San Diego Symphony names Oscar, Emmy winner Bill Conti as Principal Pops Conductor

Oscar and five-time Emmy Award-winner, Bill Conti, the composer of the 1983 Academy Award-winning, The Right Stuff, including Best Original Score, has been named as principal pops conductor of the San Diego Symphony.  Conti’s first performance of his three-year contract will be the Star-Spangled Pops over the Fourth of July Weekend 2013.  This patriotic-themed musical extravaganza is part of the Symphony’s popular Summer Pops Series that takes place at its picturesque waterfront venue, Embarcadero Marina Park South.  As principal pops conductor, Conti will twice again be on the podium at historic Copley Symphony Hall for the orchestra’s City Lights Series, formerly known as the Winter Pops.

Conti’s big break came in 1976, when he was hired to compose the music for a small United Artists film called Rocky.  The film became a phenomenon, and Conti’s training montage tune and Oscar-nominated Best Original Song, Gonna Fly Now, topped the Billboard singles chart in 1977.  Conti also received a Grammy nomination for Gonna Fly Now for Best Original Score, with his work garnering two additional nominations for Best Instrumental Composition and Performance.

“I’m delighted to be joining the San Diego Symphony.  This is a great orchestra of which the city of San Diego can be extremely proud.  I performed with the Symphony here once before in January 2010 for a concert called A Night at the Academy Awards where we played many themes from Oscar-winning movies.  I’m looking forward to getting reacquainted with the musicians and getting to know the San Diego audiences,” Conti said.

Conti takes over the position of principal pops conductor previously held by the Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award-winning Marvin Hamlisch, who served in this role for six years and who passed away in August 2012.  Several of Conti’s other movie scores include The Karate Kid, The Thomas Crown Affair, Harry and Tonto, Private Benjamin, Gloria and An Unmarried Woman.  The score for the 1971 Oscar-winning Best Foreign language film, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, featured Conti at the piano.

For more details about the San Diego Symphony’s current 2012-2013 season, contact the box office at 619-235-0804 or log onto www.sandiegosymphony.com.

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