At the turn of the 20th century, when silent films were all the rage in America and Europe, it was not uncommon for a pianist and another instrumentalist to perform onstage against the film’s backdrop. Those musicians were true artisans of improvisation. Remember, this was before recording devices were common.

A few nights ago, I had the good fortune to snag an SRO ticket at the Bass Concert Hall to see one of the two performances of the very first Harry Potter film projected on a 40-foot screen, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and set against a live orchestra performed by the Central Texas Philharmonic.  The amazing guest conductor executed John Williams’ unforgettable score with precision. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find his name in any promotional materials 🙁. 

The audience was engaged and animated. They whistled, clapped, whoop whooped, booed, and screamed for their favorite characters – Harry, Ron, Hermione.  Unlike the musicians of yesteryear who performed to silent films, the sounds emanating from the pit were timed precisely to the full-color talking film. This miraculous achievement was made possible through painstaking editing.

The Harry Potter Film Concert Series, brought to you by Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment and CineConcerts. I had just seen a full Harry Potter movie to the end.  into the Wizarding World and relive the enchantment of Harry’s journey as his story unfolds on the big screen accompanied by a live symphony orchestra performing the unforgettable music scores. Since its debut in 2016, this global concert tour has captivated over 3 million fans worldwide across 48 countries, with over 2,973 performances scheduled through 2025. It’s hard to believe the show has been on the road for 8 years!

Here’s a snapshot for those unfamiliar with the first Harry Potter film. It’s his 11th birthday, and he has discovered his extraordinary heritage. He embarks on a thrilling adventure at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. From learning the exhilarating sport of Quidditch to facing off against a Dark Wizard determined to thwart him, Harry’s tale comes to life in a way that will leave you spellbound.

Justin Freer, President of CineConcerts and Producer/Conductor of the series, lived up to his promise of an unforgettable event, combining the magic of the films with the power of live music.

Texas Performing Arts

TPA is The University of Texas at Austin’s premier arts presenting and producing program as one of the USA’s largest and most dynamic university-based performing arts centers. TPA is a cornerstone of Austin’s rich arts, cultural, and entertainment scene.

The newly renovated Bass Concert Hall is Austin’s largest theatre, although the designer should have redone the seating armrests. All armrests are too short by about half a foot and useful for children. Adults must keep their arms in their laps as the rests do not extend enough for comfort.

With the appointment of Tony Award-winning producer Bob Bursey as Executive and Artistic Director in January 2020, Texas Performing Arts continues to uphold its legacy of excellence and innovation in the arts.

By Elise Krentzel

Elise Krentzel is the author of the bestselling memoir Under My Skin - Drama, Trauma & Rock 'n' Roll, a ghostwriter, book coach to professionals who want to write their memoir, how-to or management book or fiction, and contributing author to several travel books and series. Elise has written about art, food, culture, music, and travel in magazines and blogs worldwide for most of her life, and was formerly the Tokyo Bureau Chief of Billboard Magazine. For 25 years, she lived overseas in five countries and now calls Austin, TX, her home. Find her at, FB: @OfficiallyElise, Instagram: @elisekrentzel, LI: