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Inaugural London Soundtrack Festival Announced Featuring In-Conversation Event with Howard Shore and David Cronenberg

The London Soundtrack Festival (LSF), London’s first dedicated annual festival celebrating music from cinema, television and games, has today revealed a first glimpse as to what the inaugural programme has planned.

In assocation with the British Film Institute (BFI), the Festival will take place across the capital in March 2025 at some of London’s premier cultural venues, including the Royal Festival Hall, Alexandra Palace, and BFI IMAX. It will showcase performances by a number of the city’s top orchestras with appearances from some of the biggest names in film, television, and video game music. The Festival will also celebrate London’s status as a global cultural hub for soundtracks, boasting legendary studios, renowned musicians, state-of-the-art facilities, and leading creative artists across all music disciplines.

Founded by concert producer, broadcaster, and musician Tommy Pearson, the London Soundtrack Festival will celebrate the life and work of acclaimed composer Christopher Gunning. Gunning is known for composing the iconic theme to ITV’s “Poirot” (starring David Suchet), the BAFTA-winning score for the film La Vie En Rose, and popular jingles for Martini and Black Magic advertising campaigns.

After Christopher’s tragic passing in March 2023, his widow Sveta asked Tommy Pearson to set up a festival that would celebrate Christopher’s remarkable talents, skills, and infectious enthusiasm. In his memory, the annual festival will bestow the Gunning Inspiration Award upon a prominent industry figure who has made an enduring mark on music through their exceptional artistry and craft. The award recipient will also serve as the festival’s headlining performer that year.

Composer Howard Shore whose work includes music for The Lords of the Rings trilogy, Seilence of the Lambs, Se7en and six films with Martin Scorsese, will receive the inaugural Gunning Inspiration Award. Commenting on the announcement, Shore said, “It is an honour to be invited to the inaugural London Soundtrack Festival and to be the first recipient of the Inspiration Award. After many years of recording with the great London Philharmonic Orchestra, I am so looking forward to reuniting with them at the Gala Concert.” Shore is also a consistent collaborator with director David Cronenberg, having scored all but one of his films since 1979.

Today, music for film, TV and games is more popular than ever with orchestral music concerts featuring film soundtracks now making up 30%, TV soundtracks 26%, and video game concerts 11% of all concerts in the UK since 2018 (Source: RPO Report).

Soundtrack music also acts as a gateway for new audiences to explore orchestral music, with film screenings featuring a live orchestra ranking in the Top 5 of orchestral concerts attended by newcomers (Source: RPO report). Online engagement has grown too with TikTok’s #soundtrack hashtag growing 84% in 2023 compared to 2022, reaching 2.3 billion views (Source: BBC News).

This morning at BFI Southbank, Festival Founder and Artistic Director Tommy Pearson unveiled details of the inaugural Festival, comenting, “It’s really exciting to be bringing this brand-new festival to London – the film, TV and games music capital of the world – and to celebrate the greatest composers working today who create the soundtrack to our lives. For me, it’s the culmination of a lifetime’s love of film and TV music; a chance to give audiences young and old (and everyone in between!) world-class performances, fascinating masterclasses, screenings and events for many years to come.”

Stuart Brown, Director of Programmes and Distribution at the BFI added, “Music is the spiritual soul of cinema, television and video games, it inhabits our hearts, minds and dreams.  We’re buzzing to be working with the London Soundtrack Festival to bring this very exciting new festival to audiences, and to be part of a really meaningful celebration of the incredible talent that brings these art forms to life.”

Tickets for the London Soundtrack Festival will be available starting in September 2024. To get full program details, sign up for the newsletter, and stay up-to-date on future announcements, please visit the festival website and follow the event on social media (@LDNSoundtrack).

Programme highlights

Howard Shore

Howard Shore is one of the most successful and popular film composers. His soundtrack for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, for which he won countless awards (including three Oscars and three Grammys), is some of the most beloved film music of the last 25 years. Shore’s discography is vast and wide-ranging, scoring films such as Mrs Doubtfire, Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, and six films with Martin Scorsese including The Departed and The Aviator.

In recognition of his constant originality, creativity and craft, Shore will become the first recipient of the Gunning Inspiration Award, which will be presented to him by director David Cronenberg as part of the LSF’s central Gala Concert.

Cronenberg and Shore have worked together for over 45 years, creating some of film’s most memorable, startling, moving and controversial moments. As part of a special Q&A event at Royal Festival Hall, Cronenberg and Shore (in conversation with journalist Jon Burlingame) will discuss their extraordinary collaboration, featuring Videodrome, The Fly, Dead Ringers, Crash, M Butterfly, Eastern Promises, A History of Violence, Naked Lunch and their 17th and most recent film together, The Shrouds.

Shore will also introduce exclusive screenings of some of his most iconic scores, with further details to be announced.

Hildur Guðnadóttir

Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, best known for her scores for Joker (for which she won an Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA, and Golden Globe) and TV series Chernobyl (Grammy, Emmy and BAFTA), is also an LSF Featured Artist next year.

Guðnadóttir will lead a pre-concert talk about her work ahead of presenting Hildur Guðnadóttir In Concert at Queen Elizabeth Hall, performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra. The programme will celebrate Guðnadóttir’s film and TV music alongside her influences and inspirations.

Hildur has written a new commission for cellist Richard Harwood, who will premiere the piece at Wigmore Hall as part of a lunchtime recital of music by film composers written for the concert hall.

Gala performances

At the heart of the Festival is a Gala Concert at Royal Festival Hall from London Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Ben Palmer, featuring music by all featured artists, with a particular focus on the recipient of this year’s Gunning Inspiration Award, Howard Shore.

BBC Concert Orchestra will perform popular hits from film and television at Alexandra Palace in a live edition of the BBC’s long-running popular programme Friday Night Is Music Night, broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

Anne Dudley and Friends: Movie Songs Live sees Oscar-winning composer Anne Dudley (The Full MontyArt of Noise) and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at The Roundhouse presenting an exclusive night of movie songs and music featuring some very special guest vocalists, still to be announced.

Screenings

Musician and composer Anna Meredith will introduce a live performance of her score for Bo Burnham’s film Eighth Grade played in sync with a screening of the film at BFI IMAX.

Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece Modern Times will screen at Cadogan Hall with the original score played live by Covent Garden Sinfonia led by conductor Ben Palmer. The performance will be Introduced by Chaplin’s grandson, Spencer Chaplin.

Throughout the Festival, there will be exclusive screenings of films featuring scores by LSF featured artists, often introduced by the composers themselves. Further details will be announced soon.

Masterclasses and talks

Composer Paul Farrer (The Chase, Weakest Link) will reveal his composing and production process in a special masterclass.

Multi-award-winning composer Natalie Holt will present a masterclass exploring her process behind creating scores for TV hits Loki and Obi-Wan Kenobi in a masterclass.

Producers of music notation software Dorico will demonstrate the latest tricks and developments for media music creators in a demonstration session at the Southbank Centre.

And LSF host Jon Burlingame, one of the most respected writers on film and TV music in the world, will discuss his book ‘Music for Prime Time: A History of American Television Themes and Scoring’ with LSF Artistic Director and Founder, Tommy Pearson

Games Music

An unmissable celebration of Video Games Music will take place at The Roundhouse with Games Music: State of the Art, with masterclasses (by Grammy and Ivor-Award winning composers Stephen Barton and Gordy Haab on their score for Star Wars: Jedi Survivor), demos, autograph opportunities and a panel session with a stellar line-up of Games Music composers, including Borislav Slavov (Baldur’s Gate 3), Ludvig Forssell (Death Stranding) and Harry Gregson-Williams (Metal Gear).

Further events and details will be announced in the coming months.

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