CSO: Ghostbusters: 35th Anniversary

Film with Orchestra

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Peter M Bernstein, conductor

Sunday, July 21, 2019
4:30 PM
Donor Gates Open
5:00 PM
Public Gates Open
8:00 PM
Concert Starts

Tickets: $90 / $35
Lawn: $25

Note: Ravinia allows popcorn, theater candy, and Pavilion drink cups into the Pavilion for all four movie nights.


E. Bernstein:      Score to Ghostbusters

Program Notes

  • Elmer Bernstein may not have written the memorable “who ya gonna call” title music for Ghostbusters as part of his orchestral score for the film, but his name is indelibly linked with some of the greatest music to ever come out of Hollywood. On the American Film Institute’s “100 Years of Film Scores” (2005) list of the top 25 original film scores, Bernstein holds two slots—behind only John Williams (three) and even with Bernard Herrmann, Max Steiner, and Jerry Goldsmith. Eleven of his scores were nominated to the list, and ultimately The Magnificent Seven was ranked as number 8 and To Kill a Mockingbird was ranked 17. His nominated scores included The Great Escape, Hawaii, and The Ten Commandments.
  • Born four years apart, Elmer and Leonard Bernstein saw their careers in composition—both studied with Aaron Copland—and conducting flourish around the same time. To tell them apart, Elmer was sometimes called “Bernstein West” and Leonard “Bernstein East,” since Elmer primarily worked in Hollywood and Leonard variously in New York, Washington DC, and in Europe.


  • Elmer Bernstein received eight of his 14 total Oscar nominations before winning for the musical comedy Thoroughly Modern Millie in 1967. Though that professional recognition became more sporadic after that, he achieved a popular renaissance beginning in the late ’70s when director John Landis requested a score from Bernstein for his seminal comedy National Lampoon’s Animal House. They would continue to team up for more than a decade, including for The Blues Brothers and An American Werewolf in London, and Bernstein found a new creative outlet in film comedies such as Airplane!, Meatballs, Stripes, and Ghostbusters.
  • Ghostbusters was the highest-grossing comedy of all time until 1990’s Home Alone, which was filmed partly in nearby Winnetka, IL.
  • Having only recently established herself in Hollywood with dramatic starring roles in Alien and The Year of Living Dangerously, Sigourney Weaver showed her breadth by turning to comedy in Ghostbusters, where it was at her suggestion that her character, Dana Barrett, be a concert cellist instead of a model.
  • Dan Aykroyd had begun writing Ghostbusters with John Belushi in mind to play Peter Venkman, but his sudden death in 1982 led to Bill Murray—who had landed his first starring role in 1979’s Meatballs—being cast in the role. Belushi’s spirit lived on in the film, practically literally, as Slimer, with its body being modeled after the late actor and its gluttonous eating based on Belushi’s cafeteria scene in Animal House.
  • Peter M. Bernstein is the son of Elmer Bernstein, and the duo frequently collaborated on film projects, including Ghostbusters, on which Peter assisted with orchestration. In adapting the score to be played by an orchestra live with the film, Peter had to revisit parts of the orchestration to be more practical in a concert setting, including finding modern equivalents for synthesizers and the enigmatic ondes Martenot—a difficult instrument to find a player for even in 1984, being akin to a theremin with a keyboard. He also reintroduced a few musical cues that were omitted from the original soundtrack.

Park Details

Ravinia will be spook, specter and ghost free thanks to the Windy City Ghostbusters! Find them around the park before the show! Fully equipped with movie-accurate costumes, props and Ectomobile—these Ghostbusters are here to save Ravinia!


Join us for a pre-concert discussion with Dean Richards, entertainment critic for WGN TV morning news and 720AM WGN radio


Heartland Animal Shelter will have a pet adoption day at Ravinia before the screening of Ghostbusters. The shelter staff and several dogs looking for loving forever homes will be at Ravinia’s main entrance, outside the Tyler Gate, between 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., before the performance begins at 8:00 p.m.


Concert Information

Complete film shown on Pavilion and lawn video screens


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