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Interstellar Orchestra: The Innovative Italian Act Bringing Hans Zimmer To The Stage

An event brought us to the discovery of one of the fastest-growing, most innovative and groundbreaking acts around. All the way from Italy, today we present to you a group that is… more than a group. With the formation of a full orchestra, the group of over 20 members lies with one foot in the world of classic music, and the other in the dynamic and fast-paced world of digital development.

Music Daily got the chance to interview one of the fastest-rising, most innovative acts around, and now bring to you their thoughts! Meet Interstellar Orchestra and their original revisitation of cinema music! Discover with us this Italian phenomenon that’s conquering their native country and setting up their debut overseas.

Interstellar: Set to Reach the Stars… Among the Stars—The Creation of Interstellar Orchestra

Retrieved from @interstellarorchestra Instagram
Retrieved from @interstellarorchestra Instagram

Interstellar Orchestra is a music project inspired by German film composer Hans Zimmer and his work. The project excels at melding modern and classical instruments, creating unique soundscapes and detaching from the constraining concept of “band” or “orchestra.”

Interstellar Orchestra started in 2019 in Northern Italy, when Paolo Negri, guitarist, speaker and founding member of the project, started working on Hans Zimmer’s sheet music. After a journey through modern music, the artist discovered his new passion for orchestral music, which he developed both until and throughout the creation of the group. During the early stages of the project, several musicians became part of the band. These included percussionist Marco Benato, violinist Simone Angiuli and keyboardist Luca Valerani. Soon after, Strongvilla took the lead on the technical features of the live concerts: from sound engineering to crafting the light show.

We were able to discuss the project, its future and their current tour with founders Paolo Negri and Marco Benato.

More Than an Orchestra: Separating From the Constraining Concept of “Band” or “Orchestra”

As the group grew, the founding members welcomed more and more artists and personalities to the project. 17 more musicians joined, giving life to a tight group of, not only colleagues, but also close friends. The members in fact met through common friends, leading to the creation of a cohesive and tight-knit group. “We mainly looked for dedication, interest and passion in the creation of such a project,” says Negri. “The investment in this project goes beyond one’s ability, and for that we were sure we found great musicians. We needed someone who was as passionate and dedicated as we were.”

As each member brought their own passions and interests to the table, exotic music mixed with classical sounds, and somehow it all strung together into an innovative project full of variety, in which each member fully and actively participates. In this sense, the influence of the group wasn’t only related to Zimmer’s music. The group in fact decided to use their smaller size as their strength, allowing each member to explore their knowledge and passion, and bring their special influence to the bigger picture of the project.

“We really care about this aspect. Our group is not made of members that come and go, instead we’re a group that started its journey together and is growing together. This allows us to know what to expect and to ask to each of the musicians.

In the 22-member group, it might be surprising that Interstellar Orchestra’s main interest is the enhancement of each member’s best qualities. “Having a stable group allows us to the understanding of each musician’s most precious abilities and characteristic traits.” The duo introduced the example of one of the members: “Our trumpeter, Nicola, has a rooted passion for ethnic flute – he even had two custom ethnic flutes built to use live. For this reason, we ought to bring this sound in our live concerts, trying to take advantage of this specific sonority.” The passion is also shared with other members of the group, ranging from jazz backgrounds to interests in exotic influences.

“The more we play together, the more our connection grows, the better we play.”

Classical and Innovative

Retrieved from @interstellarorchestra Instagram
Retrieved from @interstellarorchestra Instagram

The newfound soul of the project brought their work to its first live recording session in March 2022. After a two-year period of crafting and refining all the technical aspects, from sound design development to finding all the musicians to complete the ensemble, the group hit the stages, officially starting the group’s debut in Italy.

The group brought on stage a performance that mixed classic instrumentations with digital and modern innovations. “We wanted to have an organic of both classic and modern instruments which give us the chance to experiment and obtain a lot of results with otherwise wouldn’t be possible if not by combining the two influences,” says Paolo Negri.

Despite the size increase, the members’ roles got more specific and precise, and each of the members’ uniqueness became emphasized. Depending on their background, each member was allowed to bring their knowledge to the table. “We’re all experimenting and using all our knowledge to find our way. This is the best and most enjoyable part of our job.”

Honoring Him: Hans Zimmer—the Inspiration Behind the Project

Interstellar Orchestra: interview with Marco Benato (left) and Paolo Negri (right)
Interstellar Orchestra: interview with Marco Benato (left) and Paolo Negri (right)

For Paolo, Hans Zimmer was already a name he knew of, but things became more personal during a specific occasion. “What inspired me and sparked my interest in his work was a DVD I bought in Prague (Czech Republic). There I first saw his ability of mixing classic and modern during his live performances.” Despite his synth background, Zimmer in fact owes a lot of his work’s sentiment and depth to orchestra instruments, such as violins and flutes. “The soundtracks of Interstellar and The Lion King left me so much. When I noticed how he created these two pieces, I started digging into his work.”

“It is the same for me,” says Marco. “I saw the same concert, but in person.” He says: “I was a fan of his movie soundtracks, but when I saw him live I was completely amazed by his sound. I have never heard anything similar, not even in Morricone or Williams.”

“Interstellar was one of the few movies in which I could notice the role of the soundtrack.” Paolo admits, “I couldn’t stop thinking about how the music was narrating the scenes, even more than the visuals. What struck with me was the research of the perfect, original and specific sound.”

“The Gladiator was my life-changing movie and soundtrack,” starts Marco. “However, through time I discovered a new passion for The Last Samurai as well: it is very elegant. Personally, I also find interesting the Far East world, which made the movie very personal.” “That is a very delicate movie indeed,” continues Paolo. “[Zimmer] was careful enough to portray all the raw emotions through the soundtrack, also through the use of ‘local’ and sophisticated instruments such as the bansuri.” (A bansuri is an ancient, side-blown flute from India and Nepal).

“Those are the small elements that make the difference”

The Circle Of Life Tour and Live Performances

Interstellar Orchestra is currently touring in Northern Italy. Their tour is aptly named The Circle of Life Tour. The group is bringing their revisitation and adaptation of Hans Zimmer’s work to the stage.

“The emotional impact plays a big role in the music we bring on stage.”

Don’t forget to stay updated on to discover more about the group’s live performances and their tour!

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