Oklahoma City—The Oklahoma City Philharmonic presents its first Chickasaw Nation Pops concert of the season with “Happy 90th, John Williams,” Friday Nov. 4 and Saturday Nov. 5, 8 p.m. at Civic Center Music Hall.

Williams has written some of the most iconic film scores in cinematic history, including Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, E.T. and of course, Star Wars. Now, the OKCPHIL pays tribute, celebrating Williams’ 90th birthday.

Golden Globe-nominated composer Brian Byrne is conducting and arranging the Williams tribute.

“As a kid growing up in Ireland in the 1980’s, I was transfixed specifically by John Williams scores to Superman and E.T.,” Byrne said. “I probably watched and heard Superman hundreds of times before the age of 12, with my father pointing out the various sections of the orchestra as the score played on our small TV. His awe and love for orchestral music being passed along in real time to a naïve kid with transfixed ears.”

While orchestras across the globe are celebrating Williams 90th birthday, Byrne said he wanted to make this show unique to Oklahoma.

““I thought it would be a fun idea to encourage kids of all ages to draw or paint some of the famous characters from movies that John Williams scored,” Byrne said. “And they might get to see their artwork on a giant screen as the OKCPHIL plays Williams’ amazing music. A lot of these characters are fantastical or superheroes, so it lends itself to engaging young kid’s imaginations.”

Young artists from K-12 have been hard at work the past few weeks, designing artwork for OKCPHIL’s “Create” contest. Their drawings, based on characters from one of Williams’ movies, will be shown during the concert performances.

Byrne grew up in Ireland, and now lives in Oklahoma with his wife and two children. It’s important, he says, to make sure kids experience the excitement and energy created by a live orchestra.

“We will be creating lifelong memories for those kids,” he adds. “They need to hear and see the power of the live orchestra and the energy it creates. That energy has to go somewhere. I’m hoping some of it will remain in kid’s memories for a long time.”

Working with the OKCPHIL is a wonderful opportunity, Byrne says. Much of his work is in Los Angeles, or the UK and Ireland, so bringing the music of John Williams to Oklahoma will be a great experience.

“His music is timeless,” Byrne added. “Technology is constantly changing, but the heart and emotion and the sheer exhilaration of John’s scores transfers easily through generations. This is my first show with the OKCPHIL, so I want to connect with the local audience in a meaningful way.”


Tickets and information are available online at okcphil.org or by phone at 405-TICKETS.