After listening to the music from Star Wars, Sean O’Loughlin decided to dive into the world of classical music.
He hadn’t seen the Blockbuster movie; only listened to the score, which whisked him away to another world.
“It’s the sweeping nature, almost larger than life,” said O’Loughlin about the Star Wars music. “I like a strong melody that really defines not only characters but the tone of the film.”
Based in Los Angeles, O’Laughlin is now the principal Pops Conductor of Symphonia in Syracuse, New York. He has led performances with some of the biggest orchestras throughout the United States, along with conducting symphony tours with Josh Groban, Sarah McLachlan and The Decemberists.
On Jan. 29, O’Laughlin will return to Victoria to conduct A Night at the Oscars with the Victoria Symphony.
According to O’Laughlin, the show will take the audience on a journey through some of the greatest film music scenes of all times, featuring music from classics like Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz to more modern films like Titanic, Frozen, Batman and Gladiator.
The selections were chosen from music that has either won an Oscar or has been nominated.
Working closely with the Victoria Symphony’s executive director, O’Laughlin began looking through his music library and putting the program together about a year ago. It’s a program he can’t wait to share.
“For a lot of these films that we’re featuring you can take away the visuals and the music does truly stand on its own,” said O’Laughlin, noting music is usually the last thing added to a film.
“That’s the thrill in it for me is taking this music, featuring it front and centre without the film and really activating your own memory and fantastical journey without someone telling you what the visuals are.”
This isn’t the first time O’Loughlin will visit Victoria. In the fall of 2014, he came to the city to conduct a James Bond show. It’s become one of his favourite places in the world and one he’s happy to return to.
Whenever O’Laughlin picks up his baton at the start of a show, he never knows what’s going to happen.
He links the experience to when an artist sees a blank piece of paper.
“It’s a wonderful feeling that there’s nothing but anticipation. In a sense you know where they’re going but the journey’s part of the fun and part of the artistry,” said O’Loughlin. “The Victoria Symphony is one of the finest I’ve ever worked with so that anticipation is even greater when I pick up the stick for the first time and wait for that massive sound to come with them.”
A Night at the Oscars takes place at 8 p.m. Jan. 29 and 30, with a matinee on Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. For more information visit victoriasymphony.ca.