Arts and Culture

Bob Bernhardt is the principal pops conductor for the Louisville Orchestra. And this year, he’s celebrating his 35th consecutive season there.

On Saturday, the orchestra will play his anniversary concert featuring mostly compositions by John Williams, famous for – among others – Star Wars and Harry Potter.

I spoke with Bernhardt about his dream concert, how he’s celebrating, and what kind of computer John Williams uses. Listen to our conversation in the audio player above.

On how an orchestra changes under different conductors:

“I think that is an enormous tribute to just how good this orchestra is, and frankly how good professional orchestra players have to be. This week is a perfect example. They did Yo-Yo Ma on Sunday, they are doing “Abduction (from the Seraglio)” with the Opera Friday night and Sunday afternoon, and sandwiched in the middle is John Williams.

“In the world of symphonic playing — I’m not sure this is a truism, but I’m going to say it anyway — Mozart and John Williams have lots in common, but also very much not in common.”

On his ‘dream concert’:

“I would put together a concert of my favorite instrumentalists, opera singers, Broadway singers and chorus numbers — and I would just do a Bob’s favorite things concert.”

On the kind of computer composer John Williams uses:

“The answer is ‘none.’ He does not have a computer. And that is my way of saying that every note you know — whether it is the “Olympic Fanfare,” or “E.T.” or “Jaws,” or his violin concerto — everything that he has written is with pencil on paper.”

Ashlie Stevens is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.