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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Marketing & Communications
(714) 876-2380

Amazing animation and classical music are marriage made in heaven when “Disney ‘Fantasia’: Live in Concert” comes to Pacific Symphony’s Summer Festival 2014 on Aug. 9

Orange County, Calif. — July 14, 2014

"Fantasia”—Disney’s crown jewel that changed the course of animation forever when it was released in 1940—is brought to fresh, new life when Pacific Symphony presents the captivating blend of music and moving pictures, live and under the stars, as part of “Mercedes-Benz presents Summer Festival 2014.” A perfect evening for reliving childhood memories or introducing new ones to youngsters, “Disney ‘Fantasia’: Live in Concert” features stunning footage from the original version as well as “Fantasia 2000” shown on the big screen above the stage, as the orchestra performs classical masterpieces in sync with the animation. Starring the iconic Mickey Mouse in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” the presentation also delights with colorful and vibrant animations of dancing hippos, baby unicorns, flamingos and Disney’s other favorite characters—Donald and Daisy Duck in the 2000 version of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Led by Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman, the Symphony also performs selections from Beethoven’s Fifth and Sixth symphonies, “The Nutcracker Suite,” “Carnival of the Animals,” “Firebird,” “Pines of Rome,” “Claire de Lune” and “Dance of the Hours.”

“As a child, I loved ‘Fantasia’!” says Maestro Kaufman. “It was exciting visually, and the music was simply overwhelming. I believe that it also helped cement my love for music in film, no matter if it was from the classics or from great film composers.”

The Symphony’s presentation takes place on Saturday, Aug. 9, at 8 p.m. at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine. Concert tickets range from $25 (lawn seating) to $105 (orchestra seating); children under 14 are half price in most sections with the purchase of an adult ticket. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit Summer Festival 2014 is also supported by the Orange County Register and media sponsors K-Earth 101, KPCC, KUSC and PBS SoCal.

Patrons are invited to picnic prior to the concert beginning at 6 p.m. And for the over 21-crowd: the Symphony’s new Wine Club, hosted by Mercedes-Benz, with its shaded patio and stylish teak tables, is the perfect prelude to the concert. Held in the VIP club, the experience offers live music and an atmosphere that is casual and relaxed. Admission, two glasses of wine and a cheese-and-fruit plate are $25, and guests are encouraged to bring in their own picnics as well. Additional glasses of wine or bottles are also available for purchase. But space is limited to 100 people; for information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799.

“Walt Disney’s ‘Fantasia’ is, without a doubt, a classic,” says Kaufman. “In many ways, it elevated the marriage of film and music to a whole new level, and it brought classical music into the movie theaters in a way that was totally unique. To hear this memorable music live while watching the film brings the ‘Fantasia’ experience to an even higher level. It’s like seeing and hearing this classic film being reborn right before your eyes and ears.

“The music in ‘Fantasia’ contains some of history’s most beloved pieces,” he continues. “The composers represented in this show are incredibly diverse in their writing styles, and are among the greatest who ever took pencil to paper. It’s like a night of ‘greatest classical hits’ with the added dimension of amazing animation that made Walt Disney a household name.”

Throughout its 74-year history, Disney’s “Fantasia” has remained a favorite. Ranked the fifth greatest animated movie by the American Film Institute, “Fantasia” has been described as being “a landmark in animation and a huge influence on the medium of music video…a relentlessly inventive blend of the classics with phantasmagorical images,” (Rotten Tomatoes). At a chance meeting with Leopold Stokowski from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Walt Disney asked the music director if he would conduct the music for “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” The concept excited Stokowski so much that he offered to volunteer his services. Originally designed as a musical short to boost Mickey’s popularity, this new fusion of classical music and animation would

turn into a full-length film as six more classical masterworks were selected and recorded by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Then unheard of, animators were asked to create moving pictures to interpret the classical music, and history was made.

“It is definitely a challenge to synchronize the music in ‘Fantasia’ to the visuals,” adds Kaufman about the live concert experience. “Because the music must be exactly with the picture, we use a click track (basically a metronome) to make sure we’re hitting all the spots as they are in the original film. While the orchestra will be familiar with most, if not all of the music, it will be a bit like being familiar with flying going up in a space shuttle.”

“Fantasia 2000” was created by Disney’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, as a sequel to the first with a series of new classical pieces performed by James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is the only scene that appears in both films. It was nine years in the making, and premiered at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Dec. 17, 1999. It became the first feature-length animated film to be released in IMAX.

No stranger to motion pictures himself, Maestro Kaufman is a 30-year veteran of the industry, having joined MGM studios as music coordinator in 1984 and subsequently overseeing all television projects. While with MGM, he received two Emmy Award nominations, one as music director for the animated series “The Pink Panther” and another as co-author of outstanding original song for the series “All Dogs Go to Heaven.” As a session violinist, Kaufman has performed on numerous film and television scores, including “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Saturday Night Fever” and “Animal House.” In addition to his 24 years as principal pops conductor with Pacific Symphony, Kaufman also holds the permanent title of Pops Conductor Laureate with the Dallas Symphony, and is in his eighth season with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert series, “Friday Night at the Movies.”