Star Wars

Friday 16th October, 7.30pm

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra



  • Newman – 20th Century Fox Fanfare
  • Williams – Star Wars Theme
  • Williams – Episode 1: The Phantom Menace Flag Parade
  • Williams – Anakin’s Theme
  • Williams – Adventures of Jar-Jar Binks
  • Williams – Duel of the Fates
  • Williams – Episode 2: Attack of the Clones Across the Stars
  • Williams – Yoda’s Theme
  • Williams – The Imperial March
  • Williams – Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith Battle of the Heroes
  • Williams – Episode 4: A New Hope Here They Come!
  • Williams – The Cantina Band
  • Williams – Princess Leia’s Theme
  • Williams – Throne Room
  • Williams – Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back Asteroid Field
  • Williams – Episode 6; Return of the Jedi Luke and Leia’s Theme
  • Williams – Parade of the Ewoks
  • Williams – The Forest Battle
  • Encore Williams – The Imperial March

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… John Williams lifted his baton and cued one of the greatest scores in movie history. As the world awaits the launch of Episode VII, conductor Michael Seal, the CBSO and voice actor Marc Silk, who can be heard in the Phantom Menace film, present John Williams’ music from all six Star Wars films, from A New Hope to Revenge of the Sith. The Force is strong with this one!


Review by Justine Halifax, Birmingham Mail:

Click here for full review

“Breathtaking and spectacular are the only worthy words I can use to sum up a concert staged at the Symphony Hall in honour of the music of the incredible Star Wars series.

CBSO 2015-16 Friday Night Classics: Star Wars proved not only to be an audible treat, one of which the great maestro John Williams himself would be proud of, but a visual delight, too.

With a welcome in the foyer for the arriving audience from both a storm trooper and a sandman, the tone of this memorable evening was set before we’d taken our seats.

This fantastic two-hour concert, performed to a packed hall of both young and old Star Wars’ fans, saw the amazing City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra join forces with the awesome CBSO Chorus.     […]

[…] For me the most spectacular pieces were those that featured the Chorus, including a breathtaking rendition of the Duel of Fates from Episode 1.”     …


Review by Paul Marston, BehindTheArras:

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IT’s not unusual to hear people leaving City of Birmingham Symphony Hall Concerts saying ‘that was out of this world’.

But this performance went even further, it was out of the universe for Star Wars fans who packed the Symphony Hall to enjoy the dramatic music of the legendary John Williams which adds so much to the thrilling movies.

Many youngsters were there with their parents for the latest Friday Night Classics,  and one man admitted to going down the aisle to Star Wars music….and in full costume.

Williams, a big fan of British orchestras, sent a personal message from Los Angeles thanking the orchestra and conductor Michael Seal for performing so much of his music – written to ‘smack you in the eye’ – and regretting that he couldn’t be in the Symphony Hall for the event.”     …


Review by Selwyn Knight, TheReviewsHub:

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…     “As the films were originally released through 20th Century Fox, there can be no other way to open than with the 20th Century Fox Fanfare, quickly followed by the Star Wars main theme. This is, of course, instantly recognisable to all, whether fans of the franchise or not. It sounds simple hiding a complex structure. The CBSO effortlessly reproduces the sound and changing moods. They are assisted in this, as ever, by the wonderful acoustics of the purpose-built Symphony Hall, an appropriate home for such grandeur.

Our conductor, Michael Seal, conducts energetically, appearing at times to be using his baton to dig the notes out.

It is astonishing to think that, despite some familial resemblances, the music for each Star Wars film is quite different to the others. There are themes – epic brass motifs, flowing strings, moments of introspection, and a vast variety of tuned percussion giving that slightly unsettling otherworldly feel – but each piece has its own personality. That is especially true of the charming and witty The Cantina Band from Episode 4: A New Hope. A cut-down jazz band featuring guitar and drum kit evokes that smoky jazz club atmosphere while still retaining an element of strangeness, causing smiles to propagate around the vast hall.

Supporting the CBSO is the CBSO Chorus, a vast choir of local people who come together under their director, Simon Halsey, to sing symphonic choral music. Their contribution to Duel of the Fates from The Phantom Menace and to the stirring and martial Battle of the Heroes from Revenge of the Sith that closes the first half is excellent, if a little surprising to some members of the audience seated behind them as they leap to their feet in unison during Duel of the Fates.”     …


Review by Mark Newbold,

Click here for full blog review

…     “Led by conductor Michael Seal, the CBSO started with Alfred Newman’s 20th Century Fox fanfare before launching into the familiar Star Wars theme from A New Hope. Then came one of the many musical surprises of the night as the piece ended not with the A New Hope credits, but with the triumphant end moments of Return of the Jedi. Seal was clearly loving it, encouraging his musicians to take a bow to rapturous applause at every opportunity. His enthusiasm was infectious, feeding the music-hungry crowd and leading them into a selection of themes from The Phantom Menace. “The Flag Parade” was presented in a very unfamiliar arrangement before leading into “Anakin’s Theme” and the “Adventures of Jar Jar Binks.” The City of Birmingham Chorus made themselves known, standing to perform the dramatic vocals from “Duel of the Fates.” In a room like this, with a knowledgeable crowd and an orchestra at the top of their game, it was an exhilarating moment.
CBSO Star Wars concert
Attack of the Clones — surely the most underrated of all the Star Wars scores — was next with Across the Stars, and from there we were treated to “Yoda’s Theme” and the “Imperial March” from The Empire Strikes Back. A perennial crowd-pleaser, “The Imperial March” is certainly the best known Star Wars theme after the “Main Title” itself. Revenge of the Sith was next and once again the CBSO Chorus were used to great effect in “Battle of the Heroes,” sending the audience off to the intermission on a high.”     …


Friday Night Classics: John Williams Blockbusters

Friday 12 July 2013 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Dirk Brossé  conductor

Tommy Pearson  presenter

Including music from:

Raiders of the Lost Ark • Jurassic Park • War Horse • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade • Munich • Memoirs of a Geisha • Catch Me If You Can • Lincoln • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone • Star Wars • Olympic Fanfare and Theme • Hook • Jaws


No-one writes a big film theme like John Williams – no wonder he’s one of the world’s most popular living composers. And if you think his music is thrilling on the big screen, just wait until you hear it live at Symphony Hall – as the CBSO plays a blockbuster concert of John Williams’s very greatest themes.

John Williams Blockbusters

Friday 22 July 2011 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Michael Seal conductor

Including music from: Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark • Close Encounters of the Third Kind •Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban • Schindler’s List • Munich •Star Wars • The Witches of Eastwick • JFK • Jaws • Saving Private Ryan •E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial •The Lost World: Jurassic Park •Superman

No-one writes a big film theme like John Williams – no wonder he’s today’s most popular living composer. And if you think his music is thrilling on the big screen, just wait until you hear it live at Symphony Hall – as the CBSO plays a blockbuster concert of John Williams’ very greatest themes.

Sounds Interesting pre-concert talk at 6.15pm
Tommy Pearson interviews conductor Mike Seal about the art of conducting film music in concert.

John Williams:

Raiders of the Lost Ark – Raiders March
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Suite
Schindler’s List – Theme
Munich – A Prayer for Peace
Close Encounters of the Third Kind – excerpts
Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope – Suite


The Witches of Eastwick – Devil’s Dance
JFK – Theme
Jaws – Shark Theme
Saving Private Ryan – Hymn to the Fallen
The Lost World: Jurassic Park – Theme
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial – Adventures on Earth
Superman: The Movie – Superman March
Encore Star Wars

Tim Burden’s report from Birmingham’s recent Film Music Festival, featuring Sir Anthony Hopkins, John Williams and the superb CBSO live in concert:

Friday Night Classics: Nightmare on Broad Street

Friday 29 October 2010 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Michael Seal  conductor
Tommy Pearson  presenter
CBSO Chorus   

Doyle: ‘The Creation’ from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 2′
Williams: Lost World: Jurassic Park 5′
Goldsmith: ‘The Light’ and ‘Carol Anne’s Theme’ from Poltergeist 7′
Waxman: ‘The Creation of the Female Monster’ from The Bride of Frankenstein 7′
Cassidy: ‘Vide Cor Meum’ from Hannibal 4′
Herrmann: Psycho: A Narrative for String Orchestra 14′
Elfman: ‘Main Titles and Ice Dance’ from Edward Scissorhands 5′
Herrmann: Suite from Vertigo 10′
Bernard: ‘Invocation to the Devil/Dance Frenzy’ from The Devil Rides Out 7′
Williams: ‘Devil’s Dance’ from The Witches of Eastwick 5′
Wiseman: Suite from Lesbian Vampire Killers 5′
Goldsmith: Suite from The Omen (Ave Satani, The Killer Storm, The Dogs Attack) 14′

Williams: Jaws – encore

Whether you love or hate the Halloween silly-season, some great music has been written for horror films. Escape the trick-or-treaters, and let the CBSO scare you silly with music from Frankenstein, Psycho, The Omen and lots more terrifying favourites. There may not be any nightmare nasties to be seen in Symphony Hall, but with music this creepy and the dramatic sound effects that a full symphony orchestra can throw at you, your imagination will do the rest. We’re sure you’ll have a great evening, but it might leave you wanting to sleep with the lights on…

Friday Night Classics: Film Music for Lovers

Friday 12 February 2010 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

Michael Seal  conductor
Tommy Pearson  presenter
David Arnold  special guest
Ben Dawson  piano

Steiner – Gone with the Wind: Tara’s Theme
Herrmann – Vertigo: Main Title & Love Theme
Barry – Out of Africa – Main theme
Rota – Romeo & Juliet – A Time for Us
Lai – Theme from Love Story
Addinsell – Warsaw Concerto
Arnold – Independence Day: Closing Titles
Doyle – Much Ado About Nothing – overture
Warbeck – Shakespeare in Love – suite
Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto no. 2 – slow movement
Arnold – Casino Royale: Love theme and Bond theme (arr. Arnold)
Horner – Titanic
Armstrong – Love Actually – Glasgow Love Theme
Jarre – Dr Zhivago: Lara’s Theme
Williams – ET: Adventures on Earth

The perfect treat for your Valentine, or simply the chance to snuggle up with the CBSO and enjoy a night of romantic music from some of the most heart-rending moments from the big screen. Featuring soundtracks by Arnold, Barry, Herrmann and others, this evening surely won’t leave a dry eye in the house. Chocolates and hankies not supplied!

Post-concert talk, c.9.45pm
Music from the Movies – Tommy Pearson interviews James Bond (and Little Britain) composer David Arnold.

Friday Night Classics : John Williams’ Heroes

Friday 30 October 2009 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

 John Wilson  conductor

Williams: Star Wars Theme 5′
Korngold: Theme from the film, “The Sea Hawk” 6′
Williams: Symphonic Suite from Star Wars 5′
Waxman: The Philadelphia Story Suite: Main Title; Tracey in Love; End Title 6′
Williams: Jaws: Shark Theme 3′
Herrmann: Taxi Driver: Main Title 3′
Williams: Adventures on Earth: E. T. 10′
Newman: Airport: Main Title 5′
Williams: Escapades Suite: from Catch me if You Can 13′
Rozsa: Ben Hur – Parade of the Charioteers 3′
Williams: Schindler’s List Theme 5′
Williams: Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind 8′
Williams: Harry’s Wondrous World 4′

From blockbuster to blockbuster, tonight’s concert is a celebration of great film themes with live symphony orchestra, as you’ve never heard them before. Travel across the stars with an unbeatable line-up featuring the music of John Williams and the amazing film-score writers that influenced him.