LA Philharmonic Kicks Off Season with ‘A John Williams Celebration’ at Walt Disney Hall, 9/30

The Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, kicks off its 2014/15 season in grand fashion with a celebration of the greatest film composer of all time at the Opening Night Concert & Gala: A John Williams Celebration, Tuesday, September 30, 7 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The all-Williams concert program is highlighted by an appearance from legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman joining the orchestra to perform works including music from Schindler’s List.

The program features several elaborate video installations created by projection designer Netia Jones and critically acclaimed creative studio, LIGHTMAP. Jones is producing new video content for the performance of Williams’ Soundings, first performed at the 2003 opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall. For the show’s thrilling conclusion, Jones is designing a unique video installation featuring concept art from the Lucasfilm archive, to accompany the orchestra’s performance of the iconic Throne Room and Finale from Star Wars.

‘Tanglewood on Parade’ Concert Review and Photos

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From his most recent Oscar-nominated score for the film adaptation of “The Book Thief,” John Williams led the Pops in a haunting, lyrical theme depicting how Liesel, a young girl living with foster parents in Germany during the Holocaust, “borrowed” books to share with a Jewish refugee being sheltered by the family. The eight-minute segment represents the composer at his non-blockbuster best.

Williams at ‘Behind the Score: The Art of Film Composer’ (Videos)

UPDATE: Report from The Film Music Society

On July 21, John Williams, Gustavo Dudamel and Gustavo Santaolalla gathered at Los Angeles’s Bing Theater for the Academy event “Behind the Score: The Art of the Film Composer,” where the trio discussed topics such as musical moments in film that have inspired their work, the process of creating a film score, and the director-composer collaboration. Three of Williams’ moments are now available on YouTube:

John Williams on the Power of Film Music

John Williams, ‘Greatest Film Composer of All Time’ According to Recent Poll

From Consequence of Sound:

Ladies and gentlemen, we can finally answer, “Who’s the Greatest Film Composer of All Time”? It’s John Williams. Yes, the No. 1 choice for Steven Spielberg and George Lucas is apparently also our readers’ top pick. Surprisingly, the 82-year-old composer came out on top after a hard, hard round that involved both Ennio Morricone and Philip Glass. Our hats are off to you. – Full article

Composer Ken Thorne Passes Away

English composer Ken Thorne, who wrote the scores for Superman II and Superman III using John Williams’ original material as well as his own compositions, died on July 9 at age 90. Thorne previously worked with Richard Lester on The Beatles film Help! and Stephen Sondheim’s musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He also wrote the original score for the Pink Panther sequel Inspector Clouseau. His work on the Superman sequels was released in 2008 as part of Superman: The Music, a 8-CD box set containing the complete original scores from Superman to IV.

RIP Ken Thorne (FSM Board)

‘Montage’ CD Project including Williams’ ‘Conversations’ – Facebook Page

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The official page for Gloria Cheng’s CD and film project featuring John Williams’ “Conversations” for piano solo is now available on Facebook. The album, which will be released on February 10, 2015, will also include new piano works by Bruce Broughton, Don Davis, Michael Giacchino, Randy Newman and Alexandre Desplat. A documentary film on the project will be made available on YouTube shortly prior to the CD release.

Montage: Great Film Composers and the Piano – CD & Film (Be sure to ‘like’ the page for the latest updates)

See also:
- Gloria Cheng Starts Project to Fund the Release of Williams’ Conversations’
- John Williams’ ‘Conversations’ Premiered (Reviews & Program Notes)

Williams Conducts New Version of ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ (Video)

On July 4th, John Williams conducted a new arrangement for orchestra and chorus of “The Star Spangled Banner” to mark its 200th anniversary, as part of the “A Capitol Fourth” Independence Day celebration concert.

Williams lead the National Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the Joint Armed Forces Chorus and the Choral Arts Society of Washington in performing the new arrangement.

The video includes Williams’ introduction and the beginning of his “Liberty Fanfare”, which he conducted right after the National Anthem.

UPDATE: Higher quality version now available