RELEASE: The Star Wars saga continues as the Omaha Symphony performs John Williams’ riveting score to the 1980 sequel, The Empire Strikes Back

Media Contact:

Daniela Volkovinsky

Communications Manager

Office: 402.661.8422

The film will be screened in its entirety as the orchestra performs the score

OMAHA, Neb., May 5, 2022— You do not need to travel to a galaxy far, far away to experience one of the most beloved film franchises of all time. The Omaha Symphony will perform John Williams’ Academy Award®-winning score to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back while the film is projected in its entirety on Friday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for this event are almost sold out.

Led by Principal Pops Conductor Ernest Richardson, fans of this galaxy-wide phenomenon will be able to enjoy a live-to-picture performance of the film that brought us iconic pop culture moments such as the Imperial March, Yoda, and one of the most unexpected plot twists in cinematic history.

Although initially met with mixed reviews, Empire is now regarded as a favorite for many Star Wars fans and movie buffs alike and was nominated for various awards including two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA, and others. It was the highest grossing film in 1980 (the year of its release) and if adjusting for inflation, this film is the thirteenth highest-grossing film of all time in the United States and Canada.

To complement this galactic experience, the 501st Legion, a volunteer organization sporting screen-accurate Star Wars™ universe costumes, will patrol the Holland Center. While blasters and lightsabres need to be left at home, we highly encourage bringing as much of the Force as your midi-chlorians allow. And to enhance the event even further, Bassoons Across Nebraska, a chamber group of bassoonists from the Omaha and Lincoln Symphony Orchestras, will serenade the audiences in the lobby of the Holland before the show on both nights – so come early to get the full experience!

Performance Details:

Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Holland Performing Arts Center Peter Kiewit Concert Hall

Ernest Richardson, conductor

About Ernest Richardson

Ernest Richardson is presently the principal pops conductor and resident conductor of the Omaha Symphony. Since 1993, he has laid the groundwork for and led in the development of the Omaha Symphony’s vaunted education and community engagement programs. In addition to his artistic leadership in the creation of the annual top-selling Christmas Celebration production and internationally performed "Only in Omaha" productions, he leads the successful Symphony Pops, Symphony Rocks, and Movies Series. The highly successful Family Series was created under his artistic leadership, and he is one of the visionary forces behind the innovative Symphony Joslyn Series. As chief architect of the Omaha Symphony’s education and community engagement programs, Richardson has been at the forefront of crafting the vision for the programs and their impact on the community. The pivotal point in his leadership can be traced to the first education report written in the beginning of his tenure with the Omaha Symphony. This report paved the way for the structure, function and programming of the education department leading to innovations in all programming including the creation of Choral Collaborative, Celebrate Creativity, Music Alive!, the Family Series, and Mission: Imagination.

Richardson holds the position of music director and principal conductor of the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Under his leadership this organization has grown from a community orchestra to a resident professional orchestra. As one of the up-and-coming orchestras in the Front Range of Colorado, the Steamboat Symphony attracts the area's finest musicians. A recipient of the 2016 Nebraska Governor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Arts Education, Richardson has encouraged and supported countless young musicians.

As the founding artistic director and CEO of the innovative Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory, the program is based on four foundational principles that catapulted the program to national attention: the passionate, persistent pursuit of perfection can reveal the extraordinary within us; vision-directed leadership; the musician as athlete; and in all things – balance. Since 1997, this concept has attracted the finest faculty and leading young musicians from around the world. Graduates from the program are teaching, performing, and leading arts organizations throughout the country. From 2012 through 2015, Richardson held the position of music director and principal conductor for the Santa Barbara Music and Arts Conservatory. He also enjoys engaging with and training students in the Omaha Conservatory of Music Summer Institute.

An accomplished composer and arranger, Richardson composed the symphonic work Three Scenes for Chamber Orchestra, which was debuted by the Omaha Symphony in 2011. His works are featured largely in the annual Christmas production and on many education and outreach programs. His compositions and arrangements for orchestra have been performed by the Neue Philharmonie Westfalen in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, by the Phoenix Chamber Players, Phoenix Symphony, Steamboat Symphony Orchestra, the orchestras of Omaha Conservatory of Music and elsewhere throughout the United States.

Richardson began studying the violin at the age of three with his father, Dr. Vernal Richardson. He continued his string education at Indiana University with Tadeusz Wronski, later concentrating on the viola at the University of Michigan with Donald McInnes. He studied conducting with Samuel Krachmalnick and Gustav Meier. While attending the University of Michigan, Richardson also studied composition with William Albright and William Bolcom.

An avid fly fisherman, Richardson can be found on trout streams in Colorado and municipal lakes in Nebraska. He has also earned a black belt in tae kwon do. He has been known to help his sons build award-winning pinewood derby cars and craft his own batons. He lives in Omaha with his wife and children.

Ticketing Information

Tickets for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert start at $20. Tickets can be purchased by visiting, through the Ticket Omaha app, or by calling Ticket Omaha at 402.345.0606. Student rush tickets are $10 and can be purchased one hour before the performance. Performance dates are subject to change. In the event of performance changes or cancellations, the Omaha Symphony will email ticket holders to inform them of new dates and ticketing options. Patrons with questions may email The Omaha Symphony also regularly posts performance updates at, along with the Omaha Symphony’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. Patrons can sign up for the latest updates at

STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © & TM

Thank you to our Movies Series sponsor UNMC and our May concert sponsors Streck and CHI Health.

The Omaha Symphony is a non-profit organization that presents more than 100 live orchestral performances from September through June. In addition to Masterworks, Symphony Pops, Symphony Rocks, Movies, Symphony Joslyn, and Family series concerts, the Omaha Symphony’s nationally recognized education and community engagement programs touch the lives of more than 40,000 people each year. For tickets or information regarding the Omaha Symphony, call 402.345.0606 or visit Programs, artists, dates, times, prices, and availability are subject to change.

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