Join the Philly POPS for a night at the movies

The Philly POPS take movie soundtracks out of your home stereo and into the concert hall at the Kimmel Center this weekend.

Join the Philly POPS for a night at the movies

Hear award-winning scores performed by a full orchestra during “POPS Goes to Hollywood”. These soundtracks play their own essential roles in driving storylines. The music shapes feelings like suspense when your favorite character is in danger, drama in conflict and joy in a happy ending. This is true for every movie genre, but the POPS is paying tribute to action and adventure films. The concert program includes old and new favorites from composers including Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmerman and the composer Philly POPS Music Director Todd Ellison refers to as “the master of all”. 

“John Williams uses music so well to bring the right emotion,” says Ellison. “Think about ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ when they are on the bike and flying in front of the moon, and the music soars as the bike is soaring up in the air. That’s the kind of beautiful artistry I’m trying to celebrate.”

“POPS Goes to Hollywood” is the official concert debut for Ellison since he started with the POPS in July. Ellison, named one of “Broadway’s Electric Conductors” by The New York Times, has a fascination with movie soundtracks that only grew with personal experience.

“I conducted Beyoncé in ‘The Pink Panther’ so I got to see some of that process firsthand,” says Ellison. “You really need to take your time with writing this music and how it goes with all the shots with the actors. In movies, the music is almost always just in the background. What we’re doing is putting it front and center to really appreciate what visually enhances films. Most people usually don’t get to hear this music played live since it’s just in your sound system. In this concert, you get to feel the power in person, which is an experience that can’t be replicated at home or in the theater. ”

“POPS Goes to Hollywood” includes scores from classics like “Jurassic Park” and new iconic pieces that go beyond entertainment. The scores present new musical challenges for the orchestra, including bringing new instruments and voices. The orchestra’s principal cellist will bring out an electric cello to play the futuristic theme from “Wonder Woman”. The Academy Award-winning original score for “Black Panther” incorporates traditional African percussion including the talking drum.

“It’s really funny to look at these scores and go, ‘So THAT’S how they did it!’” Ellison says. “‘Black Panther’ has a very symphonic landscape, but you’re taking traditional action adventure music and layering it with this unique instrument.”

Though adult movie buffs will love this concert, the show is also a perfect opportunity to introduce young kids to the unforgettable experience of seeing a live orchestra performance. The POPS encourages everyone to dress up as their favorite superhero or movie character to really get into the spirit. (Don’t forget to get a photo with the T-Rex in the lobby.)

“POPS Goes to Hollywood” runs at the Kimmel Center Sept. 27-29. Tickets start at $35. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

More from our Sister Sites