Composer Conductor John Beal
Composer Conductor John Beal


One of the most enjoyable things about the marvelous new phenomenon of live to film concerts on stage with our wonderful orchestras around the world is meeting people whose first symphonic film score listening experience ranges from those remembering film scores of the 1930’s to those who just discovered the majesty of an orchestral score in a recent blockbuster.  We have all been deeply touched by a special moment in film and film music, and our love for this art form brings us together across many generations.

My love for film music comes through early exposure to a household filled with the great classical recordings of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, carefully collected on 78 rpm, 33 rpm and audio tapes by my father, whose own father was a senior executive at RCA during the period when television was being introduced to the nation, the NBC orchestra under Toscanini flourished, and the multi-channel sound system for Disney’s Fantasia was developed. My father told stories of sitting in his New York apartment listening to the Toscanini recording sessions through a private line and small speaker.

Conductor John BealAt a very young age, I was taken to the theater and studios to see restored silent films accompanied by some of the most wondrous of theater organists, such as family friend Gaylord Carter, who was featured at the 1918 opening of Sid Grauman’s Million Dollar Theatre in Los Angeles.  To sit in a room surrounded by the sound of organ pipes, watching the original Phantom of the Opera, Robin Hood, or Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin comedies was a magical experience.

The wonderful composer, mentor and charming family friend George Duning introduced me to my very first big orchestra scoring session experience at Warner Bros in 1966.  To this day, I have found no greater career moments than those surrounded by Hollywood’s gifted musicians in the studio as we strive to provide a seamless and moving additional voice to the greatest art form of modern times, the cinema.

I hope each evening’s performance you attend brings to you a heightened sense of the passion and the power of symphonic film music and that you will join with me and organizations such as The Film Music Society in my commitment to preserving and presenting these exciting concerts in the future.