A dino-mite orchestral performance with Stuart Chafetz conducting, CSO to give live performance of Williams’ ‘iconic’ ‘Jurassic Park’ score

Jurassic Park

When a beloved film and an exceptional orchestra come together, Chautauquans can expect great things — perhaps even something dino-mite.

That’s exactly what’s in store for this weekend, as the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra presents “Jurassic Park” Live in Concert, with Principal Pops Conductor Stuart Chafetz conducting, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Amphitheater. As Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film — a PG-13 science-fiction thriller now considered one of the greatest in its genre — plays on the Amp screens, the CSO will be performing John Williams’ score live, in real time.

“It’s interesting because we’ve gotten so used to streaming, but there’s nothing like being surrounded by this music; the beauty of live music makes a world of difference,” Chafetz said. “Feeling the audience’s energy helps us perform. We feed off of it as performers.”

Chafetz has conducted the “Jurassic Park” concert several times before with other orchestras; he’ll have all of the musicians on a clip track — a clip of the rhythm in their ear — so they’re all on the same page.

Leslie Linn is a trumpet player with the CSO, and vividly remembers first listening to the credits of “Star Wars” and becoming “enthralled” by the “brilliant brass” parts of Williams’ score — and “Jurassic Park is just one of the prime examples of his writing.”

“It sounds joyous,” Linn said. “It’s just a lot of fun to play — very demanding on the brass players. It’ll be one of the hardest things we play all summer.”

One of his favorite professional experiences, Linn said, was playing a concert of Williams’ music with the Phoenix Symphony while the composer himself conducted; it was both a highlight of his career and a dream come true. Having the opportunity to play the “Jurassic” score is somewhat of a full circle moment for Linn.

As this is one of the more difficult performances this summer, music is provided a month or two in advance and musicians spend a lot of time preparing before they even arrive at Chautauqua. Brass players, Linn said, practice from one to three hours a day, at least, until their “chops are tired.” And the CSO, Chafetz said, “just gets better and better.”

“It’s amazing to be a part of and witness the growth just keep rising,” Chafetz said. “It’s always been a good orchestra and it is exceptional right now. It’s delightful to hear and be a part of.”

Chafetz said that being there, in the Amp, with the movie and the CSO, allows the audience to “really see and feel” the impact of music; “to hear those iconic John Williams themes in person just gives you chills,” he said.

“It’s fun to be able to see the audience’s reactions,” he said. “(‘Jurassic Park’) is such a perfect film for an orchestra — John Williams really understands how to feature an orchestra. It’s really exhilarating that it comes together; this is a lot of work because everything has to be in the right place.”

In honoring this classic film and Williams’ music, Chafetz feels lucky to be “a conduit for happiness.” To hear from audience members after the concert, and witness their joy, is incredibly valuable to him. 

“We’ve done a lot of fun films here and the place is packed; it’s cool to look out and see an entirely packed Amphitheater filled with families appreciating (the music),” Chafetz said. “I love looking out there and seeing so many happy people. It’s so important right now. I’ve come to a conclusion in my life that I have to try to enjoy life. It’s so easy to get mired down by all the stuff that’s going on.”

Tags : Chautauqua Symphony OrchestracsoJurassic ParkJurassic Park live in concertSteven SpielbergStuart Chafetz

The author Gabriel Weber

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