Utah Symphony preps for concert of ‘Jurassic’ proportions

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – As films go, Jurassic Park is almost universally considered a classic – and so is its iconic musical score by John Williams, which the Utah Symphony will perform in a live film concert at USANA Amphitheatre in West Valley City Saturday. Friday, the symphony held one of only two rehearsals for the event.

“It’s very difficult, technically,” says Conner Gray Covington, associate conductor of the Utah Symphony, of Williams’ score. The film, which premiered in 1993, opened to critical and box office acclaim. Now, at 25 years old, the Jurassic Park universe continues to entertain audiences with a series of sequels. But for many, nothing compares to the original film – bolstered by Williams’ music. 

For the 25th anniversary of the movie, the Utah Symphony will play the entire score from the start of the film to the end of the credits, and they’ll do it live. 

Covington received a flash drive copy of the film, which he plays on an iPad as he conducts the symphony. The woodwinds and brass sections do the most work throughout the film – typical of many John Williams scores, Covington said. 

A series of “click” sounds in Covington’s earbuds signal it’s time to prepare for the next musical number.

“That gives me the tempo,” he said. “It’s very different than how I was trained to conduct.”

The music, which comes with one of the most memorable themes in film history, is rehearsed by the professional musicians at home. On the day before and the day of the performance, they are mostly prepared – and it’s time to iron out the kinks. 

The score is not unfamiliar to these musicians. In August, selections from Jurassic Park and other John Williams scores were performed at Deer Valley Music Festival. 

The symphony, which performs Mahler, Bernstein and Beethoven frequently, occasionally puts on these live film concerts. Over the last year, the Utah Symphony has performed the scores from La La Land, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Harry Potter

“To see this movie…the score was always wonderful,” says Covington. “But when you get that extra amount of energy from the live orchestra that’s on stage…there’s nothing else like it.”

Upcoming concerts planned include Star Wars and Ghostbusters. 

Tickets are still available for Jurassic Park in concert with the Utah Symphony. It will be performed Saturday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. at USANA Amphitheatre in West Valley City. 

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