Omaha Symphony Shows Off Their Superpowers


May 27th, 2016

Omaha, NE — It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s the Omaha Symphony!

Ernest Richardson, Resident Conductor at the Omaha Symphony.

Ernest Richardson, Resident Conductor at the Omaha Symphony.

The Omaha Symphony will present Superheroes! on Saturday, May 28th, at 7:30 p.m. inside the Holland Performing Arts Center. Led by Omaha Symphony Principal Pops Conductor Ernest Richardson, Superheroes! will feature music from the biggest comic book heroes on the big screen. Selections include John Williams’ Superman suite from the films starring Christopher Reeve, Danny Elfman’s Batman theme from the Tim Burton-directed films, and scores from the recent crop of Marvel superhero films, including Spider-Man 2, The Avengers, Thor, Captain America, X-Men, and many more. The professional chorus Résonance will be featured on several selections as well.


Conductor Ernest Richardson talked with KVNO about the quality of compositions the symphony will perform this weekend.


“The composers that write this music are amazing,” Richardson said. “They are as specific with their dynamic indications and how they want the orchestra to play as any composer. As for the interpretation of the score, a lot of that material is already there and it’s not necessarily part of the process to see the movies and understand the score from that perspective because it’s so carefully crafted. We’re interpreting the music the way we would interpret any symphonic piece.”


Richardson said listening to superhero music gives off a sense of power and nobility in the major chords while minor chords give off the impression of darker, more villainous tones. Moreover, each composer, even the more famous ones like John Williams and Danny Elfman, has their own unique craft when it comes to making film music.


“They come at music from different perspectives,” Richardson said. “John Williams comes at film music from a really schooled, classical orchestration background. You can see in the history of orchestral music the sounds that he has in his imagination. You can hear in the orchestrations where he comes from. He’s firmly rooted in this late-Romanticism so we hear the sound of Prokofiev or Shostakovitch. We hear these great orchestral sound. Elfman comes from more of a rock and roll background. His music is more driven by that kind of sound and then expanded to orchestra. The orchestrator, the guy that takes the music and writes it out for orchestra, has to take those different styles and put them into a symphonic sound.”


Richardson said that the music is like another character in a film. With the power of song, you’ve suddenly been told a story when no words were spoken and no scene was changed. He said this type of program is a great way for area residents to experience the Omaha Symphony for the first time.


“The thing that I love about movie music is that people are hearing symphonic music and just don’t know it,” he said. “There’s a certain power to a symphony orchestra. People have seen these movies and they love them so when they come to a concert, even if they’ve never been to the Holland, they’ve heard the soundtrack in their imagination. When they actually hear it live and say, ‘Man, that sounds just like the movie I saw,’ it’s an amazing revelation. If we can get people into the hall and hear the sound of their Omaha Symphony, we believe that experience will be so powerful that they will keep coming back.”


The Omaha Symphony’s performance of Superheroes! will be this Saturday, May 28th, at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a superhero-themed costume contest for any audience members dressed up as their favorite heroes or villains. For more information on the show, visit

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