When Jun Iwasaki was 11 years old in 1993 eating popcorn in a movie theater watching Steven Spielberg’s hit movie Jurassic Park, the dinosaur-loving boy didn’t realize that 23 years later he’d revisit the blockbuster in a whole new way — as concertmaster with Nashville Symphony during the U.S. premiere of Jurassic Park in Concert!
On Sunday, Nov. 13, Jurassic Park will be seen for the very first time with a symphony in the United States, and it’s happening right here with our very own Nashville Symphony playing John Williams’ unforgettable score live! It’s a great nod to Music City, one that Iwasaki is proud to be involved with.
“The U.S. premiere says a lot about our city and our symphony here,” says Iwasaki. “For the Nashville Symphony to be the first North American orchestra to show the movie live with a symphony really goes with our mission which is to give Nashville an identity with music that goes beyond country and bluegrass,” he adds.
Iwasaki grew up with professional musician parents; his father is a cellist and mother is a pianist. He took up violin when he was 5 years old and was an avid dinosaur enthusiast as well. Seeing Jurassic Park for the first time when he was a kid had a big impact on him. “The special effects at the time were unbelievable along with the story. I was really into Michael Crichton novels at the time, too. I was at that age where I knew all my dinosaurs as a little boy growing up, so seeing them come to life on the big screen was a memorable part of my childhood as far as movies you remember,” says Iwasaki.
Iwasaki, a self-proclaimed “huge movie-score dork,” says he loves the way music makes a difference in how people experience movies. Williams himself says he felt the need to write the Jurassic Park score in a way that conveyed an authentic sense of awe and fascination that one, especially a child, would feel if encountering a real live dinosaur. “I think he achieved that,” says Iwasaki. “I think John Williams is one of the most influential composers of our time, among all the other great 20th century composers we play on stage. His music transcends all that, whether it’s from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park or Harry Potter, which we’re also doing this season. They’re memorable and people come out of those movies whistling the tunes,” he adds.
The Jurassic score is robust with lots of strings, brass, percussion and synthesizers, and it’s sure to sound amazing inside the Schermerhorn. “The audience will hear exactly what they remember from the movie,” says Iwasaki. “There will be approximately 100 people on stage; a full orchestra plus the extra percussion and keyboards and brass that’s required in most of John Williams’ scores,” he adds.
The Jurassic Park in Concert experience will be a wonderful visual spectacle, no doubt, with the giant screen above the stage while seeing a full orchestra playing the music. “It’s a fun way to watch the movie, especially if it’s one you’ve seen many times,” says Iwasaki, noting that for kids especially, it’s cool for them to be able to see exactly what instruments are creating the melodies from the movie that they know so well.
IF YOU GO:
Jurassic Park in Concert
Sunday, Nov. 13 • 7 p.m.
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
1 Symphony Place, Nashville
615-687-6400 • nashvillesymphony.org
Tickets: $34 – $84