Friday Night Is Music Night

Happy Birthday John Williams

Happy Birthday John Williams



The BBC Concert Orchestra and its principal conductor Keith Lockhart assess the Oscar-winning music of Hollywood legend John Williams in this 80th- birthday tribute to the great movie maestro. And, in the interval feature, actor Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars films) proves that there’s more to Williams’s work than “spaceships, sorcery and sharks“.

For Williams is classically trained, a jazz pianist, the composer of more than 30 orchestral works, including a symphony and a cello concerto, and the conductor laureate of the Boston Pops Orchestra. But it’s the spaceships, sorcery and sharks that are on the musical menu here, with soundtrack scores that include Star Wars, ET and Jaws.

And young violinist Charlie Siem joins the orchestra to perform the haunting music from Schindler’s List. May the force be with them.


In a concert first broadcast in December, Keith Lockhart conducts the BBC Concert Orchestra in a performance of music by composer John Williams, recorded at the Watford Colosseum. Including extracts from his scores for Jaws, Star Wars, ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan and Warhorse, with violinist Charlie Siem joining the orchestra for a piece from Schindler's List. In the interval, actor Ian McDiarmid looks at the composer's early Hollywood career and his conducting work with the Boston Pops, and there are contributions by Andre Previn, Keith Lockhart and Rob Marshall among others.