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May the Force Be With You

May the Force Be With You

Consider for a moment the film Star Wars, one of the most popular and highest-grossing movies ever created. Now think about the film without its score. Not so easy to do, right?

The iconic music from Star Wars, which features such movements as “Princess Leia’s Theme,” “The Imperial March” and “Yoda’s Theme,” is one of the most well-known and played pieces of movie music in the world. Fortunately for film buffs, the Evanston Symphony Orchestra will be playing the suite in its entirety at its May 7 concert.

Key to the enduring appeal of the music is the way composer John Williams creates a range of musical character through a technique called leitmotif, which composer Richard Wagner employed. A leitmotif is a phrase or melodic cell that signifies a character, place, plot element or mood. (Think the ominous theme of “The Imperial March,” signifying Darth Vader’s presence.) As another way to convey musical character, William borrowed the styles of other composers including Richard Strauss, Gustaf Holst, Edward Elgar, William Walton, Sergei Prokofiev and Erich Korngold.

A note on Williams, who composed the music to the six other Star Wars films: Among the most famous movie composers ever, he has been nominated for Oscars 41 times and has been awarded five. He is also known for composing the music of other major motion pictures, including E.T., Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List. How’s that for leaving a musical mark?

John Williams

John Williams


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Musical Insights

Free Pre-Concert Preview Series!

Friday, March 13 at 1:30 pm

Enhance your concert experience with a sneak preview — Composers come alive and their passions take center stage when ESO General Manager David Ellis and ESO Maestro Lawrence Eckerling take you on an insider’s tour of the history and highlights behind the music.

Meet our soloist, Irina Muresanu, at Musical Insights. She and our Maestro Lawrence Eckerling and David Ellis will explore the March concert program in depth.

The Merion
Friday, March 13 at 1:30 pm,
The Merion Crystal Ballroom at
1611 Chicago Avenue at Davis Street, Evanston.
FREE and open to the public.
Please RSVP to 847-562-5318.

Light refreshments will be served and casual tours of newly renovated apartments will be available after the program.