A MEETING in Prague over pizza and beer has resulted in an unlikely collaboration between award-winning Hollywood composer Danny Elfman and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra which will see him fly in to hear his music performed in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

And it is hoped that the connections the orchestra has made with other Hollywood movie composers through working with Elfman will help make Scotland a centre for film sound track recordings.

The orchestra is already working with Screen Scotland to try to develop their audio studio so it has the capability to record sound to film.

“It is something we are really excited about,” said RSNO director of concerts and engagement Bill Chandler. “We already have a studio space which is the envy of many orchestras in the UK but we have lacked equipment for recording to film.

“It is still early days in terms of developing the facilities but we have a lot of interest already and have made good contacts so it is something we hope to realise in the next one to two years.”

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A large number of Hollywood films are already recorded in London and Chandler said Scotland could offer the same high-quality orchestral sound.

“The relationships we have made with Danny and Hollywood are hopefully going to bear some fruit in developing work for the orchestra in the long term,” he said.

As well as featuring some of his most famous scores, the Danny Elfman gala concerts will also see the premiere of his violin concerto Eleven Eleven played by American violinist Sandy Cameron.

Elfman, who composed the scores for Tim Burton’s Batman, Alice in Wonderland and Edward Scissorhands as well as the Simpsons theme tune, will attend the performances and sign copies of his newly released Eleven Eleven CD.

He will also sing during a live concert performance of the Nightmare Before Christmas at a sell-out show in Glasgow’s Hydro when the RSNO will perform the score as the hit film is screened.

The relationship between the RSNO and Elfman began after Chandler heard the world premiere of Eleven Eleven in Prague in 2017.

Afterwards he asked if the RSNO could give the concerto its UK premiere in Scotland.

“I was blown away by the piece and how it was so symphonic,” said Chandler. “It is written for a very large orchestra and is very colourful which is what you would expect from Danny – Tim Burton’s films would not be the way they are without his sound world.

“However, unlike some other film composers who try to be more serious when they write for the concert stage, he uses the same voice as he does in his films. A lot of his music is slightly gothic, a bit eccentric and sometimes a little bit dark.”

Over pizza and beer it turned out that Elfman was not only open to the idea of his concerto being played in Scotland but was also interested in using the RSNO to record it.

The RSNO has a worldwide reputation for its recordings, receiving two Diapason d’Or de l’année awards and eight Grammy nominations.

Further discussions resulted in a recording session a year later and the Sony CD of Eleven Eleven is selling well.

“Danny made it clear he enjoyed recording with us so we are hoping to get him back for some more concert performances and maybe a recording of one of his films,” said Chandler.

“He speaks highly of the orchestra and was pleased with their attitude and professionalism and the way recreated his music.”

The RSNO took Eleven Eleven to the US for its LA premiere, an occasion that saw Tim Burton and as many Hollywood film composers in the audience.

“It was a good chance to sell the orchestra’s reputation to a new market,” said Chandler.

It is hoped the Elfman galas in Glasgow and Edinburgh will extend the orchestra’s audience appeal.

“It is really exciting – he is such a character and has a massive following so we are anticipating highly packed halls,” said Chandler.

The concert will include music from Alice in Wonderland, Batman, Edward Scissorhands as well as Eleven Eleven which was written for Sandy Cameron, a young American violinist discovered by Elfman when she was working for Cirque du Soleil.

“She is a bit of an acrobat but also a serious violinist who studied in New York and won several competitions,” said Chandler. “Elfman decided to write a piece for her and it is really perfect as there is something quite theatrical about the way she performs. She is dynamic and moves around like a dancer and that is quite fascinating.”

It will be conducted by former Scottish Opera maestro John Mauceri, a world-renowned conductor, educator, and writer, who has appeared with the world’s greatest opera companies and symphony orchestras as well as on the musical stages of Broadway.

Alistair Mackie, chief executive of the RSNO, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for fans of Danny Elfman to see him in what are really quite intimate settings for such a blockbuster star. We were already in for memorable evenings of beautiful music, including Danny’s Violin Concerto Eleven Eleven, played by the sensational Sandy Cameron – but with the composer himself making an appearance I think these will be truly incredible shows and not to be missed.”