Legendary French Horn player talks his distinguished career as studio musician in Hollywood and his many collaborations with John Williams as Principal Horn since 1989, including such film scores as Always, JFK, Jurassic Park, Sleepers, and The Patriot

Hosted by Maurizio Caschetto and Tim Burden

Among the many studio musicians who performed in John Williams’s scores, French Horn legend James Thatcher certainly occupies a very special place. The esteemed hornist has performed in many scores composed by the Maestro and has been his first-choice principal horn from 1989 until 2013. James Thatcher performed in many scores by John Williams, including such popular films as Jurassic Park and Home Alone, but also as featured soloist in Always, JFK, Sleepers, Amistad, Rosewood and The Patriot.

James Thatcher is one of the most prolific and revered studio musicians who ever worked for the film recording industry, but also an accomplished and respected classical player, certainly one of the world’s premier French horn players. He had the distinguished honour to have been one of the longest first-chair musicians serving for John Williams and performed in virtually all of his scores recorded in L.A. until 2013.

Jim has also been James Horner's first-choice principal horn for thirty years, playing in such film scores as Field of Dreams, Glory, The Rocketeer, Titanic, Deep Impact and many others.

Jim Thatcher has also worked with an extraordinary list of composers that include Jerry Goldsmith, James Newton Howard, Alan Menken, Randy Newman, John Barry, Maurice Jarre and Alan Silvestri. Jim’s performances can be heard on such films as Out of Africa, Dances with Wolves, The Fugitive, Pretty Woman, Back to the Future, Frozen, Total Recall, Glory, Independence Day, Monsters, Inc., Beauty and the Beast, Ice Age, The Polar Express, Toy Story, Cars, Forrest Gump, Night at the Museum, King Kong, and the list goes on and on. He has the impressive record of performing in more than 3,500 film and television scores during his career. In addition to film and television scores, Jim played in many studio recordings and his solo horn work also includes Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Kenny Rogers, Dave Grusin, Harry Connick Jr. and Mel Torme.

In this long, engaging conversation, Jim talks about his life and career as studio musician in Hollywood, his friendship with the great Vince DeRosa, and his many projects with John Williams, including his solo work in films like Always, JFK, Jurassic Park and The Patriot. Jim talks extensively about the challenges and the thrills of being the principal horn for John Williams for many years, but also offers his insightful thoughts about the music itself, the history of the instrument in film, offering memories from his collaborations with James Horner and Jerry Goldsmith. He also talks about his work as a classical musician and his life as a teacher.

 

Visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2020/10/23/james-thatcher-podcast for more information and to listen to a special tribute montage dedicated to Jim Thatcher

Exclusive video podcast with soundtrack record producer Mike Matessino discussing his restoration work on John Williams's thrilling score for the sci-fi classic directed by Steven Spielberg in 2005

Hosted by Maurizio Caschetto and Tim Burden

Steven Spielberg's big-budget adaptation of the sci-fi classic novel by H.G. Wells War of the Worlds marked the 22nd collaboration between the esteemed director and composer John Williams. The film turned out to be a very unique and perhaps even personal project for the director, who took the opportunity to craft a grim moral tale disguised as an action-packed sci-fi drama.

The movie presented a unique challenge for composer John Williams. The music accompanies the drama with his usual skillfull dramatic sensibility, giving the film's action sequences its necessary propulsive energy, but at the same time avoiding any kind of leeway to conventional scoring. Instead the music enhances the dark, grim tone of the film through violent Herrmann-esque orchestral colors (12 horns, 2 tubas, 5 trombones, 2 sets of timpani playing antiphonally), unstable harmonic language and an overall tone of fragilty and uncertainty. 

The new remastered edition released by soundtrack specialty label Intrada Records has been meticolously restored and produced by Mike Matessino, who worked from the original audio elements to rebuild from scratch the mixes and all the performance edits. The new release is spreaded on two CDs--Disc 1 presents the complete 80-minutes film score with all the cues in chronological order as they appear in the film (including unreleased and extended material), while Disc 2 offers the remastered original soundtrack album, plus a slew of alternate cues that reveal Williams' meticolous creative process for the film.

In this conversation with The Legacy of John Williams, Mike Matessino offers his deep thoughts about how this new release of War of the Worlds came about, how the perception on the film and some of its most controversial aspects changed throughout the years and became even more relevant in today's world, the role of the music within the film and how the new edition was meticolously assembled and produced.

Special Thanks to Mike Matessino and Tim Burden, and to Douglass Fake and Roger Feigelson at Intrada Records

War of the Worlds - Expanded and Remastered 2-CD Edition available for purchase at http://store.intrada.com/s.nl?it=A&id=12263

Visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com for more information

Legendary pianist and keyboardist recollects his impressive career as a studio musician performing in thousands of Hollywood film scores and his many collaborations with John Williams from 1969 until 2001, including his unforgettable playing on Jaws and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Very few musicians can compare to the versatile and incredibly prolific career of Ralph Grierson. A legend among studio musicians, Grierson has graced a great number of performances and recordings (including thousands of film soundtracks) thanks to his talent on a wide variety of keyboard instruments, from traditional piano and harpsichord to the most advanced synthesizers, playing across genres and styles including classical music, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, contemporary and avant-garde.

Born near Vancouver, Canada, Grierson began studying music since a very young age. In 1968 he settled in Los Angeles, establishing parallel careers as a studio musician for TV and film (playing all the electronic keyboard instruments and also piano, organ, and harpsichord) and as an interpreter of contemporary music. With Michael Tilson Thomas he made the first recording of Stravinsky's own four-hand piano reduction of The Rite of Spring

Grierson also appeared on a handful of Grammy-nominated albums: Palm Leaf Rag, and the follow-up album, Magnetic Rag, both with the Southland Stingers (a group formed by some of the finest Hollywood studio musicians conducted by) and both containing music by Scott Joplin; and ‘S Wonderful, a collection of George Gershwin’s tunes for piano duet performed together with Artie Kane (a legendary studio musician himself who often performed for John Williams).

He first worked with John Williams on The Reivers (1969), a score that would then became the Maestro’s first Academy Award nomination as Best Original Score—and the work that would pick the attention of a then-very young up-and-coming director named Steven Spielberg. From that moment, Grierson worked on almost every John Williams score recorded in Los Angeles until 2001, a total number of 46 scores. He can be heard playing in iconic scores such as Jaws and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial—he’s the pianist on the unforgettable piano solo heard in the film’s end credits.

rierson performed piano, synthesizer and keyboards in many other classic scores by the Maestro including The Cowboys, The Towering Inferno, Family Plot, 1941, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Witches of Eastwick, The Accidental Tourist, Always, Stanley and Iris, Home Alone, just to name a few (often performing in a keyboard section that included other legendary talents such as Artie Kane, Mike Lang, Clare Fischer, Chet Swiatkowski and Ian Underwood).

Over the course of his 30+ years career as studio musician, Grierson performed on literally thousands of film and television scores, playing for every top Hollywood film composers and includes some of cinema’s biggest hits such as E.T., Titanic, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, The Matrix. Ralph also appeared as the piano soloist (both on screen and on the soundtrack recording) in the segment of "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin in Disney’s Fantasia 2000

n this wide-ranging, in-depth candid conversation, Ralph talks about his incredible life and career as studio musician in Hollywood and his collaborations with John Williams on many film scores as pianist and keyboardist, recalling his work on Jaws and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Ralph also recalls some of his other career’s highlights, including his work with the late James Horner and his soloist work for Disney’s Fantasia 2000. He also opens up about the career-altering injury he faced in 2002 and how his life changed since then. 

For more information and the list of musical excerpts featured in the episode visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2020/08/26/ralph-grierson-podcast/

Legendary flutist discusses his life as a studio musician recording hundreds of film and television scores over 30+ years, including his many collaborations with John Williams in scores such as The River, Jurassic Park and Memoirs of a Geisha

Jim Walker is one of the most talented and celebrated flutist of our times. From classical to jazz to television and film to the concert hall, Walker has brilliantly showcased his incredible musicianship for 50+ years.

In his incredibly prolific career as a studio musician, Jim Walker has performed in hundreds of film and television scores. His first major prominent part was assigned to him by John Williams in 1984—the composer picked Walker as soloist for the Academy Award-nominated score of The River, directed by Mark Rydell and starring Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek. Since then, he's been part of the flute section in virtually all of John Williams’s recordings in Los Angeles until 2008, including some of Williams’s biggest hits such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Home Alone, Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List. Walker can also also be heard as soloist/1st flute in scores such as Amistad, The Patriot, Catch Me If You Can and Memoirs of a Geisha.

His versatility and incredible dexterity was appreciated by some of Hollywood’s top film composers including Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Elmer Bernstein, Randy Newman, Danny Elfman, Alan Silvestri, and his playing can be heard in box office hits such as Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, Titanic, Finding Nemo, but also beloved classics like Awakenings, Edward Scissorhands, Cocoon.

In this in-depth conversation, Jim talks about his musical life, from his upbringing in Kentucky to his arrival in Los Angeles as the Principal Flute of the LA Phil and his work as a studio musician for films and television scores. He talks extensively about his many collaborations with John Williams, including his soloist work on The River and Memoirs of a Geisha, but also the very challenging parts he had to perform in scores such as Hook and Jurassic Park, offering his own detailed look on Williams’s music as seen from the performer’s unique point of view.

For more information and the full list of musical excerpts featured in the episode, visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2020/08/07/jim-walker-podcast

Talented Los Angeles-based cellist talks on her career as studio musician in Hollywood, her friendship with Yo-Yo Ma and her experiences playing for John Williams on many film soundtracks and recordings

Among the studio musicians who are regular members for John Williams's recordings in Los Angeles in the more recent years, cellist Cécilia Tsan is certainly one of the most luminous and talented of that pool. Born in Versailles (France) from Chinese musician parents, Cécilia started to be immersed in music since a very young age, and began playing at the age of five with the same teacher as her childhood friend Yo-Yo Ma, who continues to be a dear friend and a source of inspiration for her.

After graduating in Paris and attending perfecting classes in Italy, Cécilia started to perform regularly across Europe in classical concerts and recitals. In 1991, she moved to Los Angeles and started to work as a freelance musician. In 2001, she began performing as a studio musician for film recordings.

Cécilia has performed in virtually all of John Williams's scores recorded in Los Angeles during the last two decades, including Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal, Memoirs of a Geisha, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Adventures of Tintin, War Horse and the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Cécilia was also part of the orchestra hand-picked by Williams which recorded the album Across the Stars, the collaboration between the composer and internationally acclaimed violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter

Besides her intense activity as studio musician, Cécilia continues to devote a lot of time to classical music, playing both as soloist in symphonic repertoire (performing cello standards by Elgar, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky and Haydn) and chamber concerts. In 2018, she was invited by Van Cliburn Gold Medal winner Italian pianist Simone Pedroni to perform at the Alagna Music Festival, where they played together the three pieces from Memoirs of a Geisha and the Elegy for cello and piano by John Williams. 

In this conversation, Cécilia Tsan talks with The Legacy of John Williams about her musical career, the incredible story of her family, her friendship with Yo-Yo Ma and her many experiences recording with John Williams as part of his orchestra.

For more information and the full list of music excerpts featured in the episode, visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2020/07/28/cecilia-tsan-podcast/

World-renowned violinist, former concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, discusses his career as studio musician in film recordings in L.A. and his collaborations with John Williams

Hosted by Maurizio Caschetto

L.A. Studio Legends is a new series of podcast talks on The Legacy of John Williams dedicated to legendary orchestra musicians from the Los Angeles area who performed in hundreds of film soundtrack recordings, including many by composer John Williams. These artists are not only responsible for playing in some of the most iconic movie scores in the history of cinema: they’re some of the truly finest and talented orchestra players of the 20th and 21st century. The first guest of this new series is certainly a musician who can be defined in a class of himself, who also enjoyed a global recognition throughout his distinguished career: world-renowned violinist Glenn Dicterow.

Glenn Dicterow has established himself as one of the most prominent American concert artist of his generation and lived through a varied and storied career through more than four decades. He has been the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic for 34 years (from 1980 to 2014) and served as that orchestra leader under esteeemed music directors Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur and Alan Gilbert.

Before landing the position in New York, Dicterow was member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, starting in 1971 as associate concertmaster, and then becoming concertmaster there before turning 25. During those years, he also worked extensively as a studio musician for film and television soundtracks recorded in Los Angeles (along with many other L.A. Phil members, including his father Harold Dicterow), playing in literally hundreds of scores, including many by John Williams. Among the works he did for him, Dicterow played in the violin section for The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws 2 and 1941.

After becoming concertmaster of the NY Phil, Dicterow continued to work as featured soloist for film soundtracks including Altered States by John Corigliano, The Untouchables by Ennio Morricone and Interview with the Vampire by Elliot Goldenthal.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Glenn talks about his long and distinguished career both as concertmaster of one of the world’s leading ensembles and his life as a studio musician, where you can face unexpected challenges. Dicterow offers his own views on how the style of playing in Hollywood orchestras evolved through the years, and how it ties with its European roots. Dicterow talks extensively about his friendship and collaboration with John Williams throughout the years, but also spends time talking about his experiences with the legendary Leonard Bernstein.

For more information and the full list of musical excerpts featured in the episode, visit thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com

The esteemed British conductor talks on his work as a specialist of Live to Picture concerts and his love and admiration for the music of John Williams

Hosted by Maurizio Caschetto

Ben Palmer is one of Europe’s foremost specialists in conducting live to film. He conducted many of the most successful film concerts in the UK and across mainland Europe, appearing in prestige venues such as the Royal Albert Hall in London. Palmer conducted virtually all of the John Williams films available in this format, such as the Star Wars trilogy, Jurassic ParkE.T. the Extra-TerrestrialJawsHome AloneRaiders of the Lost ArkHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Palmer became also a profound connoisseur and student of John Williams's music, developing an intimate and profound knowledge of the composer’s style and language. I

n this long and engaging conversation with The Legacy of John Williams, Ben Palmer talks in-depth about the details, the intricacies and the challenges of conducting live to picture performances of John Williams’s film scores, while also offering his own insightful thoughts about Williams’s place in music history, sharing his deep love and admiration for the music of the Maestro.

For more information and the list of all musical excerpts, go to thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com

The acclaimed Norwegian composer talks about his artistic journey, his approach to composition and how John Williams’s music has been a continuous source of inspiration

Hosted by Maurizio Caschetto

Norwegian composer Marcus Paus (b.1979) is one of the most performed and acclaimed contemporary classical musicians of his generation, and one of the most lauded Scandinavian composers working today. The rich and diverse catalog includes chamber music, works for solo musicians, choral music, orchestral works, opera and also works for the theater and film.

Paus is one of the strongest representatives in the contemporary classical music world of a reorientation toward tradition, melody and tonality. His works are often distinguished by a flowing melodic vein, full of lyricism and characterized by a complex harmonic language.

Growing up in a musical family, Marcus was surrounded by music since he was a toddler, but the spark that ignited his love for orchestral music were the classic scores composed by John Williams for films like E.T., Superman, Indiana Jones and the Star Wars saga. Paus acknowledges that the music of Williams has been one of the most profound inspirations of his life, becoming an element that helped him pursuing his goal as a composer.

In this long and engaging conversation with The Legacy of John Williams, Marcus talks about his own artistic journey and his approach to composition while also sharing his accurate observations on the music of John Williams and why the Maestro continues to be an endless source of inspiration for him and many other musicians worldwide.

For the full list of the musical excerpts featured in the episode visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2020/06/09/marcus-paus-podcast/

Special episode dedicated to John Williams's iconic scores for the Star Wars film series, including a focus on the last work for the Saga, The Rise of Skywalker

Special guests: Doug Adams, Frank Lehman, Jim Ware

Hosted by Maurizio Caschetto

The music composed by John Williams for the Star Wars saga is universally acknowledged among the greatest ever written for film.

In this episode of The Legacy of John Williams podcast, editor Maurizio Caschetto is joined by author Doug Adams (writer of the best-selling book The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films), film musicologist and theorist Frank Lehman (author of the Complete Catalogue of the Musical Themes of Star Wars) and film music expert Jim Ware for an in-depth roundtable-like discussion about the legacy of the iconic music by Maestro Williams for the Star Wars saga.

Starting with commentary on the score for The Rise of Skywalker, the group goes deep into analyzing the new musical material, how it sits in the overall musical lexicon of the series and how John Williams's style evolved throughout his 40+ years musical journey.

Interview with soundtrack producer Mike Matessino on his restoration work for two lesser-known scores from John Williams’ filmography

Hosted by Maurizio Caschetto and Tim Burden

In this new episode, soundtrack producer Mike Matessino talks in-depth about his work on the expanded soundtrack releases of John Williams's scores for Far and Away and The River, released respectively on La-La Land Records and Intrada.

Matessino joins The Legacy of John Williams editor Maurizio Caschetto and co-host Tim Burden to offer background information about the remastering and production process of each release. Matessino comments on John Williams’s creative journey for these films in a long and engaging conversation, where several topics beyond the two releases are also discussed.

Discover more at thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com

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