The seemingly disparate worlds of symphonic excellence and intergalactic adventures collided on Saturday 7 July at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre when the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) performed the entire original score to the iconic Star Wars: A New Hope live in concert while the film screened.

From the first, there was no doubt that we were in for a great night. Conductor Nicholas Buc addressed the audience, revealing he is not only a world class conductor but also quite the performer. Charismatic and funny, he assured the audience that applause throughout the movie was encouraged and welcome, for musicians, he joked, are quite vain after all. The first notes struck were not, as was anticipated, from the legendary score by John Williams, but the unforgettable and completely recognisable 21st Century Fox theme tune. This was greeted with utter delight by the audience.

Before the performance, I had spoken to some Star Wars fans that were concerned that the orchestra might detract from the film, or distract them from the action. Happily, their fears were unfounded. The orchestra is both unobtrusive but very noticeable, blending in to the background at times and then standing out and demanding attention at others. Many scenes were greatly enhanced by the presence of the live orchestra. Watching the Death Star explode was certainly more dramatic with the live music as accompaniment.

The audience was comprised of an eclectic mix, some wore suits and ties or cocktail dresses, others donned star wars tees and jeans, and a select few came in costume. Age was also variable, with children, grandparents and everyone in between among the crowd. It was encouraging to see a diverse group of people at the performance, and these types of events may help people who would not usually see QSO discover their prowess. And for orchestra lovers who may not have seen a Star Wars film before, this served as the perfect introduction.

Legendary composer John Williams is well known for scoring all eight of the Star Wars saga films, beginning in 1977 with Star Wars: A New Hope, for which he earned an Academy Award for Best Original Score. QSO will return to BCEC on Saturday 1 December to continue this epic saga when it presents Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with Williams’ musical score performed live to the film. Tickets can be purchased here.

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