This article, named “The best of 2017 and what’s coming in 2018” is divided into two parts.
Its first part aims to be a summary of the remarkable events among all those that SoundTrackFest has reported about in 2017, with special attention to the events that have been attended.
The second part is a reference of the important events that are already planned for 2018, as we have an interesting year ahead.
Let’s look back to 2017 first, as it has been an intense year full of film, television and videogame music related events. It is clear that people increasingly want to enjoy live the music of their favorite movies, or the music of the television series they like, or the music of those games in which they spend so many hours living adventures.
It is difficult to make a ranking and say which was the best concert of 2017, but we can point out the best options, each one with its characteristics and particularities.
Joe Hisaishi‘s concert at the Film Music Prague festival in April was a real delight and one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen, both for the program and for the performance of the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hisaishi himself, who also played the piano in some pieces. With a different program, the concerts that Joe Hisaishi offered in Paris in June also deserve a special mention.
At the same level there would be the concert celebrating Michael Giacchino’s 50th birthday at the Royal Albert Hall in London in October. A concert that had quantity, variety, quality and an impressive cast of guests, in a unique and unrepeatable night, while being extremely entertaining and original.
In a next level we could talk about Danny Elfman‘s fabulous concert at the Hollywood in Vienna festival in September, a festival that as always, is a synonym of quality, or the concerts of James Newton Howard on his European tour in November, where the repertoire, the video montages and all the format, design and production of the event, offered fabulous shows.
If we are looking at concerts of a smaller format, I think that the surprise and most remarkable concert last year, was offered by the veteran David Shire on the piano accompanied by the voice of the singer Sylvia Parejo at the MOSMA festival in July, where the audience lived special moments full of pure magic.
John Williams’s concerts in Boston in May deserve a special place in this list, since a first-half perfectly conducted by Keith Lockhart, which included an unusual and very enjoyable program, and a second-half conducted by John Williams with commitment and passion still amazes me today, as he gave us two concerts that will not be easily wiped away from our memory.
But there is also a dark point on this list and it is the tribute concert to James Horner that took place at the Royal Albert Hall in London in October. A concert that promised to be something special, and that despite having a very remarkable musical quality, ended up being a “canned” show without soul or heart, and not a warm and affectionate celebration as the occasion required.
I think there is no doubt in this section; Krakow Film Music Festival is the best film music festival in the world right now. It celebrated its 10th edition in May 2017 with an intense week full of events (not only concerts but also panels and conferences), where I think two moments could be highlighted: the movie in concert “The Neverending Story” with the complete original music of Klaus Doldinger played live for the first time, and the risky and original proposal of Giorgio Moroder DJing his music for all audiences in the main square of Krakow, an open-air performance.
If we talk about Spain, FIMUCITÉ in September with its 11th Edition had the honor of being the oldest and most complete festival, with some original and diverse concerts, where perhaps the Sword and Sorcery concert could be highlighted, which was very well received, despite its long duration that made it a bit excessive for some people.
On the other hand, MOSMA, held in July, consolidated its presence in the national and international scene, having a fabulous 2nd Edition, where the team’s experience with the festivals of Úbeda and Córdoba was noticeable when preparing a complete and varied program.
Film Music Prague festival had an important qualitative leap in 2017, expanding its concerts and activities with respect to the previous edition, and bringing Joe Hisaishi to offer a wonderful concert. Hollywood in Vienna, held this time on September, also expanded its contents compared to its 2016 edition, including an additional concert with the Janoska Ensemble and lectures and a composition workshop, as well as a fabulous concert dedicated to the figure of Danny Elfman, which is among the best of the year.
Finally, on the one hand, I have to highlight the 14th edition of SoundTrack_Cologne, a festival that is mainly dedicated to the professional side of music applied to audiovisual media, and which was held in Cologne (Germany) at the end of August, being a very pleasant surprise. On the other hand, there is the veteran festival World SoundTrack Awards in its 17th edition, focused on jazz music and held in October in Ghent, Belgium (days before another smaller festival that should be followed closely for its possibilities and growth: the ISFMF festival in Croatia).
Ennio Morricone has not stopped giving concerts in 2017 within his tour “60 years of music”, in addition to offering some special concerts, and despite the rumors of his retirement. With 88 years, the maestro conducts the orchestra during the entire concert and continues to make people enjoy his unrepeatable music. Only for this, he deserves to have the first place on this list. With his tour, he has traveled almost all of Europe in 2017, but unfortunately he has “forgotten” to include Spain.
John Williams has not been on tour in 2017, but the concerts he has given in Boston, Tanglewood, Los Angeles, Nashville and Seattle (the latter with Steven Spielberg as guest), could have been part of a tour: the tour of a great legend of the composition, perhaps the greatest living legend (with Morricone’s permission). Maestro Williams is still actively composing, and at 85 years he continues giving us true moments of joy, both with new music and through his concerts.
In Spain, the Film Symphony Orchestra has been touring almost all 2017 offering concerts throughout the Spanish geography, first with one repertoire and then with a different program, bringing film music to all audiences and helping to popularize it, something that is always appreciated.
Hans Zimmer has continued touring for another year. First he did it with Hans Zimmer Revealed in the United States and Australia-New Zealand, and later with Hans Zimmer Live in Europe, the United States, and Canada, omitting unfortunately Spain. A tour more in the style of a rock band than an orchestral tour, which, why deny it, has its audience; an audience I’m sure has enjoyed watching Hans Zimmer share the stage with rock stars in the concerts he gave at the Coachella festival in April.
Ramin Djawadi took his music for the TV series Game of Thrones in a spectacular tour with concerts held in the United States and Canada and Danny Elfman continued to offer his wonderful music for Nightmare Before Christmas in concert in multiple locations around the world (Paris, Mexico or New York), clearly demonstrating who is the only and genuine Jack Skellington.
Finally, we would have the film La La land, a great surprise and big winner at the Oscars last year, which started a world tour in May in Los Angeles and then we would have House of Cards in Concert, with Jeff Beal as a conductor, who offered a series of concerts in Europe and Israel in 2017, and that could well have been part of a mini-tour ‘per se’.
But I did not want to end this section without mentioning video games, since the fabulous Video Games Live tour with Tommy Tallarico, has been touring the world uninterruptedly since 2005, visiting Europe on at least two occasions in 2017. Zelda Symphony offered another year full of concerts, but unfortunately only left the city of Barcelona in Spain in the tour, removing Madrid and Bilbao, cities that had been part of the tour in 2016.
And to finish this summary of 2017, I would like to highlight two special events in which SoundTrackFest was able to participate. First is the composition course organized by GEMS in Madrid in summer, in the month of July, which was given by Christopher Young, a portent as a composer and an exceptional communicator and teacher. The students of that course won’t forget in all their careers those days with him, or the recording session side by side with Chris Young.
On the other hand, the event Fans of Music From the Movies, organized in London in September and that last year celebrated its second edition, managed to have among its guests two big names: David Arnold and Christopher Young. A close, relaxed and very didactic event, which should be followed closely.
VIDEO SUMMARY THE BEST OF 2017
After reviewing a year as packed as the one we had in 2017, let’s go with this second part of the article, for the twelve months we still have ahead of 2018. We have a year that is coming strong, with most of the big film music festivals with their dates and programs announced (at least partially), and with several notable tours and concerts on the horizon for the following months.
Let’s start talking about the tours, and we see that two known names come out in the first place: Ennio Morricone and John Williams.
It seemed that Ennio Morricone was going to retire at the end of 2017, but that was not the case, announcing first the extension of his tour “60 years of music” in 3 cities by the beginning of 2018, and subsequently adding 3 more cities for the summer. A good milestone for the maestro, who will turn 90 years old in November!
John Williams, who will turn 86 in February, doesn’t want to be left behind, and has stepped on the gas pedal this 2018 so that he will conduct/co-conduct over 13 concerts in places as varied as San Diego, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore or Tanglewood. And yet the usual concerts in Boston and Los Angeles – Hollywood Bowl have to be announced (which we hope will continue to be celebrated in 2018).
Hans Zimmer has not announced a tour for 2018 yet (as he did with his tours in 2016 and 2017), and it’s not clear if he will do it, although he has announced a production with his music in a symphonic version named The World of Hans Zimmer – A Symphonic Celebration, which will mainly tour Germany and that won’t have his presence but will have his “blessing”.
On the other hand, Ramin Djawadi returns with his Game of Thrones tour, but this time with a new format and starting in Europe (in Spain) in May to later jump to North America.
Let’s talk now about festivals, and we start the section once again with the Krakow Film Music Festival which will celebrate its 11th edition at the end of May / beginning of June, and which occupies the first place with a program full of concerts. As usual, it has already announced a remarkable list of guests, with the names of Krzysztof Penderecki, Michael Nyman, Elliot Goldenthal or David Arnold among others (which will surely be complemented with more names in the following weeks, as happened last year).
In second place we could highlight the Spanish festivals, with FIMUCITÉ festival first, which celebrates its 12th edition in September dedicated to the music of UFO sightings and alien invasions, and which has already announced its two main concerts, but not guests. We would also have the 3rd edition of the MOSMA festival, to be held in July, which has not announced program yet but has confirmed three of its guests: John Powell, Taro Iwashiro, and Jeff Russo.
Film Music Prague festival is going to be something special this year 2018, as it has announced a full 4-day program that includes 4 very interesting concerts, with guests such as Benjamin Wallfisch, Clint Mansell or Two Steps From Hell, and that could still incorporate some additional guests. SoundTrackFest is collaborating as a partner of Film Music Prague for this edition of 2018, and it is expected that there will be some surprises in the following weeks, so stay tuned to the page.
World SoundTrack Awards festival will celebrate its 18th edition in October 2018 although it has not yet announced either theme or guests, only dates, and Hollywood in Vienna festival, which celebrates its 11th edition in 2018, has not announced dates or central guest yet. It is expected that they will do so in late January or early February, and the festival is expected to return to October as on previous occasions.
On the other hand SoundTrack_Cologne festival has announced its 15th edition for the end of August 2018 without further details at the moment, and the interesting event Fans of Music From the Movies will have its 3rd edition on Saturday, September 15th 2018, although there is still no more information available about guests.
Finally, I want to highlight the growing and promising Croatian festival ISFMF – International Sound & Film Music Festival, which will probably be held at the end of October after the World SoundTrack Awards, and which is expected to announce dates and give us some pleasant surprises soon.
We arrive to the last section of this extensive article, the one dedicated to the remarkable concerts of 2018.
The truth is that if we remove those concerts that are going to be given by both Ennio Morricone and John Williams, it is still early to have an extensive list of concerts to highlight in 2018 as the one of 2017, although there are already a few that could be pointed out.
First we have the Hollywood in Hamburg concert series that included a Danny Elfman concert in September 2017 in Hamburg and two other concerts with David Arnold (March 2018) and John Powell (June 2018), both with their tickets already sold out long ago.
Speaking of John Powell, this year the composer will delight us with 3 concerts in June and July in Europe: the first will be a special concert organized in Prague on June 16th, the second will be included in the series Hollywood in Hamburg on June 24th and the third one will be during the MOSMA festival in Malaga, the first week of July.
On the other hand, the Royal Albert Hall has recently announced a series of events for the Festival of Science to be held in May and June, which will include several film music concerts, mainly movies with live music.
And let’s finish this section with the concert that is perhaps the most anticipated concert of the year: Joe Hisaishi in Germany during 2018. Although it is still something that has to be confirmed and announced, the composer himself said that it was on his agenda for 2018 to come back to Europe-Germany in a talk after his Prague concert in 2017, so all his fans will be expectant and wishing that this becomes a reality … as soon as possible!
As you can see there are many options to choose from, and when we have been less than 15 days in 2018, new events, concerts or news about festivals continue appearing, so this list will not stop growing throughout the year.
A recommendation… keep an eye on SoundTrackFest if you want to have all the information you need to enjoy live the film / tv / videogames music that you like most. Live the music and meet the composers!… with SoundTrackFest.
Article by Gorka Oteiza