History was made at the Oscars this year when Hildur Gudnadottir became the first woman to win an Oscar for a dramatic composition since the Academy combined all the score categories. That got us thinking about other famous Oscar-winning composers, and which scores are great to play on the piano.
Of course, John Williams is the king of original movie scores. He’s received more than 50 Oscar nominations (more than any other living composer) and won five Oscars for his original scores.
Williams won his first Oscar in 1972 for his original music in the film adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof and continued racking up the trophies. We decided to round up some of the best John Williams scores to play on the piano so you can impress your friends at your next Oscars party.
Let’s start with the newest nominated song on the block! John Williams received his 59th Oscar nomination for the last Star Wars movie, and rightfully so! It’s a beautiful blend of new music and revisions of previous themes from other Star Wars movies.
While the soundtrack was recorded with a 102-piece freelance orchestra and a 100-voice chorale, you can play some of the best scores on your piano!
Some of the best known Star Wars songs from the saga include the Imperial March and The Force Theme. There’s also the main Star Wars Theme song that translates well to the piano. It’s relatively easy to find Star Wars sheet music for nearly every skill level, and everyone loves a good Imperial March!
It’s surprising that, though it’s the second biggest film franchise of all-time, the Harry Potter films never won an Oscar (though the movies received 12 nominations across the eight movies). These movies—and the soundtracks—are beloved by millions. John Williams again wrote original music that ranges from lighthearted and upbeat to terrifying and dark!
Arguably one of the most famous scores from the Harry Potter movies for young pianists is Hedwig’s Theme. Others will probably enjoy Double Trouble (from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and other compilations available for beginner and intermediate pianists.
This early 1990’s science fiction classic is based on the Michael Crichton novel and thrilled audiences around the world. While John Williams didn’t win any awards for his Jurassic Park music scores (some speculate that’s because it was overshadowed by his musical masterpiece he wrote for Schindler’s List the same year), the Jurassic Park theme song is a great piece to learn for the piano.
Some have described the theme song as “an instant old friend.” Somehow Williams managed to capture the enormous dinosaurs in music. There are a wide variety of renditions of this majestic theme song for pianists and you’re sure to win over any audience (dinosaur and human alike).
John Williams composed original scores for all four Indiana Jones movies (and many other films by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg). The Indiana Jones movies have one of the most well-known and loved theme songs! There are a host of variations to the theme (also called the “Raider’s March”) for pianists at every skill level.
Now you’re ready to impress your friends and family with Oscar-nominated and winning music scores! Don’t forget to contact Moore Piano for all your piano needs. We’re always ready to help pianists at every level, from beginners to Oscar-nominee status.