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Santa Barbara Symphony Brings Symphonic Music to Life in John Williams Tribute Concert

  • Audiences will see and hear a sensational tribute to legendary composer John Williams, presented in partnership with The Granada Theatre
  • Santa Barbara Symphony orchestra musicians regularly record with John Williams in major film studios 
  • Dynamo Guest Conductor Rei Hotoda takes the podium

Get swept away by the magic of movie music! The Santa Barbara Symphony presents John Williams: A Symphonic Celebration on Saturday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 19 at 3:00 p.m. Guest conductor Rei Hotoda takes the podium to lead the Symphony in a tribute concert where powerful cinematic moments will come to life through live orchestral accompaniment. Audiences will have the chance to hear iconic cinematic moments played by many of the same musicians who recorded the original motion picture soundtracks alongside the inimitable John Williams himself, from Star Wars, Harry Potter, E.T., and so many more. This concert is also a part of the Granada Synergy Series.

In a career spanning more than five decades, John Williams at 91 is one of America’s most accomplished and successful composers for film and the concert stage, and he remains one of the nation’s most distinguished and prolific musical voices. He has composed the music and served as Music Director for more than 100 films including all nine Star Wars films, the first three Harry Potter films, Superman, JFK, Jaws, Home Alone, and many more. 

Santa Barbara Symphony musicians are no strangers to John Williams’ work; in fact, many of the orchestra musicians are studio regulars for Williams and have played on numerous original film scores, including Concertmaster Jessica Guideri, Erik Rynearson, Principal Viola; Trevor Handy, Principal Cello; Lara Wickes, Principal Oboe; Don Foster, Principal Clarinet; Teag Reaves, Principal Horn; and Jon Lewis, Principal Trumpet.

Conductor Rei Hotoda has been hailed as an inexhaustible dynamo with a deep commitment to reimagining the 21st-century concert experience. Her vision can be seen through her thought-provoking programming, passionate allyship with marginalized artists, advocacy for arts education, and unwavering commitment to presenting the music of our times.

Hotoda’s success as the Music Director of the Fresno Philharmonic since 2017 has resulted in the extension of her tenure through the 2025 season. She has appeared as a guest conductor with many of today’s leading ensembles, including the Symphony Orchestras of Baltimore, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Detroit, Toronto, Winnipeg, Hawaii, and Utah as well as the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, among others. Her interpretations of such epic centerpieces of the classical canon such as Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 8 and Britten’s War Requiem, make her one of the most sought-after conductors of today.

John Williams’ 45-year artistic partnership with director Steven Spielberg has resulted in many of Hollywood’s most acclaimed and successful films including Schindler’s List, E.T. The ExtraTerrestrial, Jaws, Jurassic Park, and the Indiana Jones films, among so many notable others. He has received five Academy Awards and 52 Oscar nominations, making him the Academy’s most-nominated living person and the second-most nominated person in the history of the Oscars. He has received seven British Academy Awards (BAFTA), 25 Grammys®, four Golden Globes, five Emmys, and numerous gold and platinum records. His contributions to television music include scores for more than 200 television films. In 2009, Mr. Williams was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and he received the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the U.S. Government. In 2016, he received the 44th Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute— the first time in their history that this honor was bestowed upon a composer. In 2020, he received Spain’s Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts, as well as the Gold Medal from the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society in the UK.

John Williams: A Symphonic Celebration is generously supported by Principal Concert Sponsor, Sarah & Roger Chrisman; Artist Sponsor, Lehrer Family Charitable Fund; and Selection Sponsors, and Omega Financial Group.

Experience John Williams: A Symphonic Celebration with the Santa Barbara Symphony! Tickets can be purchased online here. For full details about the Santa Barbara Symphony’s 2022/23 season, please click here or call 805-898-9386.

About The Santa Barbara Symphony

Now in its 71st year, The Santa Barbara Symphony delivers artistic excellence, outstanding music education stewardship and programming, and community collaboration – all through symphonic music. Under the artistic leadership of Maestro Nir Kabaretti as Music & Artistic Director since 2006, The Symphony is one of the region’s premier cultural institutions. Through his charismatic leadership, this globally admired conductor and Santa Barbara resident invigorates audiences and musicians alike through his passion, creativity, and vast experience. As the only music education program tied to a professional symphony orchestra in the region, The Symphony serves more than 4,000 students annually throughout Santa Barbara County. While The Symphony continues to evolve, bringing joy, engagement, and connection remain steadfast pillars of its mission and were evident in the organization’s ability to thrive during the pandemic including the historic announcement that board chair Janet Garufis and President & CEO Kathryn R Martin join Nir Kabaretti in making a five-year commitment to serve in their roles. For more information, visit

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