Tom Hooten | Photo by Rob Shanahan

LA Phil Principal Trumpet Thomas Hooten says he can’t remember exactly when he first met composer John Williams. He says it was probably at the Hollywood Bowl during his first season with the orchestra at the annual series of concerts John Williams conducts there each summer.

Regardless, Hooten says, he has been a fan of Williams’ music his whole life. A couple of years ago, Hooten recorded a solo on the album John Williams & Steven Spielberg: The Ultimate Collection. During a break in the session, Hooten mentioned to Williams that he was playing Williams’ Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra in Nagoya, Japan, one of Los Angeles’ sister cities.

“I said to him in passing,” Hooten told me in a recent interview at the KUSC studios, “’It would be great if I could record this [concerto].’” After the recording session, Hooten says he received a letter from John Williams which said, “If an opportunity to record this should present itself, that would be wonderful.” Hooten says, “I sort of took it as, ‘There, there, young man. Good luck.’”

But luck doesn’t produce albums, hard work does. So, Hooten decided to crowd-fund and self-produce his own recording of Williams’ concerto. Once the funding was in place, Williams himself signed on to conduct the session. The recording was released on March 8th and debuted at #1 on the iTunes classical chart!

Below are some excerpts from my conversation with Thomas Hooten about his new recording of the Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra, by John Williams.

On how the recording came together:

On what the music sounds like:

On the musical language differences between John William’s film scores and concert works:

You can find out more about where to listen to or purchase Hooten Plays Williams here.

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