Today at Tanglewood, John Williams premiered a new concert piece for harp, cello, and orchestra: Highwood’s Ghost. I was working on a story for the Washington Post pegged to the concert that, unfortunately, got pulled due to not being able to line up an interview with… well, its subject. It would have been about the concert/classical “side career” of John Williams—the nature and quality of that work compared to his film music, and whether or not he feels he’s been respected by the classical establishment.
As I was pursuing it, though, I spoke to both Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma—the latter, who played the cello part today, at length. Ma was in Chicago at the time, preparing for a concert and doing work for his initiative, Notes for Peace, an artistic response to the city’s gang violence. He generously gave me so much of his time, and some really lovely, optimistic, Mr. Rogers-inspired insights into my favorite composer. I had to make sure people could enjoy it… so, enjoy!