Distinguished author Steven C. Smith and composer & conductor William Stromberg discuss the lineage that connects John Williams and the great composers of the Golden Age of Hollywood, including Bernard Herrmann and Max Steiner

John Williams is the film composer who, more than any other, was able to take the great tradition of the Golden Age of Hollywood's film music and revive it for modern audiences. Thanks to the impressive box office success of such films as Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Superman, the late 1970s saw a resurgence of the classic symphonic film score as intended by the great composers of the Golden Age: Max Steiner, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Alfred Newman, Dimitri Tiomkin, Miklós Rózsa, Franz Waxman, were the forefathers of what is commonly referred as "the Hollywood sound", i.e. the lush, romantic orchestral vernacular in vogue during the 1930s, '40s and '50s, mostly based on the great tradition of Late Romantic symphonic music from Europe, of which all the aforementioned composers were all natural descendants. This type of vibrant, colorful and emotional musical accompaniment defined Hollywood's film music until the dramatic turn of the tide known as the end of the studio era in the early 1960s. John Williams restored almost single-handedly that tradition with a sincere, heartfelt homage to those musical stylings and a new renaissance of film music began.

This is the starting point of this new episode of the Legacy Conversations series on The Legacy of John Williams podcast, featuring two very esteemed and distinguished special guests who are among the most respected authorities on the subject of classic film music: author Steven C. Smith and composer/conductor William T. Stromberg.

Steven is an Emmy-nominated documentary producer, author, and speaker who specializes in Hollywood history and profiles of contemporary filmmakers. He is the author of two acclaimed biographies: Music by Max Steiner: The Epic Life of Hollywood’s Most Influential Composer (Oxford University Press), and A Heart at Fire’s Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann (University of California Press).

William T. Stromberg is a respected composer and conductor working in the film music business since the late 1980s. Together with his artistic partner John W. Morgan, he produced an impressive amount of brand-new recordings of classic film scores from the Golden Age of Hollywood by Max Steiner, Bernard Herrmann, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Franz Waxman, Dimitri Tiomkin and other illustrious composers, including premiere complete recordings of such iconic scores as King Kong, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Fahrenheit 451, The Egyptian.

The profound expertise and knowledge of both Steven C. Smith and William Stromberg make them the ideal guests to talk about the lineage that connects John Williams to the great tradition of the Golden Age of Hollywood’s film music, especially to composers like Max Steiner and Bernard Herrmann.

For more information and the list of the musical excerpts featured in the episode, visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2021/06/10/steven-c-smith-william-stromberg-podcast

Legendary flutist talks her incredible career as a performing artist, the legacy of her own musical family, the phenomenal streak of work as a studio musician in Hollywood and her many collaborations with John Williams on such iconic scores as Hook, Jurassic Park, War Horse and many others.

Flutist Louise Di Tullio is one of the true icons among the generation of musicians performing in the Los Angeles area who came on the scene between the late 1950s and early 1960s. In an amazing career spanning almost six decades, Louise performed both as a world-class classical player and studio musician, often in the position of principal flute, for countless film scores, recording projects and live performances.

A native of Los Angeles, Louise Di Tullio comes from a family of very distinguished musicians who had incredible careers as classical players and studio musicians. Louise started to play flute at a very young age and soon began to take lessons to become a professional musician. Before reaching the age of 20, Louise joined the LA Philharmonic, playing piccolo in the flute section, following in the footsteps of her father and two uncles. After six years with the Philharmonic, she found success in all aspects of the recording world. Louise started to perform in Hollywood studio orchestras, mostly as a piccolo player, and was contracted regularly to play for big name film composers including Alfred Newman, Jerry Goldsmith, John Barry and of course John Williams

Louise’s first session with John Williams dates back in 1969 for the score for The Reivers. You can hear Louise’s playing, often performing both delicate and virtuosic piccolo parts, on such iconic scores as The Towering Inferno, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Fury, 1941 and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

In 1990, Louise inherited the first chair from Sheridon Stokes as principal flute for John Williams and from this moment onward her career as studio musician became the stuff of legend. As principal flute, Louise Di Tullio can be heard performing on many John Williams’ scores since 1990, including Home Alone 1 and 2, Hook, JFK, Far and Away, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Rosewood, Seven Years in Tibet, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, War of the Worlds, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Adventures of Tintin, War Horse, and The Book Thief.

Besides her work in countless John Williams’ scores, Louise Di Tullio served as principal flute for many other great film composers, including Jerry Goldsmith, John Barry, James Horner, Lalo Schifrin, Bill Conti, James Newton Howard, Bruce Broughton, Danny Elfman, among others. Over the course of her extraordinary career, Louise performed on more than 1,200 motion pictures and tv films including some of Hollywood's biggest hits of the last 50 years.

In this conversation, Louise reminisces for the first time since many years about the legacy of her extraordinary musical family, the first steps as a classical player, including performing under Igor Stravinsky. Louise talks extensively about her many years recording film scores with John Williams, from her first experiences playing piccolo on The Reivers and Jaws, to her playing as principal flute on scores like Hook, Jurassic Park and War Horse, recollecting many memories and sharing her point of view about the music and the art of Maestro John Williams.

Visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2021/05/28/louise-di-tullio-podcast/ for more informations and the list of the musical excerpts featured in the episode.

Los Angeles-based Italian composer Antonio Di Iorio has written the logo music for The Legacy of John Williams website and podcast show. From now on, the title theme will open the episodes of the podcast show and the future audio and video special features.

 

Antonio Di Iorio is a Los Angeles based award-winning composer for film, TV and concert hall. He graduated in Composition, Piano and Conducting in Italy and in Seattle. In 2014, he attended the coveted and highly selective ASCAP Film & TV Scoring Workshop with Richard Bellis in Hollywood. He has heavily worked alongside film composer Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL) as additional composer for 4 years, and his music can be massively heard in such movies as Godzilla Vs Kong, Sonic The Hedgehog, Terminator: Dark Fate, Mortal Engines, Alita: Battle Angel, Tomb Raider, The Dark Tower.

 

Visit Antonio Di Iorio official website: www.antoniodiiorio.com

The English-born conductor talks about the brand-new recording "Spotlight on John Williams", the debut album of the Swiss-based City Light Symphony Orchestra, a 2-CD collection of some of John Williams' film masterpieces

Spotlight on John Williams presents the City Light Symphony Orchestra conducted by English-born Maestro Kevin Griffiths in a 100-minute musical journey throughout some of John Williams’ movie masterworks, featuring such acclaimed soloists as Valentine Michaud, Reinhold Friedrich and Paul Meyer. The selections include 21 tracks, including music from many of the popular film franchises the composer is associated with the Star Wars saga is represented by a 4-movement suite from The Force Awakens and the Indiana Jones movies with the riveting “End Credits” suite from The Temple of Doom, while the Harry Potter wizarding world is featured with four selections from The Sorcerer’s Stone, The Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban. The stirring themes from such beloved film scores as Hook, Jurassic Park, Superman are also represented, but there is space for other Williams’ gems like “Viktor’s Tale” from The Terminal, the patriotic themes from JFK and Born on the Fourth of July, the jazzy 3-movement “Escapades” suite for alto saxophone from Catch Me If You Can, the lively opening credits from The Adventures of Tintin, and the stirring Americana of The Cowboys Overture.

The recording is a real showcase of the City Light Symphony Orchestra’s brilliancethe performance is tight and vigorous, the spectrum of sonorities they bring out is sparkling, full of colours and nuances, but always focused and sharp at the same time.

In this conversation, conductor Kevin Griffiths talks with The Legacy of John Williams about the challenges of recording the album, how the project was put together and how he worked with the City Light Symphony Orchestra to bring out all the marvelous nuances and details of John Williams’ music. He also talks about the differences of conducting live to picture vs. traditional symphonic setting, how the audience’s perception of film music has changed throughout the years, and what John Williams’ music meant for him since childhood, while also reflecting on the legacy of the Maestro.

Spotlight on John Williams is released on Prospero Classical

For more information, visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2021/04/09/kevin-griffiths-city-light-interview/

Acclaimed contemporary classical composer talks his career and his cinematic music for the concert hall, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night, his approach to composition and how much John Williams’ music touched him since childhood and inspired him to become a composer

Few contemporary classical composers have such a wide-ranging, colorful and personal style like Kevin Puts. Winner of the coveted Pulitzer Prize in 2012 for his debut opera Silent Night, he has become one of the leading American composers of his generation. Critically acclaimed for a richly colored, harmonic, and freshly melodic musical voice that has also been described as “emotional, compelling, and relevant,” his works, which include two operas, four symphonies, and several concertos, have been commissioned, performed, and recorded by leading orchestras, ensembles and soloists throughout the world.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Kevin Puts started to study piano during childhood. His love for music was ignited by the John Williams’ scores for such films as Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, which made a lasting effect on him and were among the main inspirations to pursue a career as a composer.

His love for movie music, and specifically John Williams, led him to a musical style characterized by a strong storytelling element. His compositions have been often described as “cinematic” and “film-like” by music critics and commentators, an observation that Puts always took as a compliment.

Puts’ catalogue is truly impressive and includes major orchestral, symphonic and operatic works and a great deal of chamber music as well. His Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night is probably his most important and successful work so far. It was premiered by Minnesota Opera in November 2011, and marked his debut in the genre of opera and vocal works. Describing his work, Puts said he was “going for a cinematic quality, commenting on the action and the emotions of a scene as it unfolds as a great film composer like John Williams might do it”.

In this conversation, Kevin talks about his career as a contemporary classical composer, his approach to composition as storytelling, and how much the music of John Williams inspired him since childhood, particulary the score of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

For more information and the list of musical excerpts featured in the episode, visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2021/03/22/legacy-conversations-kevin-puts/

Legendary trumpeteer talks his illustrious career as former Associate Principal Trumpet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra / Principal Trumpet of the Boston Pops and his subsequent life as studio musician in Los Angeles, including his many collaborations with John Williams as soloist on such scores as Born On The Fourth of July, JFK, Nixon and Saving Private Ryan

Hosted by Maurizio Caschetto and Tim Burden

Trumpet legend Tim Morrison has defined probably more than any other soloists one of the key signature styles of John Williams, enhancing the American spirit in many of the composer's brilliant pieces for film and the concert hall through his singing, lyrical trumpet sound and purity of tone. Tim Morrison has been the voice of Ron Kovic's struggle in Born on the Fourth of July and the reminiscence of President Kennedy's core American values in JFK; he underlined John Quincy Adams' noble speeches in Amistad, and accompanied with somber, plaintive tones the drama of World War II American soldiers in Saving Private Ryan. Whenever John Williams needed that signature American sound in some of his film scores, he often chose Tim Morrison to be the interpreter of choice. Also, as Principal Trumpet of the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1987 to 1997, he has often being the soloist of choice in many concerts and recordings with Williams on the podium.

In this wide, in-depth conversation, Tim Morrison talks about his brilliant career and musical life, from his studies and early days as performer to his arrival in Boston, his many collaborations with John Williams as soloist on Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Nixon and Saving Private Ryan, but also the many brilliant Boston Pops recordings he performed in, including the iconic Summon the Heroes solo. He also reflects on Williams' comment about his "American sound", his life as studio musician in L.A., and his solo recording album After Hours.

What happens when you discover and start to love music when you're still a little kid and share this passion with one of your siblings? This is the starting point of this in-depth discussion between two pairs of brothers with many things in common, specifically the love for the music of John Williams. One of the missions of this website is to celebrate and discuss the huge influence of the Maestro among at least two generations of people who literally grew up and became adults while listening to his music, and how it helped shape lives and even careers of millions of people around the world.

Brothers Will Brueggemann and Marty Brueggemann are two of the most admired podcasters among the niche of film music aficionados on the internet. Their show, UnderScore: A Podcast of Music and Story, offers insightful musical analysis of major film scores including works by John Williams. In this episode, titled "Growing Up With John Williams", editor Maurizio Caschetto and contributor/illustrator Gianmaria Caschetto sit down with Will and Marty to discuss what it means to grow up listening to the music of Maestro Williams. Both pairs of brothers were raised in similar contexts and started to fall in love with Williams' music for such films as Superman, E.T. and Star Wars since childhood (as happened to millions of fans and admirers of the Maestro around the globe). The discussion goes on to talk about Williams' unrivaled compostional prowess, his daring harmonic choices and his uncanny ability to craft the perfect melody for the film. More thoughts are also offered about what makes John Williams' music so exciting for kids and young people.

Legendary harpist talks her distinguished career as former Principal Harp for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops, including the many collaborations with John Williams and the premiere of the Harp Concerto On Willows and Birches, composed for her by the Maestro in 2009

Ann Hobson Pilot is one of the most talented women in the classical music who ever performed in United States and also a distinguished international soloist, teacher, mentor and moving force behind music educational programs for underserved minorities. She has been Principal Harp for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops for almost 30 years, from 1980 until his retirement in 2009. She joined the BSO in 1969 as Associate Principal Harp after stints in the Pittsburgh Symphony and Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra where he performed as Principal Harp for 3 years (1966-69). Ann has the distinguished credit of being the very first African-American woman to land a Principal role in an American orchestra, building herself a career through her talent and unique sensibility back in a time where the classical music scene was still a predominant white male-driven environment.

Ann Hobson Pilot started to perform for John Williams in 1980, when the Maestro accepted the post as Principal Conductor of the Boston Pops. After many years performing under former Pops’ music director Arthur Fiedler (who died in 1979), Ann immediately got in perfect harmony with Williams’ musicianship (“he brought a breath of fresh air”, she said) and his own fabulous music. She was frequently featured as soloist in concerts and recordings with the Boston Pops often performing many of the Maestro’s exquisite passages for harp, including music from Schindler’s List, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Harry Potter and Angela’s Ashes, all of which feature extensive writing for harp. Ann was also principal harp on the original soundtrack recording of Schindler’s List, where he performs in duet with violinist Itzhak Perlman.

When Pilot announced her retirement as BSO’s Principal Harp, Williams set to write a Concerto for Harp specifically for her, titled On Willows and Birches. The composer wrote the concerto during the spring and summer of 2009, and the piece was premiered on September 23, 2009, as part of the Opening Night of BSO’s annual subscription season.

In addition to her career as musician, Ann Hobson Pilot spent a lifetime devoted to teaching and mentoring young students in distinguished music schools and conservatories (including the New England Conservatory of Music and Boston University) and appearing in masterclasses and seminars at the Tanglewood Music Institute. She’s currently affiliated with the State College of Florida, in addition to the Tanglewood Music Center and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. 

In this conversation, Ann talks about her incredible life and career as classical musician, her challenges and obstacles of being an African-American woman playing in an environment predominantly white and male-driven and her many collaborations with John Williams, including the thrill and the honour of having a concerto written for her by the Maestro. She also talks about the recording of the film score for Schindler’s List and many other favourite memories of working together with John Williams for almost 30 years.

For more information, visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2021/02/22/ann-hobson-pilot-podcast/

Legendary flutist talks his distinguished career as studio musician in Hollywood, from his early days performing under Alfred Newman at 20th Century Fox to his many collaborations with John Williams as first chair flute, including his solos in such scores as Jaws, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and The Witches of Eastwick, as well as the premiere of the Flute Concerto

 

Flutist Sheridon Stokes is one of the true all-time greats among Hollywood studio musicians. In a career spanning six decades, Sheridon Stokes became one of the most heard flute artists in the world mostly thanks to his impressive career in the film and television industry in Los Angeles. He has performed as principal flute on dozens of classic film scores including many by John Williams. For the Maestro, he performed solos on Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and The Witches of Eastwick. It’s his beautiful, crystalline tone that accompanies some of the most iconic scenes in those films. But, as you’ll hear in the episode, Sheridon and John Williams met long before the Maestro would become the most famous and celebrated film composer in history.

 

In this conversation, Sheridon talks about his illustrious life and career as one of the most venerable studio musicians in Hollywood, from his early days performing in the 20th Century Fox Orchestra under Alfred Newman to his meeting with a young John Williams in 1957. He talks at length about his first works with Williams in the early 1970s and the world concert premiere of the composer’s Flute Concerto with the UCLA orchestra in 1973. He also reminisces his flute solos on Jaws, E.T. and The Witches of Eastwick, and the work with composer Lalo Schifrin, offering his own unique insight into the great history of Hollywood’s film music.

 

For more information, visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2021/01/18/sheridon-stokes-podcast/

Legendary saxophonist and woodwind specialist talks his career as studio musician in Los Angeles, from his early days as session player to his collaborations with Maestro John Williams, including the stunning alto saxophone solos he performed on the score for Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film Catch Me If You Can

Saxophonist and woodwind specialist Dan Higgins is unquestionably one of the most talented session musicians on the planet and also highly respected among his peers. His stunning skills both as saxophonist and woodwind player on several instruments (including clarinet and flute) have been appreciated by a wide variety of composers and musicians with whom Higgins collaborated throughout his amazing career. He has performed in the woodwind section on several John Williams' film scores since the mid-1990s, but he's first and foremost remembered for the stunning alto saxophone solos he recorded on the brilliant score Maestro Williams composed in 2002 for the film Catch Me If You Can, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hanks.

Born in Boston, MA, in 1955, Dan Higgins first distinguished himself as an outstanding saxophonist while attending University of North Texas. After moving to Los Angeles, Dan started to work as a freelance studio musician, mostly on record dates, but also on many recordings for television shows, including playing on live shows and specials, following the footsteps of other great saxophone players like Gene Cipriano, Ronnie Lang and Plas Johnson.

His career as studio musician for the film and television industry is impressive: he has worked on 700+ motion picture scores and is a featured saxophone soloist on many great films with such notable composers as John Williams, Alan Silvestri, Marc Shaiman, Randy Newman, David Newman and Alexandre Desplat among others.

Dan Higgins has worked extensively with John Williams for more than 25 years. His first collaboration was playing alto saxophone on a few “period music” source pieces that Williams arranged as part of the musical score for Schindler’s List (1993). However, the big breakthrough came in 2002, when the Maestro called upon Dan’s talents as soloist on alto saxophone for the score to Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can. The film was a box office hit and the score garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score. The success pushed Williams to prepare a three-movement concert suite based on the main thematic material from the score called Escapades for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra. Higgins premiered the concert suite with the Maestro on the podium conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra in May 2003 and subsequently appeared as guest soloist to perform the piece with notable orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

In this conversation, Dan talks about his amazing career as studio musicians in Los Angeles, his early days as jazz musician, how he picked up the legacy from legendary studio saxophonists like Gene Cipriano and Ronnie Lang and also how he learned discipline from them. Dan talks extensively about the projects he did with John Williams, with a special focus on his soloist work on Catch Me If You Can, remembering the recording sessions for that film and offering his own unique insight into the creative process of Maestro Williams. Dan also recollects the work on The Adventures of Tintin and the unique instructions John Williams gave him before recording the zany “Canto Bight” jazz piece for The Last Jedi.

For more information and the list of the musical excerpts, visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2021/01/08/dan-higgins-podcast/

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