I am very proud to bring you this year a project that took me 2 years to put together: THE SIFF ORCHESTRA
For the first time in history, the 38th Seattle international Film Festival (SIFF) will kick off its annual Grand Opening Night ceremony on May 17th 2012 with a 60-piece orchestra that will play live the original music I composed!
The project was finally made possible thanks to the help of Kirsten G. James from the Seattle Musician’s Alliance. Veteran musician and conductor Michael Miropolsky will be conducting, which makes me very honored.
My involvement with SIFF goes back to 2009, when I was asked to score the SIFF 35th Anniversary Tribute. A 20 min film that was opening the 35th ceremony directed by Rick Stevenson and starring numerous Seattle luminaries such as actor Tom Skerritt, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz, Steve Pool, Matt hasselbeck from the Seattle Seahawkes and many, many more!
After the success of this score, I was asked to come up with some original music to play during the ceremony for the first time ever. We did in 2010 and 2011. Each time I produced the music separately and it was then played on speakers during the event. People liekd it so much that the very first night we did that everyone was saying “It would so great to have it played by a live orchestra, it would make us feel at the OSCARS!”
This is when I sat down with Deborah Person (SIFF Managing Director) and Carl Spence (SIFF Artistic Director) and started discussing seriously about potentially make it happen. In the end it took me 2 years to put together, but I finally came back with an orchestra ready to perform the night of May 17th 2012!
We just launched a Kickstarter campaign, which is the very last step of this 2-year-quest. You can check it out here:
The SIFF Orchestra Kickstarter Page
In August 31st 2010, 4 themes from my album The Age of Heroes were performed by The Everett Symphony and The Everett Chorale along some of the best themes from composer John Williams to honor American heroes.
Artistic director and conductor of The Everett Symphony, Ron Friesen, choose “Hero”, “Welcome Home”, “The Awakening” and “The Awakening Alternative” to perform. For the occasion, we actually ended up combining in one piece both “Awakenings”. It was the first time that my music was performed live by such a large ensemble and believe me, it was something!
Months of preparation where necessary to get the score ready for the concert, and I take the occasion here to thank my dear friend Brian Packard, who worked so hard helping me putting those scores together.
One of the challenge was in the fact that “Age of Heroes” was written for an ideal minimum of a 70 piece orchestra. But that day, the orchestra was composed of only 50 piece and we had to make it work. The orchestration was crucial, and as I was going back in my software to apply the new changes and redistribution of instrumentation, I was getting closer to what it will actually sound like.
We had nearly 800 people who attended the concert and the public’s reaction was very positive. It was an amazing and quite enriching experience. The biggest moment for me was when I was introduced on stage by Bob Drewel — master of ceremony — who in the name of The Everett Symphony and the community said “France has given the US two great gifts – the statue of Liberty and Charles-Henri Avelange!”. Now that was so sweet… I was so honored and moved by it, it brought me to tears.
I certainly look forward to more collaborations with The Everett Symphony in the future. Ron Friesen gave me an incredible gift by picking my music for this performance, probably one of the most amazing thing that happened to me in 2010… and at this point in my life!