Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pixar in concert

Symphony will play to animated film Friday at Pavilion

Express Staff Writer

Space ranger and hero Buzz Lightyear, of “Toy Story” fame, front, conducts in front of other Pixar characters to promote the “Pixar in Concert” performance at the Sun Valley Pavilion.
Courtesy photo

The Sun Valley Summer Symphony will present “Pixar in Concert” on Friday, Aug. 15, at the Sun Valley Pavilion. The 90-minute show will feature film scores and animated movie clips from 14 Pixar movies, including “Toy Story,” “Up,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles” and “Brave.”
    The show’s creator, Disney Creative Editor David Tanaka, will be in Sun Valley for the performance. He spent two years collaborating with Pixar directors, producers and composers to present a visual tableau of many of Pixar’s most memorable moments.
    “We wanted to see how much emotion we could convey with just pictures and musical accompaniment,” Tanaka said in an interview with the Express.
    The show features clips from 20 years of Pixar films, synchronized with portions of original film soundtracks that have been re-scored for the full symphony production. A very large film screen will be hung inside the Sun Valley Pavilion for the show.
    Pixar began in 1979 as the Graphics Group, part of the computer division of film producer George Lucas’ company Lucasfilm. The group became a separate corporation in 1986 with funding by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who became its majority shareholder. The Walt Disney Co. bought Pixar in 2006 for $7.4 billion.
    Pixar has produced 14 feature films, beginning with “Toy Story” in 1995. The studio’s most recent film is “Monsters University” (2013). Pixar Studio pioneered numerous innovations in animation technology and has earned 27 Academy Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards and 11 Grammy Awards.
    Tanaka chose some of his favorite themes from Pixar films to include in the production. For “Ratatouille,” he focused on the character Remy’s joy of cooking, rather than his butting heads with sous chef Skinner. For “Finding Nemo,” he focused on the father/son relationship between characters Marlon and Nemo, rather than the banter between Marlon and Dory.
    For “Up,” it was all about Carl Fredrickson’s love for his best friend and wife Ellie. For “WALL•E,” Tanaka decided to focus on the romance between the little trash-compacting robot abandoned by humans on a remote planet, and the mysterious and alluring spaceship/robot E.V.E.
    “Each film is represented individually,” he said. “We did some musical re-arranging, but we used music that is played in relation to actual scenes in the movie.”
    Tanaka attended the University of California at Berkeley. In 1990, he joined Industrial Light & Magic, Lucas Digital Ltd., and served as a senior visual effects editor for 15 years. His credits include “Jurassic Park,” “Forrest Gump” and “Star Wars.” In 2005, he accepted a staff post-production editor position for Pixar Animation Studios.
    “At Pixar, it is all about the story,” Tanaka said.
    He said he collaborates daily with numerous other Pixar artists. Each animated film takes four to six years to produce, he noted.
    “We move at a break-neck, but glacial pace. There is never one approach to synching it all up,” he said. “By the time imagery hits the screen and you have fish there swimming and talking, the amount of collaboration comes through.”
     “Pixar in Concert” has been performed by some of the nation’s top symphony orchestras, including the Minnesota Symphony and San Francisco Symphony.
    Tanaka met Sun Valley Summer Symphony Music Director Alasdair Neale in 2013, after “Pixar in Concert” was performed at the Marin Symphony in California.
    “We had lunch after the show and Alasdair told me that he spends much of the year in Sun Valley, Idaho,” Tanaka said. “I told him that sounded very nice, and he said he would love to have us come for a performance.”
    The free “Pixar in Concert” show will start at 6 p.m. It will last for 90 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission. The performance will be conducted by Neale.

‘Pixar in Concert’
When: Friday, Aug. 15, at 6 p.m.
Where: Sun Valley Pavilion.
Admission: Free.

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