Grand Rapids Symphony enters ‘The Matrix’


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At the end of the 1990s, filmmaking took a tremendous leap forward in visual and audio effects with the groundbreaking film “The Matrix.”

To the average movie goer the film is most well known for introducing “bullet time,” which is a special effect that allows a camera to appear to move through a scene at normal time, while the shot itself progresses in slow motion, an effect that wowed audiences and helped the film become one of the highest grossing films of the year.

But, in addition to its stunning visual effects, the audio work on the film was also groundbreaking, with sound designer Dane Davis working to build the sounds from scratch and creating an interesting audio display that had not been heard before.

Film composer Don Davis also contributed substantially to the audio success of the film, with a soundtrack that bridges the music with the action packed futuristic film impressively.

The score has been hailed as Don Davis’ magnum opus and combines orchestral, choral and synthesizer elements in exciting and often difficult ways. Davis also composed the other two Matrix trilogy films.

Under the direction of Don Davis, the Grand Rapids Symphony will perform the music of “The Matrix” perfectly synchronized to the full-length film, projected on a massive high definition screen above the orchestra and chorus on Tuesday, March 19 at DeVos Performance Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m.

“Hearing the music of a film performed live is experiencing the film in an entirely new way,” commented Davis. “It makes it possible to become aware of the relationship of music with film, illuminating both mediums.”

In the video below, a symphony accompanies a showing of "The Matrix."

Written by brothers Andy and Larry Wachowski, “The Matrix” begins when Neo, a computer hacker played by Keanu Reeves, is contacted via the Internet by a mysterious underground organization. The leader of the group, the wanted terrorist Morpheus, lets him in on a terrible secret: life as we know it is just an illusory world. In reality, people have long been controlled by a sinister virtual power, and it may be up to Neo to end the war between man and machine.

“It is a rare thrill to experience the immediacy of a living, breathing orchestra performing a score in real time, in complete synchronization with the film for which it was written,” Davis said.

Tickets for “The Matrix Live” are available at the DeVos Place Box Office, weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets may also be purchased through Ticketmaster, 800/982-2787, online at, or in person at Ticketmaster outlets.

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