Get swept off to a world of romance, wit, intrigue and remarkable music as the orchestra recreates the score—live!—to the classic film, “Casablanca,” shown on the big screen. Led by Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman, the Symphony delivers the lush emotion captured in the triumphant soundtrack created by old Hollywood’s best-known composer Max Steiner. Featuring the popular song “As Time Goes By,” played by Sam (Dooley Wilson), the 1942 film is a true gem from the Golden Age that has captured America’s hearts for decades with the nostalgic love affair between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman’s characters.
Set in exotic Morocco during World War II, with memorable characters, quotable dialogue—“We’ll always have Paris,” “Here’s looking at you, kid”—and a beloved score, the film was an instant success, winning three Academy Awards including Best Picture and a nomination for Best Score.
“Casablanca” takes place Thursday through Saturday, March 15-17, at 8 p.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall decorated with Moroccan flair reminiscent of the film.
“When people think of motion pictures, only a few films come to mind as iconic and legendary,” says Maestro Kaufman. “At the top of most everyone’s list is ‘Casablanca.’ When Pacific Symphony performs Max Steiner’s score live with the film, our audience will enjoy a wonderfully unique and memorable experience. I think Bogart would have loved it!”
The film takes place in exotic Casablanca, where American expatriate Rick Blaine (Bogart) is busy running his upscale nightclub and gambling den, “Rick’s Café Américain,” when in walks his past love, Isla Lund (Bergman), with her husband, Victor Laszlo, who needs Rick’s help to flee the country. But a rekindled affair between Rick and Isla results in a dramatic change of plans.
“‘Casablanca’ is filled with great emotion, and the score created by the great Max Steiner brings these emotions and the memorable story to life. The composer has created a masterpiece of both composition and arrangement of the song, ‘As Time Goes By.’ It’s really the perfect score, and as history has proven, the perfect film.”
Widely regarded as one of the greatest film composers in the history of cinema, Steiner wrote scores for more than 150 films, including “Gone with the Wind,” “King Kong” and “Little Women.” For “Casablanca,” he based the score on Herman Hupfeld’s popular “As Time Goes By” and the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise,” adding in some Moroccan-style orchestration to reflect the time and place of the story.
“Conducting the entire score live to accompany the film is something that I love doing,” continues Kaufman. “It’s an opportunity to recreate the original musical performance of the studio orchestra but with a sound that is…well, quite simply live! And it doesn’t get better than live. Steiner uses all the instruments and colors of the orchestra brilliantly, and it gives the musicians of Pacific Symphony the opportunity to really show off their extraordinary talents.”
No stranger to motion pictures himself, Maestro Kaufman is a 27-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 EmmyAward 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 21 years as principal pops conductor with Pacific Symphony, Kaufman also regularly performs classic and contemporary film music as guest conductor with orchestras across the country.
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