Jaws in 1975

Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss in a promotional for the 1975 movie Jaws.

Courtesy Everett Collection

Jaws is coming ashore. The 1975 thriller from Steven Spielberg that has terrorized beachgoers for the last four decades in part because of John Williams’ heart-pounding theme, becomes the duo’s fourth blockbuster to arrive in symphony halls as a live-to-picture experience. 

Jaws In Concert, which will feature an orchestra playing Williams’ iconic score as the film unspools, will have its world premiere at the Boston Pops Orchestra (which Williams famously helmed from 1980-1993) next summer with Keith Lockhart conducting.

Produced by Film Concerts Live!, a joint venture between IMG Artists and The Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency, Jaws In Concert follows Film Concerts Live’s productions of E.T The Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of The Lost Ark, and Jurassic Park In Concert into symphony halls around the world. 

“Since the advent of Film Concerts Live, Jaws has been one of the titles orchestras have expressed the most excitement about,” says FCL co-producer Jamie Richardson. “It’s not only a testament to the power and timelessness of Steven’s masterful film, but also to the iconic nature of John’s score, which certainly includes one of the most immediately recognizable themes in the history of the movies, perhaps even in the history of music. Perhaps more than with any other movie, the orchestra itself acts as a character in this film, not merely underscoring the action and emotion, but actually becoming ‘the voice’ of the shark itself.” Indeed, Williams’ score ranks at the sixth greatest film score of all time, according to the American Film Institute.

As Richardson, who works with fellow FCL producer Steve Linder, notes, Williams’ concert arrangements of Jaws’ main title theme and the “Shark Cage Fugue” have been available for orchestras to perform for many years. “But this is the first time the entire Jaws score will be played before live audiences,” Richardson says.

“It’s thrilling for both Steven and me to realize that this unique film still captures the imagination of viewers after so many years, and that audiences now can enjoy the movie live in concert, accompanied by a great orchestra,” said Williams in a statement. “This is the greatest possible reward for the joyous and fun-filled task of making it.”

Though Williams is not composing any new music for the live concert presentation, there is approximately five minutes from the original music composed for the film that was not used. That music will be restored specifically for the new live presentation, says Richardson.

FCL has several other live-to-picture productions out, including Star Trek Live, Star Trek Into Darkness Live, Back To The Future in Concert, and Home Alone in Concert.