When Philharmonic and Film Collide

The worlds of live orchestra and film screening will come together again as FilmHarmonic brings a symphonic sensory spectacle to Brisbane Festival.

A journey through powerful storytelling, breathtaking visuals and enchanting melodies, FilmHarmonic is a celebration of art, culture and collaboration, combining the power of live orchestral music by the Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra with compelling cinema by Griffith Film School students as well as Hollywood works.

More than just a concert, FilmHarmonic provides students and emerging talent a platform to showcase their skills through a meticulously curated program that speaks to the heart while providing a feast for audiences’ senses.

Now in its third year, 2023 will see the event run for two nights due to overwhelming demand.

Orchestra conductor and Deputy Director of Engagement at Queensland Conservatorium Professor Peter Morris said this year’s concert will touch on a range of themes but have a strong focus on social justice and sustainability.

Head of Ensembles & Orchestral Conducting, Professor Peter Morris

“This year we’re doing Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin, celebrating its 100-year anniversary, as well as Australian film Blueback which was only released last year,” he said.

“Australian composer Nigel Westlake created the score for Blueback and it’s just going to be the most amazing spectacle seeing all the film’s beautiful underwater scenes and powerful conservationist messages while the orchestra plays his music.”

There will be plenty of fun to be had too, with scenes from kids’ favourite Bluey (created by Griffith Film School alumnus Joe Brumm and Conservatorium alumnus composer Joff Bush) as well as an intimate behind-the-scenes documentary piece on the making of the Oscar Award-nominated and ultra-quirky “An Ostrich Told Me the World is Fake and I Think I Believe It” by Griffith Film School’s Lachlan Pendragon.

An animation piece created by Griffith Film School academics and students at the recent Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival in Winton will also be showcased, with a soundtrack written by Conservatorium student Zachary Miezio.

Kolperi SkyA Journey into First Australians’ Astronomy is an inspiring look into First Nations and Aboriginal storytelling and Aboriginal astronomy and is particularly meaningful at this point in our political history” Professor Morris said.

“It was shown on the final night of the Outback Film Festival in Winton but we also recorded it with the Symphony Orchestra a few months ago, so the students have gained the experience of both recording the work and having their names on the credits but also the chance to play it for live audiences.”

The original concept for FilmHarmonic was sparked by Dr Morris’s reflection on his doctoral research at the University of California, Los Angeles on visual technology in the concert hall, as well as a desire to give students the best experience preparing them for a contemporary career in music.

“Audiences are increasingly interested in seeing films with a live orchestra, so giving students the experience of playing using the technology used for this type of show ensures they’re industry ready, and when an opportunity arises, they’ll know exactly what it’s all about,” Professor Morris said.

“The students really love it, so while it started as a personal goal of mine, there have been so many benefits for them and it’s just a great opportunity for collaboration across the Conservatorium and the Film School as well as the wider industry.

“We still love our traditional concerts, but collaborating, re-imagining and doing something different just really excites us.”

Only a handful of tickets are still available for this year’s shows.

Get one if you’re quick through https://www.brisbanefestival.com.au/whats-on/2023/film-harmonic.