Troy University director adapts "Indiana Jones" score for bands

Posted: Tuesday, 16 December 2008

TROY—Ralph Ford knows the music of famed movie score composer John Williams as well as any composer around. He has studied it for years from a unique vantage point.

Williams is known worldwide for writing the scores for dozens of Hollywood’s finest and highest-profile movies, such as the “Star Wars” films, “Superman” and “Schindler’s List.”

Ford, the Director of Bands at Troy University, has the job of taking Williams’ score and adapting it for bands of all levels. Ford has arranged Williams’ work ranging from “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” to the “Harry Potter” series. Ford’s latest project is arranging the score from “Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Ford’s music is published exclusively by Belwin, a division of Alfred Publications (formerly Warner Brothers Publications) where he serves as staff composer/arranger with over 180 publications for concert band, orchestra, jazz ensemble, and marching band currently available worldwide.

“I always want to be careful when I am asked about this type of work,” Ford said. “I am certainly not collaborating with John Williams on a movie score. What I do is adapt what John Williams writes for different levels of bands, so when you hear, for example, a middle school band playing a John Williams tune, you might be hearing my arrangement.”

Ford began adapting Williams’ scores in 1999, when he and former TROY Director of Bands Robert W. Smith—now a member of the University’s faculty of the John M. Long School of Music—collaborated to arrange the music from “Phantom Menace.”

Ford said his work with Williams’ “masterpieces” is “incredibly rewarding.”

“I am able to see it (the music) and see how the overall production works,” Ford said. “It’s exciting to work with John Williams’ music, which has a natural appeal to me.”

A Troy University graduate, Ford has served as Director of Bands since 2001 and he joined the TROY faculty in 1986.