Conductor John Mauceri brings his Hollywood flash to the N.C. Symphony in concerts this week that might in other hands prove challenging for audiences. Mauceri has chosen a program that, on paper, could seem a little academic and overly reliant on difficult 20th-century composers.
But consider some of the music, recognizable from the scores of popular movies such as "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and "Psycho."
That's pure Mauceri, who is founding director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Even though he became chancellor of UNC School of the Arts three years ago, he has kept close ties to Tinsel Town, including conducting at the Grammy Awards last year (he's a prior Grammy winner, himself).
Mauceri's "Hollywood Emigres and Proteges" presents classic film scores and the music that inspired their composers. It's a subject that he developed in Hollywood, which during World War II became home to notable composers fleeing Hitler's Europe. This program focuses on composer-immigrants Arnold Schoenberg and Erich Wolfgang Korngold.
A bonus will be the American premiere of Mauceri's restoration of Korngold's "The Adventures of Robin Hood -- a Symphonic Portrait."
To help audiences understand the connections among those composers and Richard Strauss, Bernard Herrmann and John Williams, Mauceri will comment from the stage throughout the concerts. For that, he is billed as both conductor and host.
The N.C. Symphony's Scott Freck, vice president for artistic operations and general manager, says these will be the most unusual concerts of the season.