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'The Force Awakens' opening and closing music was conducted by Gustavo Dudamel

Gustavo Dudamel and John Williams in 2014 Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images

Now that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has had its Hollywood premiere and is starting press screenings, details will inevitably start to leak (the first reviews will be published tomorrow) — but for classical music fans, there may be no more surprising revelation than the fact that a key portion of the score was recorded under the baton of superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

The New York Times reports that Williams invited Dudamel to conduct the film's opening and closing music, to the surprise of almost everyone involved. The score was recorded by an L.A. freelance orchestra that included some members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic — the orchestra that Dudamel has led since 2009.

The L.A. Phil opened its season this year with Dudamel conducting Williams's film music, a concert later featured on TV's Great Performances. As the Times duly notes, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, some orchestras considered it overly commercial to perform such scores."

Stay tuned for an announcement about some very special programming we'll feature on our Movies stream this Friday to celebrate the release of The Force Awakens.

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Gustavo Dudamel and John Williams in 2014 Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images

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