- - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Marty McFly, his mom Lorraine and scientist “Doc” Brown spring to life again Friday evening when Emil de Cou conducts the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap in a performance of the music from “Back to the Future,” starring Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson and Christopher Lloyd, which kicks off the NSO’s movietastic outdoor summer. 

The newly revised score by veteran Hollywood composer Alan Silvestri was completed just in time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the beloved science fiction comedy. 

“I’m a big fan of this film, and when I learned that Silvestri had composed additional music for its premiere in Lucerne last month, I could hardly wait to get the DVD and scores to prepare for its Wolf Trap premiere,” Mr. de Cou told The Washington Times.

He confesses that some of his happiest moments on the podium occur when he is pairing original scores and beloved films. To coordinate a film with its music, he watches it at least 15 times and makes copious notes to be certain they come together in perfect harmony.

A special treat for fans will be the opportunity to meet actor Lea Thompson (Lorraine), who hosts a free preperformance discussion held on the Old Farmhouse lawn one hour before the screening.

“We’re all so thrilled and amazed that the film is being passed on for families to share,” Miss Thompson said from Los Angeles, where she is directing the taping of episodes in the ABC Family show “Switched at Birth” for next season.

“The story was always magic,” Miss Thompson said. “The cast, the script, the music just worked. I love the fact that I’m known for a great part. I worked hard to know and understand every detail of Lorraine’s character as a teenager and as an adult. The interesting film construction plays well today, and the themes are powerful. Every five years or so, I look at it and always find something new.”

The preperformance discussion will also include composer Mr. Silvestri, and will be moderated by Mr. de Cou.

Mr. de Cou was the NSO associate conductor from 2001-2004 and has been the NSO conductor at Wolf Trap for the past 11 summers, during which time he has collaborated with NASA as musical adviser. For the 2012 performance of Holst’s “The Planets,” which utilized photos of outer space, he was awarded the agency’s Exceptional Public Achievement Medal.

Although his primary role during much of the year is as music director of the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, Mr. de Cou is a frequent guest conductor with such major symphony orchestras as Cleveland, Cincinnati, Phoenix and Pittsburgh.

“Audiences everywhere love attending movies backed by the original scores,” he said. “When I conducted the score of ‘Casablanca’ in Pittsburgh, the temperature was below zero, but there was a huge line waiting to fill the house. This is a wonderful way to bring people to the concert hall.”

At his next Wolf Trap concert on July 31, Mr. de Cou will welcome Rufus Wainwright. For that program, Mr. de Cou plans to include some numbers from Mr. Wainwright’s celebrated London Palladium concert of Judy Garland’s hits.

The following evening, he will conduct the score of the Paramount Pictures film “Star Trek” and anticipates that it will reprise memories of his friendship with the late Leonard Nimoy, (“a very kind and helpful soul”) who narrated the NSO’s performance of a “Space Odyssey at Wolf Trap” in 2006.

Later this summer, the NSO’s Wolf Trap season will close on August 8 with the music of John Williams.

“John is such a prolific composer, it was difficult deciding what to include,” Mr. de Cou said. “We know the audience will expect the themes from ‘Jaws,’ ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and ‘Star Wars.’ The chorus that joins the orchestra for ‘Star Wars’ will also sing the Christmas song from ‘Home Alone,’ which many people don’t realize he wrote.

“There are so many amazing sides to John’s work. For example, he wrote the music for ‘Catch Me if You Can,’ the Leonardo DiCaprio movie. And of course we’ll include the music from ‘Lincoln’ to coincide with the Civil War anniversary.”


WHAT: “Back to the Future” Universal Studios film with score played by the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Emil de Cou

WHERE: Wolf Trap Filene Center, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, Va. 22182

WHEN: Friday, 8:30 p.m.

INFO: Tickets $30 to $58 by calling 877/WOLFTRAP (965-3872) or visiting WolfTrap.org

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