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Danny Elfman's Music From the Films of Tim Burton - Live Concert Event

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Creator of movie magic from Batman, The Simpsons and more
Hollywood composer Danny Elfman may not be a household name but after a 30 year collaboration with famed director Tim Burton, his music is some of the most recognised in the world.

Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton tours the UK

Audiences have the chance to enjoy some of Elfman's work when the BBC Concert Orchestra performs a collection of his movie masterpieces during a limited UK tour.

The show includes theme tunes from Burton's Alice in Wonderland, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Visuals of Burton's original film sketches, drawings and story boards will accompany the music, which is only being performed in Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and London from October 7 to 10. The world premiere of the show at London's Royal Albert Hall has already sold out amid huge anticipation.

Danny Elfman has collaborated for 30 years with Tim Burton

Despite this show, Elfman is probably more successful for composing the theme tune to a very non-Burton-esque television programme - The Simpsons. It's a tune that he describes as coming into his head while driving home and adds that it was the "easiest thing" he's ever done during an interview about the new tour.

Elfman and Burton have worked together so often that the composer describes their relationship as brother-like. "He's like blood almost," says Elfman. "There was a point when inevitably we had a big falling out and it was the same feeling I got when I fell out with my brothers as a kid. It was like losing a member of my family.

"The reason any collaboration between director and composer clicks is as mysterious as how a marriage works, because ultimately you become symbiotic. The partnership works on an almost subconscious level.

"All I can tell you is that over the years he has presented me with many fantastic landscapes in which to work, but I found them not alien places to visit. His world seems very clear; not always simple, but accessible to me. My approach is very fluid. I have to figure how to get into his psyche. But its experimentation, there's no formula at all."

Speaking about his first steps into music, Elfman says: "It all began when I got to high school and I hung out with friends who were musicians.They turned me on to Stravinsky and that pretty much changed my life.

"I started wishing I played an instrument and then at eighteen I secretly took up the violin."

It was while he was part of a street theatre troupe in Los Angeles that the composer taught himself the trombone, percussion, baritone horn, alto sax, drums and even took a turn as a fire breather.

It was when Burton was a young animator, working on Peewees Big Adventure, that he first approached Elfman about creating a score.

"My first words of astonishment were 'why me?," recalls Elfman. "Evidently Tim had more confidence in me than I did. I met him, I liked him. We grew up on the same stuff Hammer Horror, Roger Corman horror, Harry Hausen, fantasies so there was quite a bit of overlapping in our backgrounds, but I still didn't think I could do it."

Elfman was so worried about "wrecking" the film, that he even tried to back out of it, and was expected Warner Brothers to kick out the score. But when they went for it, it opened the door of opportunity and led to him being "offered every quirky comedy made in Hollywood".

"Any success story is being in the right place at the right time, talent is only part of the equation," he adds. "Luck was with me. It came at a time when music in comedy was kind of stagnant."

Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton

Ticket information:

Royal Albert Hall, London - October 7, 8pm (sold out)
Royal Albert Hall website

First Direct Arena, Leeds - October 8, 7.30pm

The SSE Hydro Glasgow - October 9, 7.30pm

The NIA Arena, Birmingham - October 10, 7.30pm

Tickets can also be booked through or by calling 0844 844 0444.
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Why? Visual and movie musical spectacular
When: October 7 - 10, 2013
Phone: 0844 844 0444.
Where: Birmingham, London, Leeds, Glasgow
Cost: From 27.50
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