Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra pays Tribute to John Williams


Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra conductor, Lawrence Loh, recently joined Cindy Howes of the Morning Mix to talk about the music of John Williams. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is paying tribute to John Williams until the end of the week, structuring the show into three parts, starting with music of the Olympics, transitioning to scores made for Spielberg movies, and finishing strong with the scores from Harry Potter and Star Wars.

With word of a potential costumed character debut at the show, Loh gets on the topic of how John Williams often writes his music specifically with his characters in mind. He does this so that the audience can connect to each character emotionally, and whenever the music for the specific character starts playing, the audience can feel this sense of familiarity and connection.

“…So we can take Luke’s theme, and you can hear it as he is staring at the Twin Moons, sitting on Tatooine.  We have this ‘off-in-the-distance’ kind of theme, and then you hear it at the same time when Luke is going in at the Death Star in the trenches, it’s the same theme in a totally different way, so the audience can connect with that theme… and that’s one of the reasons that people have such a strong emotional connection to this music.”

John Williams and Stephen Spielberg have a special relationship when it comes to music and film collaboration. In the earlier days when Sugarland Express and Jaws were just being released, their huge success can be partly attributed to the way John Williams can write music to tell a story. From then on, Spielberg knew he could rely on Williams whenever a special storyline needed special enrichment. It got to a point where Williams’ music completely affected the way Spielberg wrote his films.

Loh finds some of John William’s most quintessential scores to be the introduction to Superman, the introduction to Star Wars, and the flying scene at the end of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. He claims he is going to have to fight off the urge to quote lines from the movies during the speeches between each song. For more information on the show and what Lawrence Loh is up to you can check out his information here.  

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