Music/Popular Culture

John Williams: the greatest composer of movie music

This evening I have the great privilege and joy of seeing and hearing John Williams conduct the Cleveland Orchestra again.

I saw him conduct for the first time in the early 1980s at Blossom Music Center, the outdoor home of the Orchestra in the summer.

I had student tickets, available to university students for about $15. They set up folding chairs at the front of the Pavilion, so you sat very close to the orchestra and had to look up at them for the whole concert. We sat way over on the right side. We were lucky to be seated before the concert started–we had to park in the first field, just off the main entrance to Blossom and had a mile and half walk to our seats. As luck would have it, I had decided to celebrate sitting in the Pavilion for the first time by wearing a dress and some low heels (little natural colored-leather Candies slides, to be exact). I had blisters by the time I got to me seat.

At that point, John Williams had composed the music for Jaws, Star Wars, Superman, and many other films. The concert was wonderful–the music very different from what I usually heard from the Orchestra. But I was so disappointed–the concert ended without the theme from Star Wars.

And then came the encore. The Orchestra hit the opening chord from Star Wars. Green and purple pin spots came down from the wooden ceiling of the stage. Green lasers shot out from the back wall and played over the heads of the thousands sitting on the bowl of the lawn. The audience went nuts.

There will be no wild lighting tonight–not in the hallowed auditorium of Severance Hall. I have no idea what will be on the program. I will be thrilled to be in the presence of the man who has so transformed modern movie music.

I leave you with my top 5:

Schindler’s List

Harry’s Wondrous World


Star Wars

Jurassic Park


Categories: Music/Popular Culture

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