Sunday, October 29, 2017

Diva Meets Nicholas Buc, Conductor of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Concert (29 - 31 October 2017)


Nicholas Buc has a job that most Star Wars geeks might envy, especially if they love making music as well. A composer, arranger, conductor, violinist and pianist, Nicholas has managed to combine his love for film and music, and is one of the few conductors specializing in such live movie concerts. He also gets to travel around the world doing what he loves!


He has performed several such concerts around the world, like Harry Potter, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek and E.T. From 29 to 31 October at the Esplanade, the audience will get to see him conduct the first-ever Star Wars Symphony Orchestra Concert performed in Singapore

For this concert series, Episode VII - "The Force Awakens" (TFA) will be screened as over 70-musicians in the orchestra play the accompanying John Williams-composed soundtrack live. So, not only do Star Wars fans get to re-watch TFA again, Red Dot Diva bets all her credits that it will also be more unforgettable, communal experience.


Listening to an orchestra in a concert hall brings out the different timbre and dynamism of a movie soundtrack. The acoustic quality of the live orchestral music absolutely supercedes that music projected by your smartphone/ computer speakers, and even an expensive audio system. Simply put, it is movie magic in aural form.

Red Dot Diva was invited to the dress rehearsal for a sneak peek yesterday, and she found that even watching the artform demonstrated by the skilled musicians playing their instruments, and Nicholas Buc elegantly working as a maestro, was simply bewitching.


Here's a taste of the local orchestra and Nicholas Buc performing some very recognizable Star Wars: TFA themes:




Goosebumps, right?
Don't you feel your emotions soaring and burning fuller and more passionately?

After the rehearsal, the very friendly and down-to-earth Nicholas Buc took a few minutes to chat with Red Dot Diva and a few other media folks.

"It's time that music got the royal live treatment," Nicholas said, exuberantly.

When asked about how he got involved with the Star Wars concert, he said that it was Disney who first put the show together for various orchestras around the world to perform, and Nicholas happens to be one of the few conductors out there who specialize in these type of live performances. He has been doing this for 8 years.

"It is a unique style of conducting. You are not just doing the music. There are a lot of technical elements going into synchronizing the music with the picture. I have my little video screen, and I use the various visual reference points for me to make sure that we are exactly where the tie fighters are, or when Kylo Ren destroys something, the tubas go 'pfbbfff', hitting the right moment."

Nicholas Buc also shared what drew him to the Star Wars movies in this little video snippet. He also talked about what are the unique points of of "The Force Awakens" soundtrack compared to the other Star Wars movies.



He considers "Rey's Theme" and "Kylo-Ren's Theme" the iconic tracks of the movie, and thinks that even though the latter has dark underpinnings and echoes Darth Vader's theme, there is still the interesting and developing family backstory regarding Kylo-Ren in the next movie, "The Last Jedi". Nicholas said that he is interested to see how the music of both of these key characters starts to crossover.

"Rey's (music) is very positive and uplifting, and Kylo's is very dark and menacing. And maybe, they might kind of fuse them together. Exactly how, I'm not sure. But that's what I'd like to see. What I'd like to see happen if Kylo-Ren's style of music will start to drag down Rey's theme and it get kinda darker as she encounters more struggles, shall we say."

Red Dot Diva asked if he has a favourite John Williams soundtrack from the Star Wars franchise, and he paused for awhile before giving a reply. "The theme that occurred the most throughout all the seven films was 'The Force Theme', and that to me, is the heart and soul of Star Wars. Yes, you have the main theme, the triumphant exterior stuff, but the 'religion'  of Star Wars, is 'The Force Theme'. It underscores a lot about the storytelling, so to me, that is the best theme."

Nicholas then confessed that he had dressed up as a Stormtrooper while conducting a Star Wars concert two weeks ago in Australia. Although it was fun to put on the trooper costume, it was an uncomfortable experience, and he found it difficult to conduct with his arms in armour.

As for conducting with a lightsaber, Nicholas was all for it. "It would have to be a green lightsaber. I think that moment when Luke came on in the Return of the Jedi with a green lightsaber was like WOAH. It was pretty awesome."

He thought it would be difficult to swing a full-sized lightsaber while conducting an orchestra, and his arms will get sore. Someone then suggested that it could use Yoda's smaller lightsaber - which is also green. "That's a good idea. In Japan, they sell the little lightsaber chopsticks. Very similar size."


Red Dot Diva wondered if he might do another Star Wars concert series for "Rogue One", and Nicholas gave a big smile, "I'd love to do 'Rogue One'. It's actually not up to me. It's up to Disney if they decide to make it available. But that would certainly be great. I'd absolutely be up for it."

By the way, Nicholas' favourite Star Wars character is Rey, because of her strength and because she carries the heart of the story. (Plus, Daisy Ridley does a great job acting the role too!)

To that, Red Dot Diva cannot agree more!


The special Star Wars: "The Force Awakens" symphony orchestra concert ends on 31 October 2017. So, if you want to enjoy a wonderful night out enjoying live music performed together with an epic Star Wars film, tickets are still available at SISTIC! (Price range: SGD 69 to SGD 229)

Watch the Official Star Wars - "The Force Awakens" Concert Trailer:




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