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Utah Symphony launches Films in Concert series, including Indiana Jones, second Harry Potter films

The Utah Symphony will begin its 2017-18 season by launching its new Films in Concert Series, a program symphony administrators hope will introduce a different type of audience to the orchestra.

“I do believe that it’s our responsibility as a cultural organization to connect with as many in our community as possible, and I think we kid ourselves if we think it’s going to be possible as a first-time experience for someone to come to a Mahler symphony or something like that,” Paul Meecham, Utah Symphony and Utah Opera president and CEO, said in an interview with the Deseret News. “There’s no question that (the Films in Concert Series) is a way in and a way to attract different audiences (such as) families … but also adults who have not been to the symphony before.”

The Utah Symphony announced last September two “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone” concerts in December as part of its Harry Potter Film Concert Series and ended up adding a third concert in January “due to phenomenal demand,” according to a previous Deseret News article.

“We had this incredibly successful first Harry Potter movie in December, so next season, we’re creating a new film series,” Meecham explained.

The series will feature four films shown over the course of the season where the soundtrack has been removed, which allows the Utah Symphony to play the soundtrack live as the movie is projected in the background.

“I think we’re wanting to join in this excitement,” said Toby Tolokan, vice president of symphony artistic planning. “A lot of these films were never available (for orchestras) until recently … (because) it does take time … to physically make this work, not only make the music available for the orchestra to synchronize but to have the production people remove the music from the soundtrack of the films.”

The four films will be the 1981 Indiana Jones film “Raiders of the Lost Ark”; Tim Burton’s stop-motion animated “The Nightmare Before Christmas”; a continuation of the Harry Potter film series with “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”; and the world premiere of the Western classic “High Noon,” according to a news release.

“All of them were selected because fundamentally the music is great music,” Meecham said. “We’ve selected movies that really showcase our Utah Symphony.”

The complete schedule for the series is:

• “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in concert: Sept. 8-9, 7 p.m., Abravanel Hall

• “The Nightmare Before Christmas” in concert: Oct. 24, 7 p.m., Abravanel Hall

• “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” in concert: Dec. 21-23, 7 p.m., Abravanel Hall

• “High Noon” in concert: Feb. 17, 2018, 7 p.m., Abravanel Hall

For additional information about the Films in Concert Series and for tickets, visit