April 23, 2004



Portland, Ore. … Bill Conti, one of Hollywood’s most prolific composers whose credits span 30 years and multiple Oscar, Grammy and Emmy honors, will headline “An Evening at the Movies” to close the Bank of America Pops series on May 22, 23 and 24 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. The “Rocky” theme “Gonna Fly Now” and James Bond’s “For Your Eyes Only” are but two Conti selections from scores of film and television projects that have included “Broadcast News” and the Oscar-winning music from “The Right Stuff.” An added performance is scheduled for May 25 at Salem’s Smith Auditorium. Media support is provided by Oregon Business Magazine, K103fm and KEX Radio.

Conti, who also is noted for serving as the musical director of more Academy Award telecasts than any other composer/conductor (12) will conduct a selection of his own works including “The Final Bell,” from “Rocky,” and a medley of some of his best-known music for television, including music from the 1988 Olympics, “Falcon Crest,” “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” “Dynasty” and “Cagney and Lacey.”

Conti will share the spotlight with the distinguished pop music arranger Victor Vanacore, whose recent television projects include composing the music for “Joe Millionaire” and “Survivor.” Vanacore, who has worked with The Fifth Dimension, Barry Manilow and R & B legend Ray Charles, among others, opens the concert with several of his best-known arrangements, including the theme song from “The Wizard of Oz,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” along with Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and Gershwin’s “Samba in Blue!” Vanacore and the Symphony will also perform a medley of classic Detroit soul tunes from various Motown artists and a toe-tapping salute to disco.

Performances are scheduled for Saturday, May 22 at 8 p.m., Sunday, May 23 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Monday, May 24 at 8 p.m. at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, with an additional performance on Tuesday, May 25 at Willamette University’s Smith Auditorium in Salem. Tickets range in price from $25 to $68 and may be purchased at the Oregon Symphony Ticket Office (923 S.W. Washington), Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or charged by phone at 503-228-1353 or (800) 228-7343. Tickets also may be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets (503-790-ARTS) or through Ticketmaster Online, via the Symphony’s Web site at www.orsymphony.org. Service fees may apply.

Bill Conti

Oscar and three-time Emmy Award-winner Bill Conti is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after composers and conductors for both film and television. His compositions have sold in excess of eight million albums, and he is in great demand as a conductor of symphony orchestras throughout the Unites States. In 1989, Conti was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1995 the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) awarded Conti the Golden Soundtrack Award for lifetime achievement in film and television.

Conti has composed the musical scores for many box office giants including “ Broadcast News,” “Baby Boom,” “f /X,” “The Karate Kid,” “Private Benjamin” and “Spy Hard.” He won an Oscar for Best Original Score for “The Right Stuff” in 1983 and received two Oscar nominations for Best Original Song: one for the Sheena Easton hit record “For Your Eyes Only” from the James Bond picture of the same title and one for “Gonna Fly Now,” the powerful anthem from the 1976 Academy Award-winning Best Picture Rocky.

The soundtrack for Rocky also garnered honors including a Golden Globe nomination, a Billboard Award nomination, an RIAA Certified Platinum Album, a Rock Award nomination and a Grammy nomination for Best Original Score. “Gonna Fly Now” not only occupied the number one position on the Billboard magazine charts for the week of July 2, 1977, but also received an RIAA Certified Gold Record and two Grammy nominations for Best Instrumental Composition and Performance.

Conti has received a total of ten Emmy nominations for his work in television. He won two Emmy Awards in 1990 for developing the creative concept and composing the score for the New York City Marathon telecast. Conti conducted the Juilliard Symphony Orchestra during the course of the marathon live from Lincoln Center, a first in television sports coverage. He won his third Emmy in 1992 for his musical direction during the telecast of the Academy Award Ceremonies.

Conti has been the musical director for twelve of the internationally-televised annual Academy Award ceremonies, most recently in 1997. For six consecutive years (1990-1995) he was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Direction for his work on the Academy Award shows.

Conti has composed some of the most recognizable themes for television broadcasts, including those for the 1984 “Good Morning America,” “Turning Point,” “World News Tonight,” “Prime Time Live,” “Nightline,” “ABC Sports,” “Inside Edition” and “American Gladiators.”

In addition to his composing, Conti travels around the world as a guest conductor for orchestras including the Boston Pops, London Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Festival, National Symphony at Wolf Trap, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Florida Pops Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, RAI Orchestra of Rome and Graunke Orchestra of Munich. He has also been the principal pops conductor for the Nashville Symphony.

Born in Providence, R.I., in 1942, Conti began studying piano at age seven under the tutelage of his father, an accomplished pianist, sculptor and painter. At the age of 15, he organized a band and began to play for high school dances in Miami, Fla. He was a member of his high school band and symphony orchestra and won the “Silver Knight Award” from the Miami Herald for high achievement in the field of music.

Conti received a bassoon scholarship from Louisiana State University where he majored in composition and played jazz piano at many of the local night spots. While attending LSU, he was first chair bassoon in the school’s orchestra, staff arranger for the University’s marching band and accompanist for the LSU Ballet Corps. It was in this capacity that he met his wife, Shelby, who was a member of the Ballet Corps.

After Conti received his Bachelor of Music degree from LSU, he was accepted at the Juilliard School of Music in New York where he studied with musical greats such as Hugo Weisgall, Vincent Persichetti, Roger Sessions, Luciano Berio and Jorge Mester. In 1965 Conti won the Marion Feschl Prize for having composed the best song of the year. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from Juilliard, followed by a Master’s Degree.

Victor Vanacore

Born in North Haven, Conn., Victor Vanacore began learning the piano at age six. He wrote his first composition at age eight, and with it he began his life-long fascination with music.

Vanacore played the saxophone and clarinet in his high school’s band, and he also gained some unique opportunities by playing the piano in nightclubs and burlesque shows. After high school, Vanacore joined the Navy and was immediately accepted into the Navy Band. During his time in the Navy Band, he met several graduates of the Berklee College of Music, a renowned training ground for jazz musicians. Their influence led him to enroll and earn a degree from Berklee.

In 1974, Vanacore moved to Los Angeles where he joined the Jackson Five as a keyboardist and musical arranger. A year later the band’s conductor had an emergency; Vanacore was asked to fill in, and after his performance that night, he became the Jacksons’ permanent conductor and arranger.

At the end of the Jackson Five tour, Vanacore served as the conductor and arranger for Fifth Dimension for two years. Johnny Mathis then hired Vanacore as the Musical Director for his world tour for two years. He then joined Barry Manilow for six years in the same capacity, and received six album credits, including “If I Should Love Again,” “Barry Live in Britain,” “Barry” and “The Greatest Hits.”

Vanacore has an ongoing relationship with musical icon Ray Charles, serving as his Musical Director. He also conducts pops show with several symphony orchestras. His recent appearance as conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl garnered broad critical acclaim.

Vanacore has also worked with many Los Angeles television productions on their live music components, including “David Copperfield” and “Name That Tune.” Vanacore’s credits on both large and small screens include the movie “Hot Shots,” eight segments of VH1’s “Behind the Music,” “The Bob Urich Show” and many trailers for film, including “Hercules,” “Jingle All the Way” and “George of the Jungle.”

Most recently Vanacore has been working as a composer with his brother David on the critically acclaimed hit shows “Joe Millionaire” and “Survivor.” Other recent projects include themes for the New Jersey State Television Lottery, Pennsylvania State Lottery and Wisconsin State Lottery. In addition Vanacore composed and arranged “It’s America’s Game” for a 13-state Powerball campaign.

Recent commissions by Vanacore include “Detroit Soul” commissioned by the Detroit Symphony featuring Motown themes and “America Then And Now” for New Jersey Public Television Network.

Vanacore is a member of ASCAP, AFTRA, the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences, and the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers. Vanacore lives in Granada Hills, California, and enjoys a very close relationship with his son, Victor Vanacore III.

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