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The Philadelphia Orchestra Brings West Side Story to Life

May 14, 2012

Orchestra will perform live in tandem with the Academy Award-winning classic film in concerts October 5-7, 2012


(Philadelphia, May 14, 2012)–The Philadelphia Orchestra will thrill Orchestra and movie fans alike with live performances of the West Side Story score as the digitally re-mastered film is screened above the Orchestra in Verizon Hall, October 5-7, 2012. Just over 50 years after the debut of the timeless motion picture, The Philadelphia Orchestra will perform the entire original Leonard Bernstein score under the direction of David Newman, one of the most noted composers of music for film.

The Orchestra will perform the West Side Story score live while the newly re-mastered, hi-definition film plays above the stage. In order to allow a live performance of the score while keeping the vocals and dialogue intact, MGM and Chace Audio by Delux, a top film restoration company, used state-of-the-art technology to separate the orchestral soundtrack from the vocals and dialogue. Mr. Newman will keep the live Orchestra synchronized with the film throughout the dialogue-heavy film’s fast-paced dance numbers and numerous scene changes.

Before West Side Story became a motion picture, it debuted in 1957 as a Broadway musical. The stage production, however, was not as adored as the movie would later be. Instead, the musical received mixed reviews and was snubbed by the Tony Awards®. However, the artistic collaboration of Jerome Robbins’s explosive choreography, Arthur Laurents’s use of a modern Romeo and Juliet story line, and the awe-inspiring score and lyrics by Broadway legends, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, won over the hearts of audiences in New York and across the country. The film opened in 1961 with Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as the leads. That year the movie took the Academy Awards® by storm, winning 10 awards, including Best Picture and Best Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture).

This live orchestral presentation of the classic movie West Side Story showcases The Philadelphia Orchestra’s versatility and offers an innovative program that celebrates the legacy of the music and theatrical styling of an American Broadway classic. 

ABOUT THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA

Renowned for its distinctive sound, desired for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for an unrivaled legacy of “firsts” in music-making, The Philadelphia Orchestra remains one of the preeminent orchestras in the world.

The Philadelphia Orchestra has cultivated an extraordinary history of artistic leaders in its 112 seasons, including music directors Fritz Scheel, Carl Pohlig, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Christoph Eschenbach, as well as the Orchestra’s current chief conductor, Charles Dutoit. In the 2012-13 season, Yannick Nézet-Séguin becomes the eighth music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Named music director designate in 2010, Nézet-Séguin brings a vision that extends beyond symphonic music and into the vivid world of opera and choral music.

Philadelphia is home and the Orchestra nurtures an important relationship with patrons who support the main season at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The Orchestra also performs for Philadelphia audiences at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Penn’s Landing, and other regional venues. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association continues to own the Academy of Music—a National Historic Landmark—as it has since 1957.

The ensemble maintains an important tradition of presenting educational programs for local audiences as well. Today the Orchestra executes myriad education and community partnership programs, notably its Neighborhood Concert Series, Sound All Around and Family Concerts, eZseatU, and more. 

Through concerts, tours, residencies, presentations, and recordings, The Philadelphia Orchestra touches the lives of countless music lovers around the world. The Orchestra annually performs at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center while also enjoying a three-week residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in New York and a strong partnership with the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. 

For more information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, please visit www.philorch.org.