Composers Datebook®

with host John Zech

Saturday, July 7

John Williams' Cello Concerto

Synopsis

You might say that if anyone can claim credit for having written the “soundtrack of our times,” that person would be the American composer and conductor John Williams.

Somehow, in between writing dozens and dozens of film scores for movies ranging from “Star Wars” to “Schindler’s List,” and as conductor of the Boston Pops or the Hollywood Bowl, Williams has also found time to conduct other composers’ concert works—and occasionally a few of his own.

This is a Cello Concerto that Williams composed for Yo-Yo Ma, a work that received its premiere on today’s date in 1994 at a gala concert opening the new Seiji Ozawa Hall at the Boston’s Symphony summer home in Tanglewood, Massachusetts.

Williams recalls, “My cello concerto resulted from a suggestion by Seiji that I write a piece for cello and orchestra expressly with Yo-Yo Ma in mind. I began work at the end of 1993, and I conducted the first performance on July 7, 1994, on a celebratory concert that marked the dedication of Ozawa Hall. I had known Yo-Yo Ma for quite a few years before this event. Together we had performed concertos of Elgar, Dvorak, and Haydn, among others, and on several occasions I had accompanied him at the piano. Over the years we’ve become close friends, and given the broad technical and expressive arsenal available in Yo-Yo’s work, planning the concerto was a joy.”

Music Played in Today's Program

John Williams (b. 1932) Cello Concerto Yo Yo Ma, cello; Los Angeles Recording Arts Orchestra; John Williams, cond. Sony 89670

Additional Information

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