In a Galaxy a lot Closer Than You’d Think: The LA Phil’s Celebration of John Williams

Or, how to have a stellar evening at Disney Hall


The Los Angeles Philharmonic held a gala celebrating legendary movie composer John Williams last night. Here are the five G’s the Phil used to wow the been-there-done-that crowd:


Gustavo Dudamel
The conductor is exciting to watch (and that’s just his hair bouncing to and fro) and listen to, and he knows how to have a laugh. During the celebration the Los Angeles Children’s choir filed into Disney Hall and ended up onstage to sing music from the film Amistad. For their exit, Dudamel began conducting the dah-dun-dah-dun from Jaws (another William’s flick). The kids ran off screaming.


Give John Williams a Party
He’s composed movie music for films like Schindler’s List, Fiddler on the Roof, Catch Me If You Can, and Star Wars to name just a few. His work in them is unforgettable. Williams took to the stage to thunderous applause to conduct Darth Vader’s theme song. The evening is a fund-raiser for the LA Phil and its education programs. Rolex was the big-time sponsor and the musicians (and Dudamel) donated their services. Last night raised more that $3.4 mil.


Get Itzhak Perlman
The best violinist in the world owned the Disney Hall stage and performed selections from Schindler’s List. His violin cried, so did some people in the audience. William Shatner put on his sunglasses during this part of the program and not for any other.


Go Big or Go Home
The evening opened with the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets playing the Olympic theme (Williams composed the music for the 1984 games held in L.A.) and later when the LA Phil played selections from Star Wars, Stormtroopers marched in followed by the master of the dark side himself. Vader shook a fist at the heavens and shortly after Mylar confetti (shaped like C3PO and R2D2) began falling from the ceiling.


Grab a Groovy Gala Band
After the concert, once they inched past the Stormtroopers guarding the front door, guests enjoyed dinner by Patina chef Joachim Splichal. Then a super special band took the stage—it was a guest performance by members of the original Cantina Band from Star Wars (in full costume).


Photographs by Mathew Imaging