Announcing BOSTON CALLING Video Event

Coming June 30, an exclusive video event with legendary musicians of the BSO and the Boston Pops celebrating John Williams

Being Boston Pops Laureate Conductor means that I have a sort of more or less permanent place with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, certainly in my heart if not in theirs. The orchestra itself, I suppose, like many orchestras, is really a family kind of institution, and I feel a part of the orchestra, I know the players, I know many of their children, we’ve been together for many years, and the association is already over 40 years. It’s a familial kind of connection.”

John Williams

The Legacy of John Williams is proud to announce the release of a new exclusive video special celebrating one of John Williams’ most treasured and significant collaborations in his extraordinary career: the 40+ years musical relationship between John Williams and the musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops.

John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra at Symphony Hall in 2017 (Photo by Michael Blanchard)

Boston Calling will explore the unique association between Boston Pops Conductor Laureate John Williams and one of the world’s most respected classical music institutions as seen through the eyes of some of the most distinguished orchestra musicians who performed under Williams’ baton for many years, often in prominent solo roles, enriching dozens of recordings and live performances: former BSO & Boston Pops Principal Harp Ann Hobson Pilot, former BSO Associate Principal Trumpet / Boston Pops Principal Trumpet Tim Morrison, BSO Associate Principal Horn / Boston Pops Principal Horn Richard “Gus” Sebring and BSO Assistant Principal Oboe / Boston Pops Principal Oboe Keisuke Wakao.

The discussion will spotlight Williams’ tenure as Principal Conductor of the Boston Pops from 1980 to 1993 through recollections of some of the historic performances and recordings (including albums from both the Philips Classics and the Sony Classical years) and reflecting on how Williams picked up Arthur Fiedler’s legacy while refreshing the orchestra’s repertoire; the discussion will also illuminate on how Williams put film music prominently into the Pops’ programs and commissioned new top-notch arrangements of classic tunes from the Great American Songbook and several Broadway musicals. Some of the musicians’ special moments as soloists will be featured, illuminating on how much their contribution also inspired the composer to write concert pieces specifically for them. The recording of the scores of two Steven Spielberg’s masterpieces, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, will also be discussed.

John Williams conducting at Boston’s Symphony Hall in the early 1980s

When John came in 1980, it was such a difference,” says harpist Ann Hobson Pilot, who was already Pops’ Principal Harp when Williams was appointed Boston Pops’ Principal Conductor. “As the years went on, you could see the respect of the orchestra really rise,” observes Pilot. “During the 13-year period in which John was music director of the Pops, he brought a whole breadth of style, sound, and a certain dimension to the playing and the quality of the arrangements that didn’t exist so prevalently before he took over,” comments trumpet player Tim Morrison, who soon became one of Williams’ favourite soloists in the orchestra. “John has this incredible ability to write for any instrument as though he understands it from the level of the most accomplished player,” says French Horn player Gus Sebring, while oboist Keisuke Wakao comments on Williams’ personality as a conductor saying that “he never conducts for himself, he’s so composed, so comfortable and make your life as a player very easy.”

In addition to this phenomenal panel of musicians, the discussion will be enriched by the presence of film music scholar Emilio Audissino (author of the seminal book The Film Music of John Williams, University of Wisconsin Press), who gathered a considerable amount of historical knowledge over the years on the John Williams / Boston Pops collaboration.

The event is hosted and produced by The Legacy of John Williams’ Editor-in-Chief Maurizio Caschetto and Head Contributor Tim Burden. It will premiere on Thursday, June 30 at 9PM CEST / 3PM EST / 12PM PST at The Legacy of John Williams official YouTube channel.

John Williams conducting the Boston Pops in his annual Film Night at Tanglewood in 2019 (Photo by Hillary Scott)

After the great success of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles studio musicians video events, we are very happy to complete this sort of ‘video trilogy’ celebrating the historical associations between Maestro Williams and some of the world’s most revered orchestras and musicians,” say producers Maurizio Caschetto and Tim Burden, “We feel deeply honoured to have some of the BSO’s truly legendary musicians gathering together to honour their history with John Williams in the year of his landmark 90th birthday.”

Prepare for another insightful and emotional journey celebrating one of John Williams’ most important musical collaborations of his career.

Watch the Trailer

Download the Press Release