Aural Fantasy 

Oakland East Bay Symphony's "Symphonic Cinema" plays favorites - old and new - at the Paramount

Mickey Mouse can't make it, but Friday's "Symphonic Cinema" concert at the Paramount Theatre should prove an eye-opener for film-music fans, the classical crowd, and especially that hardest-to-reach fine-arts demographic, the youth audience. In programming the evening of symphonic hits from movies, drawn mainly from Walt Disney's Fantasia, Oakland East Bay Symphony Music Director Michael Morgan was seeking maximum outreach.

"It's aimed at young people," says Morgan of the program, which features such well-liked themes as Paul Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice and J.S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. "It reminds them that they know more classical music than they think they do. We'd like to help break down the barriers between styles of music, and show young people that they actually already appreciate classical music."

Part of that hoped-for crossover is the inclusion of Marco Beltrami, composer for such horror films as Scream and Dracula 2000. "Marco is one of the hottest composers in Hollywood right now," declares Morgan. "He's always doing three or four films at a time." At the Paramount, Beltrami will lead a pre-concert discussion (7:05 p.m.) before performing a special suite written for the occasion, The Grand Dinamiten, with Morgan and the symphony. In addition, featured soloist Christine Yu, winner of the OEBS Young Artists Competition, will perform Franz Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major.

Morgan promises more of these pop-culture-oriented concerts in the future, including a jazz-and-classical program. In the meantime, Friday's audience will be treated to something old, something new. Morgan himself admits to a preference for the original 1940 Fantasia over the computer-animated Fantasia 2000. "I'm probably just old-fashioned," concedes Morgan, "but I like the old animation better. My favorite part is the Mickey Mouse Sorcerer's Apprentice. It has a warmth to it."

"Symphonic Cinema," is at 8 p.m. Friday at the Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland. Tickets available online through Ticketmaster or in person at the Paramount box office. For more info: 510-444-0801.

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