John Williams

The 2016-2017 Scottish Rite Cathedral series season wraps up with a bang as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Assistant Conductor Andrés Franco take the audience to worlds beyond imagination with “The Music of John Williams” on May 5 at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in New Castle, Pennsylvania.

Franco will lead the orchestra in a rousing, heart-pounding night of music from legendary composer John Williams. The evening includes music from “Harry Potter,” “Far and Away,” “Star Wars” — including music from “The Force Awakens” — “Hook,” “Superman” and “Indiana Jones.” Patrons are welcome to attend the concert in costume.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 5. Tickets, ranging in price from $16 to $59, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or visiting

The Scottish Rite Cathedral will offer a pre-concert buffet dinner before each Pittsburgh Symphony concert from 6 to 7 p.m. The cost is $22 per person and reservations are required. Call 724-654-6683 (option 3 then option 2) or email for reservations or more information.

The Pittsburgh Symphony’s Send Students to the Symphony program at the Scottish Rite Cathedral is supported, in part, by The Almira Foundation, the May Emma Hoyt Foundation, and the Nordson Corporation Foundation.

About the Artists

Franco, Andres_webHaving completed highly successful first seasons as music director of Tulsa’s Signature Symphony at TCC, as well as assistant conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, ANDRÉS FRANCO has established himself as a conductor to watch.

While maintaining his roles as principal conductor of the multimedia project Caminos del Inka, and artistic director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s summer festival “Concerts in the Garden,” he continues to delight audiences with his imaginative programming and energetic style. During the 2016-2017 season, Franco will make debuts with the Boise Philharmonic, Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Texas Music Festival, and will return to conduct the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

A frequent guest conductor in the United States, Europe and South America, Franco has appeared with the Columbus, Elgin, El Paso, Eugene, Fort Worth, Houston, Lake Forest, Mississippi, Saginaw Bay, Springfield, St. Louis and Stockton symphony orchestras; the Chicago Sinfonietta; Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León/Spain; the National Symphony Orchestra of Peru, as well as with the National Symphony, Bogota Philharmonic, Medellin Philharmonic and EAFIT Symphony Orchestra in Colombia.  Festival appearances include the Cabrillo, Grant Park, OK Mozart and Oregon Bach Festivals.

Franco formerly served as music director of the Philharmonia of Kansas City, as associate and resident conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony, and as Leonard Slatkin’s assistant conductor during the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

A native of Colombia, Franco is dedicated to preserving and performing the music of the Americas. As principal conductor of Caminos del Inka, he has led many performances of works by Latin American composers, such as Jimmy López, Diego Luzuriaga and the famous Argentine composer Ástor Piazzolla. Born into a musical family, Franco began piano studies with his father, Jorge Franco. An accomplished pianist, he studied with Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Jose Feghali, and attended piano workshops with Rudolph Buchbinder in Switzerland, and Lev Naumov in France.  He studied conducting with Marin Alsop, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Kurt Masur, Gustav Meier, Helmut Rilling, Gerard Schwarz and Leonard Slatkin.

Franco holds a bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, as well as master of music degrees in piano performance and conducting from Texas Christian University. Franco is married to Victoria Luperi, associate principal clarinetist in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

The PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, known for its artistic excellence for more than 120 years, is credited with a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. Past music directors have included Fritz Reiner (1938-1948), William Steinberg (1952-1976), André Previn (1976-1984), Lorin Maazel (1984-1996) and Mariss Jansons (1995-2004).  This tradition of outstanding international music directors was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony. The orchestra has been at the forefront of championing new American works, and gave the first performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 “Jeremiah” in 1944 and John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine in 1986. The Pittsburgh Symphony has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. Its “Pittsburgh Live!” series with Reference Recordings has resulted in back-to-back Grammy Award nominations in 2015 and 2016. As early as 1936, the Pittsburgh Symphony broadcast on the airwaves coast-to-coast and in the late 1970s it made the ground breaking PBS series “Previn and the Pittsburgh.” The orchestra has received increased national attention since 1982 through network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International, produced by Classical WQED-FM 89.3, made possible by the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. With a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900 — including international tours to Europe, the Far East and South America—the Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest orchestras.

Editors Please Note:

Friday, May 5, at 8 p.m.
Scottish Rite Cathedral, New Castle
ANDRÉS FRANCO, conductor

John Williams:

“Raiders March” from Raiders of the Lost Ark

Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind

March from Superman

“Flight to Neverland” from Hook

“Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“Harry’s Wondrous World” from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s STone


“Main Title” from Star Wars

“March of the Resistance” from Star Wars: The Force Awakens

“Yoda’s Theme” from Star Wars

“Scherzo for X-Wings” from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

“Rey’s Theme” from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

“Battle of the Heroes” from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

“Princess Leia’s Theme” from Star Wars

“Throne Room and End Title” from Star Wars

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