One of the world's best-known living composers is headed to Miami Beach's New World Center. John Williams, composer of indelible scores for films including the Star Wars franchise, Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park, will conduct New World Symphony fellows at the organization's 2019 gala on Saturday, March 2.
For the first time ever, NWS will broadcast its gala outside the venue as part of its Wallcast concert series, so people will be able to watch Williams conduct the orchestra at Soundscape Park in real time and for free.
Throughout February, the symphony has screened classic films scored by Williams in anticipation of the famed composer's visit. Films shown during the "John Williams Comes to Miami" Wallcast series have included E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Immediately following Williams' appearance at the gala, fans will be treated to a screening of Jurassic Park on the wall of the New World Center.
Martin Sher, the New World Symphony's senior vice president for artistic planning and programs, says students who attend the symphony's fellowship program to prepare for classical music careers are "over the moon" about working with the living legend. "Movie music has really been an important gateway to the symphonic world for a lot of this current generation, so, of course, their favorite films have been [scored] by John Williams."
Williams began scoring films and TV shows in the 1960s. He received his first Academy Award nomination for his score for 1967's Valley of the Dolls. He went on to team up with directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas to create some of the most recognizable music ever put on film, including the title themes for Jaws and Star Wars. Nearly half a century later, Williams is composing the soundtrack for Star Wars: Episode IX.
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Williams' film scores will be fair game for the fellows to play March 2. He's selected the songs the symphony will perform, including compositions he crafted outside the world of film, such as a bassoon concerto he'll conduct at the gala.
Even Sher — who began working with New World Symphony at the beginning of this year and before that was vice president and general manager of the North Carolina Symphony — is almost breathless when he speaks of how honored the organization is to host the beloved composer.
"I can't even wait. I'm yet another person that grew up on his scores," he says. "It sounds almost cliche to say this is kind of a dream come true to actually meet him. He is without a doubt the most famous composer on Earth. It's almost uncanny the reach that he's had, and to actually have him here in the flesh is kind of mind-blowing."
A Celebration of John Williams Wallcast Concert. 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at New World Center, 500 17th St., Miami Beach; 305-680-5866; nws.edu. Admission is free.