Slideshow: The Lord of the Rings Symphony Brings Howard Shore's Music to Life at Symphony Hall

By 
Belinda Huang
April 27, 2017
The Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra and Choir on stage.
Roger Brown acknowledges Howard Shore in the audience.
Robert Boardman conducts the six movements.
Cellists play.
The Berklee Contemporary Symphony Chorus sings.
Concertmaster Linton Robinson plays a solo.
Soloist Maureen McMullan sings.
The horn section plays.
Soloists from VOICES Boston Children's Choir sing.
Lord of the Rings fan dresses up like Gandalf.
Symphony Hall resounds with the iconic themes of "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogy as more than 200 musicians and singers perform alumnus Howard Shore’s magnificent opus.
Berklee President Roger H. Brown honors Shore, who is in the audience, praising him for his career of scoring more than 80 films and drawing laughs by pointing to Shore's composing work on films from "The Silence of the Lambs" to "Mrs. Doubtfire" as the definition of "range."
Conductor Robert Boardman leads the orchestra and choir with gusto, cuing entrances and signaling changes in dynamics and energy throughout the performance.
The symphony features six movements, with two drawn from each of the three films in the trilogy.
The Berklee Contemporary Symphony Chorus adds a layer of voices to the music, creating rich textures that are both powerful and haunting.
Concertmaster Linton Robinson stands as he plays a well-received solo.
Soloist Maureen McMullan sings sweeping melodies with her wide range and powerful voice.
The brass section enhances both the tension and the triumph of the different movements.
Soprano soloists Francisco Viana and Miles Luther from children's chorus VOICES Boston charm the audience with the pure sweetness of their voices.
A fan attends the concert dressed as "Gandalf," leader of the Fellowship of the Ring in the "Lord of the Rings" universe.
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson
Image by Kelly Davidson

On April 19, Symphony Hall resonated with the soundscapes of Middle-earth, as more than 200 musicians from the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performed Howard Shore’s B.M. '69 '08H Lord of the Rings Symphony from the trilogy of films from director Peter Jackson based on J. R. R. Tolkien's book trilogy. The six movements featured conductor Robert Boardman, soloist and assistant chair of the Voice Department Maureen McMullan, and children's chorus VOICES Boston.

Berklee President Roger H. Brown introduced the Signature Series concert, honoring Shore, who was present in the audience. Shore was met with thunderous applause as he stood and acknowledged the audience and musicians (the next day, the composer delivered a clinic, discussing his music and career with Berklee students).

The two-hour musical journey took the audience through the film trilogy, creating moments of nostalgia and awe via Shore's iconic themes as well as moments of high energy and tension through the dynamic performance of the musicians and singers.

Alison Plante, chair of Berklee's Film Scoring Department, noted that the concert was particularly significant for the students in her area: "Like them, Howard Shore was once a student at Berklee, so it is especially inspiring for them to see—or rather, hear—the places they might go."

Listen to Shore discuss the symphony in this podcast: