Pop goes the orchestra!

Don't make the mistake of conflating populist with unsophisticated when you're discussing the repertoire of a contemporary orchestra.

The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra accompanies Star Wars: A New Hope. Photo credit: Claudio Raschella.

From screenings of contemporary classics like Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Harry Potter and Jurassic Park where composer John Williams’ orchestral scores are played live before delighted audiences as the films unfold overhead, to pop music concerts and Last Night of the Proms, a focus on popular music is increasingly apparent among Australia’s symphony orchestras.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts