, and Joanna Eden’s Jazz at the Movies special, ‘A Swinging Christmas’, which closes the season in style on 14 December. Described as “the UK’s answer to Norah Jones and Diana Krall,” by Time Out, she’ll be accompanied by the Chris Ingham Quartet and special guest Mark Crooks – the clarinet and saxophone star of the world-famous John Wilson Orchestra.

Alongside the Michael Horovitz show, the Hall’s four London Jazz Festival shows include the Michele Drees Jazz Tap Project, a spectacular mix of rhythm tap dance and jazz, bassist Daniel Casimir – recently named Young Jazz Musician of the Year by the Musicians’ Company – and a Jazz for Kids extravaganza, delving into the roots of the genre and spotlighting New Orleans, swing, Dixie, and bebop sounds, all for little ears.

After listening to customer feedback over the past few months, the venue has moved the show to an earlier start-time of 9:30pm. Tickets, priced from £8.50, go on sale on Thursday at 9am from www.royalalberthall.com.

Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth to return to London

“I count the Royal Albert Hall as one of the top three experiences of my lifetime.” Kristin Chenoweth told The Sweet London Life when we spoke to her last year, so it’s no surprise that the Broadway star is returning to London in October for an intimate concert at the London Palladium.

The EMMY ® AND TONY ® Award-winning singer and actress will bring her boundless talent and charisma to London’s Palladium in October for what is likely to be an unforgettable evening of song.

Chenoweth last performed in London in 2014 at the Royal Albert Hall, a concert which featured a very special duet with British stage star Kerry Ellis.

Kristin Chenoweth and Kerry Ellis

In a career that spans film, television and stage, Kristin Chenoweth originated the role of Glinda the Good Witch in Broadway’s smash hit “Wicked. Chenoweth brings her powerful voice to the Palladium for a performance of popular songs from Broadway and the Great American Songbook accompanied by Michael Orland.

A Hollywood Walk of Fame Star recipient in 2015, she received in 2009 an EMMY® Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in “Pushing Daises.” Previously, she won a TONY®Award for “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” and was also nominated for her role of Glinda the Good Witch in “Wicked” in 2004.

Known to millions for her role on the worldwide TV hit Glee (for which Chenoweth was nominated for two EMMY® Awards and for a People’s Choice Award), in 2009, she wrote an upliftingly candid, comedic chronicle of her life so far, “A Little Bit Wicked,” which debuted on the New York Times Hardcover Non Fiction Best Seller List.

In 2015, Chenoweth earned a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Broadway.comAudience Choice Award for her lead role in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s “On the Twentieth Century.” She also earned nominations for a TONY® Award and a Drama League Award. Chenoweth has performed to sold-out audiences across the world, including performances at Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall. In 2014, she released a CD and DVD of her own live concert performance, “Kristin Chenoweth: Coming Home.” Notable television roles include appearances in “The West Wing,” Disney’s “Descendants” and most recently “The Muppets.” In film, Chenoweth voiced the role of Gabi in the hit animated film “Rio 2” and Fifi, Snoopy’s beloved French poodle in “The Peanuts Movie.” She starred in the indie teen drama entitled “Hard Sell” and additional film credits have included “The Boy Next Door,” “Deck the Halls,” “Twelve Men of Christmas,” “Four Christmases,” “RV,” “Bewitched,” “The Pink Panther,” “Hit & Run” and “Family Weekend.”  Chenoweth recently starred in NBC’s “Hairspray Live!” as Velma Von Tussle. She is also lending her voices to some animated films such as Lionsgate/Hasbro’s “My Little Pony: The Movie,” set for a fall 2017 release and “The Star,” which is set to be released in November 2017.  This year, Chenoweth has reunited with executive producer Bryan Fuller to join his celebrated Starz series “American Gods,” in the role of Easter.

Chenoweth released “The Art of Elegance,” last year, her first album of American Songbook classics via Concord Records.  The album debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Current Jazz and Traditional Jazz charts. Chenoweth also returned to The Great White Way in her limited engagement, one-woman concert event, MY LOVE LETTER TO BROADWAY, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York, receiving rave reviews.

An Intimate Evening with Kristin Chenoweth will be at the London Palladium on October 20th

Belle of the Hall: Disney in Concert: Beauty and the Beast confirmed for iconic London venue

One of this year’s most popular movies will get the ‘Films in Concert’ treatment at the Royal Albert Hall in December, as Disney’s Beauty and the Beast comes to the iconic London venue with full accompaniment from the Philharmonia Orchestra.

The live-action musical, starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the beastly Prince, will be screened in full and with the stars’ memorable vocals intact, as the entire musical score is performed live by on stage by a full symphony orchestra.

The event on Saturday 9 December follows other smash-hit musical movie experiences for all the family at the Hall, including Frozen Sing-Along and Ratatouille in Concert, with Disney Fantasia: Live in Concert coming up in October.

Lucy Noble, Artistic Director at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “The Films in Concert series has become a genuine phenomenon: a chance for audiences to experience a movie in a whole new way. Beauty and the Beast is an instant classic with everything we look for when staging these events: an enthusiastic following, a great story on a large scale, and a simply unforgettable score.

“We’re so honoured to host the European premiere of the film as a live concert experience, bringing Alan Menken’s remarkable music to centre stage, where it truly belongs.”

Beauty and the Beast, released in March, is a live-action musical extravaganza based on Disney’s 1991 animated classic. Directed by Bill Condon, it stars Watson, Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.

It tells the story of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realise the kind heart of the true Prince within.

Alan Menken – who won two Oscars (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the animated film – wrote the score, which included new recordings of the original songs he wrote with lyricist Howard Ashman, as well as three new songs created alongside Tim Rice.

It is one of the most successful films ever made, having grossed $1.2bn in just three months, following acclaim from the likes of Empire, the Telegraph, Rolling Stone and the New Yorker.

Beauty and the Beast will screened at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 9 December.

Tickets for December’s stunning cinematic event at the Royal Albert Hall go on sale at 10am on Friday, priced £30-60, from www.royalalberthall.com

Two legends set to appear at the Royal Albert Hall to mark special 50 year anniversary

Two musical legends will appear in conversation at the Royal Albert Hall for a unique one-off event to mark 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised homosexuality.

John Grant will chat to Cocteau Twins vocalist Elizabeth Fraser about her iconic indie group’s 1988 album, Blue Bell Knoll, with all proceeds from the show going to gay rights charity Stonewall.

Elizabeth Fraser and John Grant

The event on Sunday 23 July is a rare chance to hear Fraser talk about her distinctive, indelible music, which influenced an entire generation of performers, including Grant, with his exquisite electro-balladeering.

In typical John Grant style, he had this to say about the upcoming event in the Hall’s Elgar Room: “Blue Bell Knoll is one of the best albums of the eighties – and of all time. I get to talk to Liz Fraser about the creation of this masterpiece and you don’t, so there!”

Programmer Sara-Jane Power from the Royal Albert Hall added: “It’s quite an honour to be celebrating this important milestone in our cultural history – the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK – with these two very special artists in our intimate Elgar Room.

“We are extremely excited to welcome John Grant back to the Royal Albert Hall after his stunning performance here last year, and to unite him in conversation with one of his major influences. It’s sure to be a truly unforgettable experience.”

The pair will be joined by Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy, from Classic Album Sundays and BBC 6 Music.

Both Grant and Fraser have headlined the Royal Albert Hall’s iconic auditorium – she with the Cocteau Twins in 1996, he making a spectacular debut last year – with Grant also memorably guesting alongside Kylie Minogue and Goldfrapp.

Spend an evening with Elizabeth Fraser and John Grant on 23 July

Casino Royale accompanied by live symphonic score for first time ever at the Royal Albert Hall

This September, at the Royal Albert Hall, Casino Royale will be screened for the first time with the score performed live by a full symphony orchestra, as part of the venue’s ‘Films in Concert’ series.

Daniel Craig as James Bond 007 in Casino Royale

Casino Royale composer, David Arnold, who has scored five Bond films, will discuss his collaboration with the 007 franchise in a pre-concert question-and-answer session.

Lucy Noble, Artistic Director at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “With the success of our Films in Concert series, we’ve been asked countless times when a Bond film will get the full orchestral treatment. We’re delighted today to announce the first ever Bond-film-in-concert: the 2006 blockbuster,Casino Royale, with David Arnold’s thrilling score performed live. Following the world premieres of Die Another DaySkyfall and Spectre at the Hall, this promises to be another unforgettable event featuring these two iconic British institutions.”

Grammy and Emmy award-winning composer David Arnold added: “It is a constant privilege to be a part of the James Bond universe. I’ve loved the series since childhood and, more significantly, I’ve loved the music.  I couldn’t be more excited to be presenting the score to Casino Royale live to picture. It was a labour of love – as were all my Bond scores – and I’m looking forward to sharing it at this iconic venue.”

Casino Royale, directed by Martin Campbell, is the 21st Bond film in the series, and the first starring Daniel Craig, with an international cast that includes Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright and Judi Dench.

Casino Royale in Concert is the first installment in a brand new James Bond Concert Series, produced by Film Concerts Live!, in association with EON Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM).

Casino Royale in Concert Casino is at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 30 September, 2:30pm and 7:30pm

Tickets priced £35-80 go on sale at www.royalalberthall.com from 9am on Thursday 18 May.

Harry Potter Film Concert Series will return to the Royal Albert Hall to unlock the Chamber of Secrets

As six sold-out screenings of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone™ in Concert come to a close at the Royal Albert Hall, the venue has delighted fans by revealing that the sequel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in Concert, will follow next year.

The three shows, featuring John Williams’ iconic score played live by the BBC Concert Orchestraconducted by Justin Freer, will run from Friday 27 to Saturday 28 April 2018. Tickets are on sale now.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second in the phenomenally popular eight-film series based on J. K. Rowling’s novels, and follows a thrilling year in the life of Harry, Ron and Hermione, where cars fly, trees fight back and a mysterious house-elf pays Harry a visit to warn him of what lies ahead this year in the world of wizardry.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in concert 27-29 April 2018 ©2002 Warner Bros. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K. Rowling.

Lucy Noble, Artistic Director at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “We’re delighted to announce that the Harry Potter Film Concert Series will be returning to the Hall – along with a full symphony orchestra – for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in Concert.

“These very special screenings will allow audiences to relive the magic and adventure of this extraordinary film in high-definition on a 40ft screen, while experiencing John Williams’ epic score as they’ve never heard it before.”

The Grammy-nominated score by five-times Oscar-winner Williams became an instant classic, as the composer conjured a succession of magical motifs.

This film concert series has been created by CineConcerts, in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and will be conducted by its creator and producer, Justin Freer. He said: “The Harry Potter film series is a once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomenon that continues to delight millions of fans around the world. It was with great pleasure that we introduced an opportunity to experience the award-winning music scores played live by a symphony orchestra, all while the beloved film is simultaneously projected onto the big screen, and it makes for an unforgettable event.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in concert 27-29 April 2018 ©2002 Warner Bros. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K. Rowling.

Brady Beaubien of CineConcerts, producer for the Harry Potter Film Concert Series added: “Harry Potter is synonymous with excitement around the world and we hope that by performing this incredible music with the full movie, audiences will enjoy returning to this magical world, and to the many wonderful magical characters who inhabit it.”

Tickets for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, priced at £28-74, are on sale now from www.royalalberthall.com.

For more information about the Harry Potter Film Concert Series, go to www.harrypotterinconcert.com.