Harry Potter in Concert – 2020-01-18, Rotterdam

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

At the time of this writing, the whole world is in turmoil because of the coronavirus. Not only are many countries in lockdown, during which people have to stay home, but all big events in the next months have been canceled. My personal agenda was filled with amazing film music concerts, which are now called off or postponed to an unknown later date. Fortunately, I still had one concert in the pipeline to write about, which I attended two months ago before the virus found its way to Europe. It will probably be the last concert report in a long while that can be read here on Soundtrack World.

The Rotterdam Philharmonic is one of the orchestras in the Netherlands which has had film music on the agenda for quite some time. The concerts I keep looking forward to are their Harry Potter performances, and I have been writing about them since the third movie, as can be read in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. All previous Harry Potter movies had been conducted by Justin Freer, but because of family reasons, he was not able to do the job this time. Luckily, Ernst van Tiel was available to take over and after seeing him conduct in Dublin during the Michael Giacchino concert, I had no doubt that he would be able to lead the orchestra on this project. Van Tiel was also kind enough to have a small chat with the audience before he started the concert.

The first three Harry Potter movies have stunning music composed by John Williams. Patrick Doyle broke that cycle by writing the music for the fourth one, and now we were at the point where we could watch Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with music by Nicholas Hooper. To be honest, I am not that familiar with Hooper’s music, I have heard his Harry Potter music but it never really stuck with me. The Rotterdam Philharmonic did an amazing job, but I found myself watching the movie more than paying attention to the music. Luckily there were a few moments where the music stood out to me. The music for Dumbledore’s Army was a pleasure to listen to and the joyful theme written for Professor Umbridge is fantastic. I could also hear some hints of John Williams’s themes throughout the whole movie, which are marvelous as well.

What I love about movies with live music is that the orchestra is always allowed to shine during the end credits, where the audience can listen to the music without being distracted by the images on the screen. Sadly, as was the case with the previous Harry Potter movie, the music had been shortened, resulting in the audience leaving the hall after applauding for the superb performance while the credits were still rolling. I know I sound a bit negative here, but let me emphasize that I had an amazing time. The Rotterdam Philharmonic is a wonderful orchestra that is willing to perform film music and it is showcasing the wonders of film music with these live screenings. Harry Potter will be returning in December when the Rotterdam Philharmonic will be performing the music during the screening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and I am looking forward to attending it. I already have my ticket. Hopefully, the coronavirus will be under control by then, as one of its many effects is a negative financial impact on the cultural sector and film music is something that really has the power to brighten many lives.

Concert information

Where: De Doelen – Rotterdam, The Netherlands
When: January 17, 2020
Orchestra: The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Ernst van Tiel


  • Anton Smit

    Anton is the editor-in-chief and founder of Soundtrack World. After writing about film music occasionally, he thought it was time to create his own site to celebrate music from film but also other media. Next to working on this website, Anton is a member of the International Film Music Critics Association, has a job in IT and plays the tuba in a local orchestra.

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