ALEXANDRIA, VA – The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (ASO) and the Alexandria Film Festival (AFF) are teaming to bring a special, immersive experience to audiences. On Saturday, Nov. 6, ASO will perform at Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center as six original films play onscreen. The project, entitled Homegrown: American Stories in Music and Film, commissioned footage for various compositions. These are: Copland’s “John Henry” and “Our Town,” Griffes’ “Clouds” from Roman Sketches, Ives’ “The Housatonic at Stockbridge” from Three Places in New England, Higdon’s “Blue Cathedral,” and Grant Still’s “Manhattan Skyline” from The American Scene.
For the finale, ASO will perform Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in its entirety.
“This Homegrown collaboration with the Alexandria Film Festival started by a desire to perform American orchestral pieces live in concert that serve as soundtracks for newly commissioned films by American filmmakers,” said ASO’s Music Director Maestro James Ross. “Usually the music is made to fit the film, but instead our six filmmakers let their creative fantasies run wild, inspired by each given composer. The variety and organic quality of the storytelling is breathtaking!”
Higdon’s work accompanies Michael Fallavollita’s retelling of “Tale of the Kite,” which garnered 25 film festival awards. The Grant Still piece will come to life courtesy of “Black Lives Matter” by Jane Pittman and Annette Brieger. Grieffs’ work will accompany the stop-motion animation film by Alexi Scheiber called, appropriately, “Among the Clouds.” Copland’s “Our Town” will be set to images of Old Town Alexandria by Andrea Kalin, and his rendition of “John Henry” will be accompanied by the Shannon Washington documentary “Beat Ya Feet.” Ives’ work will be set to found video footage compiled by artist Tim McLoraine.
On Sunday, Nov. 7, the music can be heard without projection at the Gorge Washington Masonic National Memorial. Following that concert, attendees are welcome to stay for a discussion with the filmmakers.
“We are delighted this historic partnership is finally reaching fruition,” said AFF Executive Director Patti North. “What began as a unique collaboration uniting the power of live music with visual storytelling as an integrated whole, we add the celebration of an audience being able once again to enjoy these art forms in person and in the moment.”
ASO is committed to providing a safe concert environment for our patrons, musicians, and staff. The concerts will be presented with no intermission. Schlesinger Concert Hall has been completely overhauled with a state-of-the-art ventilation system. Audience members, musicians, staff, and volunteers will be required to wear a mask and be fully vaccinated.
Adult tickets start at $20. Military, senior, student and group discounts apply. To purchase, click HERE.
The Nov. 6 concert will begin at 6 p.m. and the Nov. 7 concert will begin at 3 p.m. Schlesinger Concert Hall is located at 4915 E. Campus Drive. The Washington Masonic Memorial is located at 101 Callahan Dr.