In the summer of 2014, attendees of G-FEST (the annual convention that celebrates Godzilla, Gamera, and all things tokusatsu) were treated to something special: a spectacular concert of the music of Godzilla composer Akira Ifukube. Funded by fans and performed by professional musicians, Ifukube 100: A Legacy of Monster Music proved an overwhelming success and was followed the next year by Symphonic Fury: The Music of Japanese Monsters, another sensational musical event made possible through the generous donations of kaiju enthusiasts.
And now, the people behind Ifukube 100 and Symphonic Fury are seeking donations for something unprecedented: a stateside concert featuring the kaiju music of Michiru Oshima. The composer of Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000), Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla (2002), and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003), Oshima wrote some of the most popular music in the Godzilla franchise — her foreboding, drum-heavy theme for the King of the Monsters in particular is a standout piece.
They launched a Kickstarter campaign in March, featuring a professionally crafted video in which Oshima and John DeSentis (conductor of Ifukube 100 and Symphonic Fury) explained the vision for their concert, called Kaiju Crescendo: An Evening of Japanese Monster Music.
Fans can donate as much as they wish; donations of $10 or more will be rewarded with some wonderful perks (details on the concert's Kickstarter). If the campaign reaches its goal of $35,000 by April 19, Kaiju Crescendo will be performed in Rosemont, Illinois, sometime during the weekend of July 12-14, 2019, during G-FEST 2019.
To gain some insight into what contributors and regular G-FEST attendees will have in store this summer if the concert becomes a reality, we sat down for a conversation with conductor John DeSentis.
Michiru Oshima's music is among the most popular in the Godzilla franchise. How did you come to know Miss Oshima, and whose idea was it to do a concert at G-FEST featuring her music?
Having done the first two concerts, I was looking for the next logical step and decided to take a shot and contact Miss Oshima to see if there would be any interest on her end. Which thankfully there was. She then came to G-FEST as a regular guest in 2017 and she had a wonderful time. It just felt like this was the time to finally try and get it going.
Give us an idea of what the concert will be like. Where in Rosemont will it be held? How many musicians will be performing? Will Miss Oshima be in attendance?
The concert will be held at the North Shore Center for The Performing Arts in Skokie which is not far from the hotel in Rosemont. It is actually only six miles from the previous venue, the Pickwick Theater. The orchestra will be about 65-70 musicians. Each year I have tried to add more. Miss Oshima will not only be in attendance, but she is also going to conduct her set of music! That is a true rarity to be able to see a Japanese Godzilla music composer conduct their own music live!
If this concert becomes a reality, will there be music by Godzilla composers besides Miss Oshima? If so, can you reveal any names and/or specific film scores?
Of course! We will be doing work by Akira Ifukube, naturally. We will be showcasing his score from the 1956 film Rodan as well as The Mysterians from 1957. Then there will be the oft-requested scores Son of Godzilla (1967) and Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla (1974) by Masaru Sato. I have a couple of planned surprises as well!
Since Miss Oshima is a professional composer, will there be any original music performed?
Yes! Miss Oshima is actually writing a brand new piece specifically for this concert performance! And once the performance is done, the conductor's score will be disassembled and the signed pages will be part of the "Concert Producer" Kickstarter reward tier.
Will there be a CD/digital release of the concert – in case someone wants to contribute some money but cannot be there to attend in person?
Absolutely. A fully licensed CD will be produced and is available at the current $50 reward tier on Kickstarter.
For more details, check out Oshima and DeSentis' video on their Kickstarter campaign.