"Lord of the Rings" Symphony Back at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, PA

It's encore time for "The Lord of the Rings Symphony" at Heinz Hall. Last summer's presentation -- with composer Howard Shore conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Mendelssohn Choir -- was such a commercial success that an extra performance was added to the schedule.

This weekend's two performances feature Billy Boyd -- who played Frodo's pal, Pippin, in the films -- and will be led by John Mauceri, best known locally as the music director of Pittsburgh Opera. But the conductor also is the co-creator of "The Lord of the Rings Symphony." Mauceri suggested its creation and shared the work with Shore in preparing the scores.

"During the time we were performing 'The Flying Dutchman' at Pittsburgh Opera," Mauceri says, referring to November 2003, "I spoke to Howard for the first time because I had the idea of turning the music from 'The Lord of the Rings' films into symphonic scores." At that point, Shore had completed work on only the first of the trilogy of films based of J.R.R. Tolkien's novels.

Soon the two were working together, mailing manuscripts across the country. Mauceri conducted the world premiere of the first part of "The Lord of the Rings Symphony" two summers ago at the Hollywood Bowl.

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