Family Fun with Dan Brown’s Wild Symphony!

On Saturday, April 2, bestselling author Dan Brown and The Music Hall’s resident orchestra, the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra (PSO), will join forces to present Brown’s first-ever children’s book, Wild Symphony. PSO’s musical director John Page connected with Dan Brown for this exclusive interview ahead of the benefit event. Join us after the show for a complimentary glass of sparkling wine – or sparkling apple cider – and a cookie. You will also be able to purchase a signed copy of Wild Symphony and kids can get a photo with Dan Brown! 

John Page: April 2nd is right around the corner! What can people expect to see on stage from the performance? 
Dan Brown: Animals, music, playful poetry, and colorful illustrations—plenty of fun awaits! The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra will perform the music of Wild Symphony—a series of short pieces that each depict a different animal—and I will read the accompanying poems with them on stage. I hope to see this show as a way to share my own love of music and reading, and also help ignite the imaginations of children in the audience. 

JP: What inspired you to write this story, and use animals and music? How was this process different from your other books? 
DB: I was inspired after walking by a marsh one day and hearing a chorus of different kinds of frogs singing together. It sounded to me like a classical fugue in nature, so when I got home, I composed a little musical piece and poem and called it Happy Frogs. Twenty animals later, Wild Symphony was born.

The creative process was vastly different from that of writing my novels because it involved a combination of music, poetry, and illustrations. The project has been great fun to create, as well as being a brand new format for my readers. I composed and wrote twenty-one poems and accompanying musical pieces, and then, Wild Symphony producer Bob Lord and his talented team at PARMA Recordings gave it their magic touch.  

JP: As this is an original score, tell us about the process of writing it. Did you collaborate or work with anyone on the music?
DB: Most of the pieces originated on the piano as basic melodies and themes. Afterward, I used computer sequencers to get a sense of how the pieces would sound using instruments other than a piano. Then Bob Lord of PARMA and his team, including orchestrator Karl Blench, worked with the music to better fit it into a full orchestra. Having never orchestrated my own music for symphony, I deeply valued Bob and Karl’s keen ears and expertise.

JP: Tell us a bit more about the benefit aspect to this performance and why you are supporting The Music Hall and Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra? 
DB: The pandemic has impacted not only arts and culture but also education. The chance to share Wild Symphony here in my own community feels like a wonderful opportunity to get back to the wonderful joy of art, culture, and learning. I have close ties to The Music Hall and count myself very lucky to live in a town that attracts such world-class entertainment. And of course, the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra is a fantastic organization, and I’m very excited to hear them play Wild Symphony.

JP: How has the reception (glowing by all accounts) of this new project been for you?
DB: I’ve been thrilled and humbled by the love Wild Symphony has received over the last year it’s been out, having been performed all over the world and translated into dozens of languages. In a time when so many of us have felt disconnected from the world, I believe the chance to reconnect as a family and experience music and art together is an exciting prospect for many people. I know it is for me, and I’m looking forward to experiencing live music together again with you, the PSO, and all of our friends at The Music Hall! 


Join us at 2pm on April 2 for this special benefit concert with Dan Brown and the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, celebrating the hometown performance of Wild Symphony!