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 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/

French Horn player extraordinaire talks his life and career as studio musician in Hollywood and his many collaborations with John Williams, including his work as Principal Horn on The Post and the recent Star Wars sequels The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, sharing his views on the Maestro's music

Los Angeles native French Horn player Dylan Skye Hart is part of the younger generation of studio musician who are carrying over the great tradition of the "Hollywood sound" in film scores established by legendary horn players such as Vince DeRosa and Jim Thatcher, of whom Dylan can really be considered a natural heir. Dylan had the distinguished honour of performing as Principal Horn for John Williams on a few of his more recent scores, including The Post (2017) and the Star Wars sequels The Last Jedi (2017) and The Rise of Skywalker (2019), following in the footsteps of those above mentioned musicians.

Since 2008, Dylan Hart has played for many top Hollywood composers including Alan Silvestri, Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard, Bruce Broughton, John Powell and Alexandre Desplat. Dylan is also a devoted classical musician—he's currently Principal Horn for the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Santa Barbara Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Dylan is also a member of the Los Angeles Horn Quartet and Modern Brass Quintet.

In this conversation, Dylan talks about his life and career as French Horn player in Los Angeles, from his humble beginnings to his years studying with Vince DeRosa and Jim Thatcher. He recalls his first gigs in major film scores and his work performing for John Williams in such scores as War Horse, The Post, Dear Basketball and the Star Wars films, offering his own unique insight about Williams' process in the studio and his writing for the instrument. Dylan also reflects on the great tradition of Hollywood's horn playing style as mastered by his teachers DeRosa and Thatcher and what it means carrying that legacy.

For more information, visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2020/12/18/dylan-hart-podcast/

Legendary tuba player talks his 40+ years career as studio musician in Los Angeles and his collaborations with John Williams, including the “Voice of the Mothership” solo in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and his work on Home Alone, Hook and Jurassic Park

Tubist Jim Self is one of the true legends among both the international tuba community and the Los Angeles studio musicians. In a career spanning more than four decades, Jim has performed internationally as soloist, orchestral player, chamber musician and studio musician. He performed in more than 1,500 film and television soundtracks and can be heard playing solos on many of them. He has been John Williams’ principal tuba for 25 years (from 1990 to 2015), performing solos on such scores as Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Hook and Jurassic Park. Above all, he performed the iconic “Voice of the Mothership” tuba solo as heard in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).

He’s currently principal tuba for four orchestras—the Los Angeles Opera, Pacific Symphony, Pasadena Symphony and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. He still performs occasionally as a studio musician for film scores and played 2nd tuba on the recent Star Wars sequel trilogy from 2015-2019. John Williams has referred to him as “one of the greatest instrumentalists of his generation”.

In this long, engaging conversation, Jim talks about his extraordinary career as studio musician and his many years performing for John Williams. He recollects recording the iconic solo for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and his work on Home Alone, Hook and Jurassic Park, offering insightful comments and reflections about playing for John Williams, but also about the music itself. He also talks about his work for Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner, his friendship and early years playing with tuba legend Tommy Johnson, the role of tuba in film music and his life as a composer.

For more information and the list of musical excerpts visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2020/11/10/jim-self-podcast/

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

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