Sacramento Philharmonic director talks teaming up with Harry Potter for performances on Oct. 6 & 7

By Eddie Jorgensen

It’s been 22 years since the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released in theaters across the globe. The fantasy series has been a huge success for all involved.

For those Harry Potter fanatics who can’t ever get enough, the initial film will get some special musical treatment this week from Sacramento’s own Philharmonic orchestra, which will perform John Williams’ original score for a limited run this week at SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center.

SN&R reached out to Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera’s executive director, Giuliano Kornberg, to get the lowdown on the upcoming show.

SN&R: As executive director, do you have as much pull for the film choices?

Kornberg: In January 2023, we were approached by the promoting company of the Harry Potter series, Innovation Arts & Entertainment, to see if there might be the possibility for the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera to provide the live music for the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. After a bit of back and forth, we agreed and got to work. We’ve developed a great rapport and collegial collaboration with them, both with production planning and marketing, that has everyone excited about the concerts taking place. I think those that will attend are in for a real treat.

For this concert, we were approached with the choice to participate on this film specifically, and generally, for partnership opportunities such as this, the movie, music, production, etc. is pre-determined. That doesn’t make it any less interesting – this concert will be a great way for our musicians to get more performance opportunities, our organization to get a little more exposure, and most importantly, our community to engage with amazing music in this manner for the first time that I can recall.

SN&R: What are some of the past movies that have included the Sacramento Philharmonic?

Kornberg: While we haven’t performed other full movie concerts like this Harry Potter opportunity (to my recollection), we have performed other movie soundtrack performances featuring music by John Williams; superhero music (we performed a ‘Superhero Scores’ concert in June 2022); and other film concerts such as ‘Hooray for Hollywood.’ These performances are quite fun and great for both musicians and concert attendees, and I’m confident that everyone will really enjoy themselves with the full HP1 movie.

SN&R: How many members of the orchestra can we expect for the Harry Potter installation?

Kornberg: There will be about 80 musicians on stage – a full complement of string instruments (12 first violins, 10 second violins, 8 violas, 8 cellos, 6 basses), 3 flutes, 3 oboes, 3 clarinets, 3 bassoons, 6 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, 5 percussionists, harp, piano, and 2 synthesizers. It will be one of the biggest orchestras that we’ll have ever put on stage at one time.

SN&R: Have you ever considered doing a horror, sci-fi, or dystopian drama score like The Shining2001: A Space Odyssey or 1984?

Kornberg: Possibly. With the Harry Potter performances taking place next week, I’m really looking forward to seeing how they go, what the audiences and our community think of the performances, how our musicians enjoy performing this music, etc. These sorts of performances and partnerships are a wonderful way for our subscribers, patrons, and donors to engage with our music in a different way than our other performances at the SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center, and are a wonderful point of entry for families, younger individuals, and first-time attendees. From people that I’ve spoken with, there is a great buzz around these Harry Potter concerts, and if they’re the hit that I think they will be, we can certainly explore the potential for producing more performances like these.

SN&R: What other performances are you looking forward to in 2023 and beyond?

Kornberg: This Harry Potter concert will be a great way to start the season, but there a quite a few other musical opportunities for the community to engage with this season. Our Opening Night concert will be on October 21, just a couple weeks after Harry Potter; November will be our first performance with Maestro Ari Pelto as our Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor; we’re providing live music for all performances of “The Nutcracker” in December 2023 with the Sacramento Ballet; and we’ll again produce two operas with Die Fledermaus in February 2024 and Don Giovanni in May 2024. We’re also already sketching out what our 2024-25 season will look like, and are assessing if we can produce other concerts like these Harry Potter performances.

The show plays on Saturday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m. and again on Sunday, October 7 at 1:30 p.m. Tickets start at $47 and premium seats are $150 and can be purchased at in advance. SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center is located at 1301 L Street in Sacramento.

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1 Comment on "Sacramento Philharmonic director talks teaming up with Harry Potter for performances on Oct. 6 & 7"

  1. I’m so excited to be there and can’t wait to make some great music with the Sacramento Philharmonic!

    And believe it or not, I WON’T be using any sort of click track in my ear! I line the music up to the picture purely by watching the film and with visual cues – it’s a much more natural and symphonic performance for the musicians and audience!

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