Concert Review: “Psycho” sings with live strings at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece film, “Psycho,” has stood the test of time for many reasons. The iconic editing, masterful cinematography, a twist ending, and so much more, has entertained audience members for generations. Among its most remembered elements is the iconic strings-only music score by Bernard Hermann. Recently, the LA Phil masterfully brought the score to life as it accompanied a viewing of the film on the Walt Disney Concert Hall’s big screen in Los Angeles, California.

psycho walt disney concert hall
Photos Provided Courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.

Hermann’s score was performed by members of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos. I’ve seen the movie “Psycho” many times, but it was a true delight to hear that score played live. Growing up, most of my music collection included movie scores. To have the opportunity to hear a film score live is fairly rare and I highly recommend experiencing it when the opportunity comes along.

One of the most memorable music cues in “Psycho” is the “stabbing” sounds of the strings during the famous shower scene. Hearing it is one thing. But seeing the musician’s bows shoot up into the air just to be stabbed back down onto their instruments to create those chilling sounds was a whole other kind of thrill. You could not only hear and feel the music, but you could also see it in this case.

psycho walt disney concert hall

The orchestra on stage was doing such a masterful job, that I literally found myself forgetting they were there sometimes. It’s not hard to be taken in by “Psycho.” But for someone who has listened to this score so many times simply for enjoyment, it would be quite distracting if the score sounded imperfect. But that never happened with this orchestra. The timing was in exact sync with the film, and the musical performances never missed a beat or note. For that reason, I sometimes found myself forgetting there was a live orchestra playing along as I was taken in by the movie projected on screen.

I would not suggest ever attending one of these live to picture concerts if you haven’t seen the film before. In general, when one of these opportunities comes along, it’s for a classic film you can easily watch in advance. Although it might seem like a romantic thought to make an evening like this one your first experience if you’d avoided the film all these years, it can be a bit hard to focus.

Watching the orchestra and watching the movie are two very different things. You will find yourself shifting between the two throughout the evening. Your first viewing of a film deserves your full attention, and the orchestra deserves your attention as well. So, do yourself a favor and watch the film in advance.

walt disney concert hall

If you’d like to experience a film to picture concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall yourself, you can see and hear “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in Concert” later this year. Check out the LA Phil full schedule here.

Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles.

Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DePaoli’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent Attractions Magazine.


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