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The Music of John Williams with Gil Harel

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Perhaps no composer in the canon of cinematic music has had a more prolific career than John Williams. Indeed, over the past 7 decades, Williams’ music seems nearly ubiquitous in films spanning a veritable cornucopia of genres. What, can we surmise, is the secret to his success?

Among his many gifts as a composer, John Williams is a master of the musical leitmotif – melodic cells that provide an aural reference to a character, place, object, or idea in a given story. Whether capturing the looming threat of a menacing shark, a bicycle suspended against the backdrop of a moonlit firmament, imagination-defying colossal dinosaurs, or iconic lightsaber-wielding warriors, Williams has demonstrated an uncanny ability to craft infectious musical lines that seem perfectly suited to the material.

During this lecture, Professor Gil Harel will provide an analysis of several scores, demonstrating how his music is of paramount importance to the films they frame.

About Gil Harel

Gil Harel (PhD, Brandeis University) is a musicologist and composer whose interests include styles ranging from western art music to contemporary musical theater. Previously, he served on the faculty at CUNY Baruch College (where he was awarded the prestigious "Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching").

Currently, he is Full Professor of Music at CT State Naugatuck Valley, where he has been presented with the AFT "Merit Award for Exemplary Service to the College" for 6 consecutive years. In 2020, he was honored with the coveted Connecticut Board of Regents (BOR) Teaching Award. At Naugatuck Valley, Dr. Harel conducts the college chorale, a cappella ensemble, teaches music history and theory, and serves as musical director of theater productions.

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