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It’s difficult to convey how privileged Melbourne audiences will be to welcome Joe Hisaishi on to the stage of Hamer Hall. This is the composer who soundtracked some of the most memorable moments in all of film history, let alone Japanese anime. He has scored four of the top ten grossing Japanese films of all time and has worked with master storyteller, and friend, Hayao Miyazaki for over 30 years.

Joe Hisaishi began his career exploring experimental electronic music, American minimalism, and traditional Japanese music. However, it was during his years making films with Miyazaki that he fully embraced the power of the orchestral score. He retained his earlier influences while beginning to lean on early 20th century masters like Stravinsky and the French impressionist, Debussy. The resulting palette is a sound so unique to the world of Studio Ghibli that it renders itself inseparable from the films.

Hisaishi’s themes never fail to keep up with the feverishly creative pace of Miyazaki. The amulet-slowed descent of Sheeta to be met by the boy-miner Pazu in Laputa Castle in The Sky; when the young heroine Chichiro is joined by the ghost-passenger in Spirited Away; when Fio the girl-mechanic fixes Porco’s plane in my favourite Ghibli film, Porco Rosso – Hisaishi’s melodies are right there with us.

Like Miyazaki’s films, Hisaishi’s music stretches and breathes. It lets you step on the train, take a seat among strangers, and be taken along for a ride into the strange, sometimes scary, always spectacular unknown. It captures, with breathtaking skill, one of Miyazaki’s key obsessions: flight. Like so many of Miyazaki’s characters, his music is agile and weightless.

With Maestro Hisaishi at the helm of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, MSO Chorus and some very special soloists, this music will come to life in a new and exhilarating way. For those who love the movies of Studio Ghibli like I do, this performance will rekindle how you felt when you first discovered the strange wonder of its universe.

We’re absolutely thrilled to be sharing this with you.

Karl is part of the MSO’s Special Projects team. It was through his hard work that we are able to offer this world exclusive performance of Joe Hisaishi Symphonic Concert, Music from the Studio Ghibli Films of Hayao Miyazaki in April 2018.

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