This week, movie fans will be transported back to a time of dinosaurs, Millennium Falcons and wand-waving magic at the Utah Symphony’s live performance of “The Music of John Williams.”
Regarded by critics and audiences as one of the great composers of the modern era, Williams is the mind behind the recognizable themes of “Jurassic Park,” “Jaws,” “Harry Potter,” “Star Wars” and many other Hollywood classics.
“He is one of the preeminent composers of our time and his music is the soundtrack to so many people’s lives,” Onstage Ogden marketing and box office manager Camille Washington said.
In celebration of his impact on music and the film industry, Onstage Ogden is dedicating a night highlighting Williams’ work on Thursday, Sept. 19, in the Browning Center’s Austad Auditorium at Weber State University.
The concert will commence at 7:30 p.m. and feature themes from films like “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and the march from “Raiders and the Lost Ark.” The symphony will also perform some of Williams’ lesser-known pieces from movies such as “The Witches of Eastwick” and “A.I. Artificial Intelligence.”
Tickets for the performance range from $15 to $46, depending on seat selection, and can be purchased at http://onstageogden.org or 801-399-9214. Individual admission is limited to ages 5 and older; no babes in arms will be permitted.
In an email interview, Jack Everly, the guest conductor for the performance, expressed his joy and excitement to bring the “beauty, wit and exquisite orchestrations” of Williams’ music to the city of Ogden.
“I like to give audiences an evening’s overview of great composers whether they be Mozart, Bernstein, Rodgers, Loewe, Rozsa or Williams,” Everly said. “Maestro Williams’ musical legacy is without peer in diversity as well as popularity.”
Everly is the principal pops conductor of the Indianapolis and Baltimore symphony orchestras, Naples (Florida) Philharmonic Orchestra, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada. He has formerly conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, and the San Francisco Symphony, and he currently serves as the Music Director of the National Memorial Day Concert and “A Capitol Fourth” on PBS.
Despite his busy schedule, Everly couldn’t say enough about his appreciation for the opportunity to perform with the Utah Symphony.
“I very sincerely consider it an honor to be among such fine musicians,” Everly said. “When asked to conduct the Utah Symphony, one rearranges one’s calendar if you need to.”
In preparation of performing Williams’ work, Everly found that the toughest obstacle was the wide array of musical material he had to choose from.
“The challenger is always in what to program,” Everly said. “Audiences come with desires for favorites and yet, one doesn’t want to just do the obvious all night.”
However, regardless of song choice, members at Onstage Ogden say that the program is shaping up to attract a large crowd.
“We expect audience turnout to be very good,” Washington said. “John Williams is incredibly popular, and so people are really excited about it.”
With the amount of work and time the performance demands from its musicians and other parties involved, Everly is hopeful that audience members will leave the theater Thursday having experienced the “joy and admiration for one of the finest symphony orchestras in our land.”
But he has also set a personal goal for himself.
“For a conductor, the challenge is always the same with any great composer: to be as good as the music is,” Everly said.
The Utah Symphony will also perform the program at Abravanel Hall Sept. 20-21, kicking off their Entertainment Series. Tickets for these concerts are $20 to $92 and can be purchased at http://utahsymphony.org.