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John brings Hollywood glitz to the Phil.

LIVERPOOL has been John Wilson's second musical home for many years.

So it's a surprise to discover the Geordie conductor, pictured, has never brought his own orchestra to the city.

That omission is due to be rectified next month when the John Wilson Orchestra brings its swinging sound to Hope Street, presenting the programme that enthralled Proms audiences at the Royal Albert Hall this summer.

It was the orchestra's third annual Proms appearance and despite being founded in 1994 it's been the last two or three years where, fuelled by its profile at the world-famous festival, things have really taken off.

"It took us 20 years to become an overnight sensation," jests John, who received tens of thousands of emails and letters after their MGM concert in 2009.

"I got something in excess of 80,000, I can't remember the exact figures but it stopped you in your tracks.

"I just think we were giving a lot of people something they'd been starved of for a long time - good quality entertainment music, but taken really seriously."

It's Hooray for Hollywood at the Phil on December 3, a history - in two hours - of the film musical from 42nd Street and the era of Astaire, Rogers and Busby Berkeley, up to Hello Dolly in 1969, all performed by the 80-piece orchestra along with soloists including Hope Street regular Kim Criswell.

"So that's the show, in that gorgeous hall," says John, who was only in Liverpool a month ago to conduct the RLPO. He returns for December 30 screenings of The Wizard of Oz and New Year's Eve celebrations, plus a performance of Yeoman of the Guard in April.

And it turns out he's rather a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan.

"I love that music," he says. "I sometimes love that music more than anything else. It's just so inspired."

? The John Wilson Orchestra is at the Philharmonic Hall on December 3.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 18, 2011
Words:319
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