She brings father's legacy to Gainesville
Published: Thursday, January 29, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 11:52 p.m.
Ta dum, ta dum . . .
A Mancini is bringing "The Pink Panther" to town this weekend, but there's no need to dust off Clouseau's trench coat, dodge Cato, or hunt a jewel thief.
On Saturday, singer Monica Mancini will bring the Henry Mancini Institute Alumni Orchestra to the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in a multi-media tribute to her father, the late composer Henry Mancini, whose work with movie music earned him four Oscars and sealed his status as an American icon.
While the orchestra will handle the famed instrumentals, Monica will add a smooth and very personal touch to her father's songs. The music will be supplemented with film and television clips, as well as rare, behind-the-scenes video footage.
Certain to make the playlist are "Moon River" (written with Johnny Mercer), "The Days of Wine and Roses," "Charade" and, of course, "The Pink Panther," perhaps Henry's most-recognized creation that followed the bumbling Inspector Clouseau through more than five films.
This year, Monica and the orchestra started touring with Henry's music on Jan. 9, celebrating a legacy that includes the Oscars, 20 Grammy Awards (out of 72 nominations) and a Golden Globe. In addition to his film and television work, he recorded 90 studio albums and was a much-in-demand conductor.
It's a career that still resonates today - 10 years after his death.
His music still echoes through current films, with "Moon River" weaving through 2001's "Ocean's Eleven" and a spicy rendition of "The Pink Panther" adding flash to last year's "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle."
And in April, the U.S. Postal Service will issue a commemorative Henry Mancini stamp marking the 10th anniversary of his death. This will be the second stamp honoring the composer; the first was issued in 2003.
"He really bridged the gap between the foreign classic style of music and a contemporary - and definitively American - style in entertainment," said Evans Haile, director of the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra and producer of Cape Cod's Cape Playhouse. "Hearing his music, you immediately identify with that movie or show because his songs so uniquely fit with them."
"We're bringing in truly one of America's great composers, Henry Mancini . . . through Monica," said Michael Blachly, director of University of Florida Performing Arts.
Film fans recall Henry's contributions to "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Victor/Victoria" and "The Glass Menagerie," while television audiences identify with "The Shadow Box," "Newhart," "The Thorn Birds" and even "Remington Steele."
Henry also carried a passion for helping young musicians. He established scholarships and fellowships for young talents at top schools around the country, from Juilliard School to University of California, Los Angeles to the American Federation of Music's Congress of Strings.
Family and friends kept the mission alive after his passing, with one by-product being the Alumni Orchestra now on tour with Monica. This is an elite group of about 80 musicians who studied at the The Henry Mancini Institute, founded in 1997 by Henry's long-time friend Jack Elliott.
Based in Santa Monica, Calif., the institute provides outreach, training and experience for top music students seeking careers in music. Elliott shared Henry's emphasis on versatility; young musicians of all backgrounds study jazz, improvisation, contemporary styles and film music in large and small ensembles.
But standing front and center Saturday will be Monica, Henry's only daughter.
The singer, who could not be reached for comment, has released a series of jazz/vocal records with her fourth due out next month. She also has worked with artists such as Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and Vikki Carr. The New York Times once described her as "the glamorous vocal equivalent to diamonds flashing."
Like her father, her work spills into the film industry. Her vocals have been featured on soundtracks for "Armageddon," "Edward Scissorhands," "City Slickers" and "Batman."
"Mancini at the Movies" is a 60-city tour that culminates at Carnegie Hall in March. Saturday's show starts at 7:30 p.m.
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