Attention, fellow Potterheads! If you have not yet purchased tickets to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in Concert, now is the time to do so.

The Harry Potter Film Concert Series returns to Bass Concert Hall on Saturday, February 2, with two magical performances. The Austin Symphony Orchestra will perform the score from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban while the entire film plays on a giant screen during both an afternoon (1 p.m.) and an evening (7:30 p.m.) performance.

We spoke with Conductor John Jesensky about the event.
Several of his scores have made appearances and won awards at events including the Austin Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival and L.A. Film Festival.

We started by asking what’s different about the score of this film versus the first two HP films.H

“The score for Prisoner of Azkaban is one of my absolute favorites!” he said. “While the first two Potter films focused on immersing you in a sense of wonder and other-worldly magic, John Williams’ third entry into the series takes us into some strange, but wonderful territory!”

That territory, according to Jesensky, includes everything from Viennese Waltz, driving jazz, epic film score to gorgeous choral music, incredibly creepy strings and even Renaissance music.

Perhaps you’ve seen the film multiple times already and are thinking it won’t be that much different in this capacity. Think again!

As Jesensky pointed out, there is something truly magic about a live musical performance.

“When you are in a concert hall, and an orchestra is playing for you, there is real air movement – vibrations – they hit you in ways that no recording can replicate.  It’s like that exhilarated feeling you get when you hear the bass drum of a distant parade – it’s internal, and lights up all of your senses!”

Conductor John Jesensky

Of course, we couldn’t end our interview without asking the two most important questions, starting with what Hogwarts House Jesensky would be in.

“I’ve actually taken the test on Pottermore,” he said. “Every time I try, I end up in Gryffindor house!  Brave and daring – I could do worse!”

And though Jesensky has only visited Austin once in the past decade, he knows that it’s a “truly a one-of-a-kind Texas city.”

He also knows what an important role the Lone Star State has played in the evolution of music. We concluded our convo by asking, who is your favorite Texas musician?

Here is his answer in its entirety because it’s just too good to edit in any way.

“I think more than one musician, Texas itself is a musical institution that has offered so much to the American cultural landscape.  Between the brilliant concert band education at each of the University of Texas campuses, to the conducting and instruction of Samuel Adler all the way to Willie Nelson and Beyonce!  Buckets of great talents and artists have emerged from Texas, and they all seem to carry a little home state pride with them wherever they go, which we are fortunate enough to have a piece of.”

Conductor John Jesensky

Don’t miss this amazingly musical and magical experience! Tickets for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in Concert are available now and can be purchased here. Available ticket prices currently start at $51.50.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Pottermore test places yours truly in Gryffindor as well.


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