John Williams

What You Don't Know About The Iconic Olympic Theme Song

Feb 22, 2018

If you watch the Olympic Games, surely you recognize the heroic “Olympic Anthem” that’s played on TV. But do you know the story behind this piece of music? Who composed it? How did it become so iconic? Well, here’s the inside scoop…

How is this for a first day on the job: Maurice Murphy, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO)'s late principal trumpet player, spent his very first day with the orchestra recording Star Wars' iconic opening theme, with its incredible brass fanfare — and Murphy leading the trumpets.

Turning Verizon Hall into a Movie Palace

Dec 19, 2016

It’s a world with a language of its own. The Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall is being converted into a movie palace—with all of the broad audience appeal implied—but with key differences.

Credit: Benjamin Ealovega

Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony highlights The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert re-broadcast on WRTI this Sunday, November 6th at 1 pm, but there’s so much more. The Violin Concerto of John Williams and Ravel’s well-loved Pavane round out a brilliant program conducted by the Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève.

John Williams, so famous for his award-winning film scores including Jaws, Star Wars, and Schindler’s List, wrote a violin concerto that transcends the personal story behind it. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

The celebrated cello maestro Yo-Yo Ma kicks off a two-week Philadelphia Orchestra celebration of John Williams' music for concert hall and film this week, and Sunday’s concert will be broadcast LIVE at 2 PM here on WRTI.

The centerpiece of this program will be John Williams’ Cello Concerto, written specifically for Yo-Yo Ma, at the suggestion of Seiji Ozawa.

The violence in this Vietnam War film is noteworthy even among war films, and is controversial for a depiction of something no one has said they have ever witnessed: a scene where North Vietnamese soldiers force prisoners to play Russian roulette.

From an ancient buried past in Pompeii, to an outer-worldly future, The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI transports us to different worlds this Sunday, October 11th at 1 pm.

In this re-broadcast, we’ll hear excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, John Williams’s music from the film, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1977. It was his third collaboration with director Steven Spielberg, immediately following their great success with Jaws.


When can music composed for a film stand on its own? WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports on how John Williams’ suite from Close Encounters of the Third Kind translates to the concert stage.


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