Cellist extraordinaire talks his distinguished career as a studio musician in Hollywood and his many collaborations with John Williams, including his exquisite solo playing for such scores as Angela’s Ashes, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Memoirs of a Geisha and Munich, offering precious thoughts about the Maestro’s music and his creative process with musicians.

Hosted by Maurizio Caschetto

If you’ve heard an exquisite solo cello while watching a big Hollywood movie of the last 25 years, it’s very likely that you were listening to the stunning musical talent of Stephen Erdody. He’s one of the most distinguished and talented cellist working in the studio world, but also a very fine classical musician who have spent many years playing with symphony orchestras and chamber groups. His impeccable playing impressed also Maestro John Williams, who appointed him as principal cello of all his recordings in Los Angeles since 1999 until today.

Stephen Erdody performed cello solos for John Williams on such scores as Angela's Ashes (1999), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), Munich (2005), War Horse (2011) and The Book Thief (2013). He performed a duet with world-renowned cello superstar Yo-Yo Ma on the score for Memoirs of a Geisha, and also was 1st cello on the Star Wars sequel trilogy produced by Disney. In addition to film scores, Erdody was also principal cello on various recording projects, including the albums American Journey (2002), Yo-Yo Ma Plays the Music of John Williams (2002) and The Spielberg-Williams Collaboration Vol.3 (2017).

Steve is the most renowned studio cellist working in Hollywood today and has recorded hundreds of film and television scores with many top film composers including Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard, Danny Elfman and Ludwig Goransson. You can hear some of Steve’s lovely solos on such scores as I Am Legend (James Newton Howard, 2009), The Pacific (Hans Zimmer, Geoff Zanelli & Blake Neely, 2010), August Rush (Mark Mancina, 2009). 

In this conversation, Steve talks in-depth about his distinguished career as Hollywood’s preferred principal cello and his many collaborations with John Williams on such scores as Angela’s Ashes, Munich, Memoirs of a Geisha, War Horse and many others, offering his own deep thoughts and reflections about the uniqueness of Maestro Williams’ music and the role of the cello in his scores, telling many stories and anecdotes from decades of recording sessions with him.

For more information and a list of musical excerpts go to https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2021/07/26/stephen-erdody-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.

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.

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/

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

The legendary trumpeteer talks his unparalleled career as studio musician in Hollywood and his journey with composer John Williams as principal trumpet on 40+ films between 1973 and 2011, including some of the Maestro’s most beloved scores such as Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Jurassic Park and the Indiana Jones films

Among the musicians who performed for John Williams in Los Angeles, trumpet legend Malcolm McNab has certainly a place of honour. This incredibly talented musician started to perform for the composer in 1973, playing lovely lyrical solos in the score for the film The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (directed by Richard C. Sarafian, starring Burt Reynolds and Sarah Miles). His exquisite playing immediately became a benchmark and, from that moment onward, McNab became principal trumpet for virtually all John Williams’s recordings in Los Angeles from 1973 until 2011, becoming one of the longest-serving members (if not the single longest) in his pick-up orchestra: a grand total of 46 film scores, including some of the Maestro’s most iconic works like Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, The Witches of Eastwick, Home Alone, Hook, Far and Away, Minority Report, plus several television projects (including Amazing Stories, Great Performances and the theme for the NBC Nightly News programs) and other special projects such as the live-to-picture performance of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the film’s 20th anniversary in March 2002. He also had lovely lyrical solos in Stanley & Iris (1990).

Malcolm McNab’s career highlights don’t stop however just at his many successful collaborations with John Williams. The trumpeteer has also been the first-call principal trumpet for many other great Hollywood composers including Jerry Goldsmith, Alex North, James Horner, Randy Newman, James Newton Howard, Bruce Broughton, Michael Kamen, with many of them writing beautiful solo parts especially for him. McNab’s truly impressive list of credits includes many of Hollywood’s most famous movies of the last 45 years. His playing can be heard in hundreds of memorable soundtracks, including the Rocky series, several Star Trek movies, Pretty Woman, The Karate Kid, Spider-Man 1 and 2, The Sixth Sense, Silverado, Edward Scissorhands, Independence Day, the Lethal Weapon films, Pirates of the Caribbean, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Pixar’s Toy Story 1, 2 and 3, Cars and Monsters, Inc., and many, many others. He can be heard as featured soloist in John Barry’s Dances With Wolves, Randy Newman’s Avalon, Jerry Goldsmith’s L.A. Confidential and The Last Castle, James Horner’s Glory, just to name a few.

In this rich, in-depth conversation, Malcolm talks about his career as studio musician legend, performing for virtually every great composer in Hollywood and performing both exquisite solos and virtuosic trumpet parts in many film scores. He talks at length about his many years performing for John Williams, from the first gig in 1973 to the success of scores like Jaws, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park, reflecting on the evolution of the trumpet section in Williams’s scores and the challenges of performing very difficult parts on many occasions, but also the fun and the joy of recording source music for Jaws and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. McNab also recollects his experiences with rock legend Frank Zappa, his friendship with Uan Rasey and his many collaborations with Jerry Goldsmith.

For more information visit https://thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com/2020/09/23/malcolm-mcnab-podcast

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

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