Half the world is about to hear Gustavo Dudamel conduct, though probably few will know it.
The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times are reporting that composer John Williams invited Dudamel in October to direct part of the soundtrack to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which opens Thursday. The music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic was brought into the studio “in secret,” the publications say.
“When John called and asked if I would conduct the opening music and closing credits for this historic film, I remember thinking, ‘He’s joking,’” Dudamel said in a prepared statement released to the papers. He was told that he couldn’t tell anyone about it.
Dudamel, who composed the film score to “The Liberator,” is a self-described big fan of Williams’ music and conducted an entire program of it to open the Philharmonic’s 2014-15 season. Williams was a guest then, and took a turn leading the orchestra himself. The concert was later broadcast on PBS.
Will Dudamel be a credited conductor on the soundtrack album, sure to be a bestseller? Neither paper makes it clear.
Update: Saw the movie. Dudamel gets a “Special Guest Conductor” credit.