Star Wars miniseries score features strings by violinist Brandon James Ehnes
Like a life star wars fan, Brandon-born violinist James Ehnes is thrilled to have his name attached to the new Obi Wan Kenobi miniseries, slated to debut on Disney+ on May 27.
Ehnes said the show’s composer, Natalie Holt, admired his work and floated the idea that they should collaborate after the couple finally met late last year.
While the project was initially shrouded in secrecy, Ehnes eventually discovered that Holt had been hired to compose the score for the latest live-action star wars series, and he was more than happy to travel to Los Angeles in March to lend his expertise.
“The timing worked beautifully,” he says over the phone. “I actually had a gig in Orange County (California) that night, but during the day I went to Fox studios where they did the score and spent the day there- down and had a great time.”
The plot of Obi Wan Kenobi takes place a decade after the events of Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, where the titular Jedi Knight (played by Ewan McGregor) is drawn into an adventure as he watches over a young Luke Skywalker on the planet Tatooine.
In addition to presenting the return of star wars former actors such as McGregor and Hayden Christensen, the show also includes new music from composer John Williams, whose work has defined the sci-fi franchise since its inception in 1977.
For Ehnes, working alongside industry heavyweights such as Williams, Holt and orchestrator Pete Anthony made this project a special experience.
“Not just because it was star wars and all that, but because I was working with this great composer and this beautiful music, with these other great musicians in the orchestra.”
While in the studio, Ehnes led the string section and even provided some solo work, Holt later recounting vanity lounge that these “emotional violin themes” will play an important role in the first episode of the series.
Although Ehnes isn’t sure how much of his music will make the final cut, the 46-year-old is glad he was able to tap into his “inner nerddom” after watching star wars movies from childhood.
“It’s funny how I grew up with the original trilogy, then the next three (films) came out when I was in college, then the last three came out because I was a father and my kids are in star wars,” he said.
“So it’s been a part of my whole life, and it’s been really, really fun. So even though it’s a small part, it’s kind of cool.”
While Ehnes’ work on Obi Wan Kenobi is not his first collaboration on film and television projects, he is best known for his public performances.
After playing with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra at the age of 13, Ehnes has since served in the string section of various renowned orchestras, from Boston to Vienna to Prague.
Despite a long hiatus from in-person performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ehnes is currently touring Europe and rediscovering her love for craftsmanship one show at a time.
“Wherever you go there’s been a slightly different vibe in terms of recovering from COVID and all that,” he said. “But playing again with full orchestras in full houses, that’s my wheelhouse. So that’s what I really enjoyed, coming back to that.”
Outside of his public performances, Ehnes’ recorded work has earned him a variety of industry accolades, including two Grammys, 11 Junos, and a 2021 Gramophone Award for Artist of the Year.
— Brandon’s Sun