‘Slumdog Millionaire’ composer drops by Seattle Symphony for debut of his new work

Films play a big part in the 2017 incarnation of Seattle Symphony’s popular, annual “Celebrate Asia” program; there will be works by Akira Ifukube and Oscar winner A.R. Rahman (“Slumdog Millionaire”), who will be on hand for the premiere of his new work.

Music by the man who gave us Godzilla’s perennial theme can be heard at this year’s “Celebrate Asia” concert, alongside another from a 1983 made-for-television family drama and a haunting melody from the Oscar-winning score of 2009’s Best Picture.

In other words, films play a big part in the 2017 incarnation of Seattle Symphony’s popular, annual program celebrating our region’s Asian-American community and diverse cultures.

The eclectic lineup of music selections, all performed by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, is primarily focused this time on Japan and India. On the bill is the bittersweet grandeur of “Nami no bon,” from the aforementioned TV movie originally called “Lantern Festival of the Waves” (retitled “Lanterns on Blue Waters”) and starring the wonderful Chishu Ryu.


Seattle Symphony: ‘Celebrate Asia’

Pre-concert activities and performances start at 5:30 p.m.; concert at 7 p.m., Benaroya Hall, Seattle; tickets from $40 (206-215-4747 or seattlesymphony.org).

Composer Akira Ifukube, who supported his serious chamber and orchestral work by writing more than 250 movie scores for the likes of 1954’s “Godzilla” and 1968’s “Destroy All Monsters,” will be represented by a mix of soundtrack excerpts — essentially, music by which to crush entire cities.

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Then there’s “Latika’s Theme” from A. R. Rahman’s familiar music for “Slumdog Millionaire,” the multi-Academy Award-garnering hit from director Danny Boyle. Rahman, perhaps the best-known Indian composer in the world today, took home two Oscars, a Golden Globe and multiple international awards for his work on that Mumbai-set story.

Rahman will play a major part in “Celebrate Asia,” with a total of four pieces in the program and a personal appearance for the world premiere of “The Flying Lotus,” his first commissioned work by a major orchestra.

Seattle Symphony’s vice-president of artistic planning, Elena Dubinets, is thrilled that Rahman — who has composed for 160 movies, plus musicals and chart-topping albums — has chosen SSO for “his first orchestral piece…

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