Star Wars comes to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra


David Hahner, Staff Writer

On December 17th, the highlight movie showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens attracted millions. Though I sadly wasn’t able to attend the premiere like many others, I feel like my evening was well worth my time during a unique event with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall. The Music of Star Wars Episodes I-IV was the Symphony’s idea of a concert to help rev up fans for the big movie, and they accomplished that excitement and then some.

The performance began with the 20th Century Fox Fanfare, immediately followed by the Star Wars main theme causing the audience to roar with excitement. The rest of the ensemble followed the films in chronological order starting with Episode I: The Phantom Menace with great pieces such as Anakin’s Theme and Duel of the Fates. Episode II: Attack of the Clones featured a beautiful accompaniment of Across the Stars. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith featured the epic Battle of the Heroes. A quick break from the music followed, with a Chewbacca roar contest from selected audience members. Episode IV: A New Hope began with memorable scores such as Leia’s Theme, The Cantina Band, The Throne Room, and the End Credits. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back played the ever dark and menacing Darth Vader theme, The Imperial March. The heroic chase music of the Asteroid Field was conducted as well. Finally Episode VI: Return of the Jedi featured the music of Luke and Leia, The Battle of Endor, and the Parade of the Ewoks. The evenings show ended with an encore performance of the End Credits! With the combination of interchangeable light colors, projections in the auditorium, a few character surprises like Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and a Stormtrooper, The Music of Star Wars concert was a memorable one!

For this performance in particular, the audience was more exuberant and louder during and after the musical pieces, and there were a few dozen-audience members dressed in elaborate costumes. It seemed it was anything but your typical concert but in a fun way. Star Wars fans young and old came to hear the great music written by John Williams, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra captured William’s creative imagination. If there is one thing I didn’t like about the concert, and this is a small nit-pick, it’s that there was no choir to help complement some of the scores, but the low brass made up for it. I would say go see The Music of Star Wars Episodes I-IV in a heartbeat but it was a one-night event. I guess the next best thing is to go see The Force Awakens in theaters now!