Carmel High School graduate to guest conduct at film composer tribute


Evan Cooper was ready to guest conduct Indiana Wind Symphony’s tribute to legendary film composer John Williams in September 2022.

But IWS Music Director Charles Conrad needed emergency eye surgery and the concert was postponed about 10 days before it was set. Now Cooper, a 2005 Carmel High School graduate and Franklin Central High School director of bands, will get a second shot as the IWS is set to present the Williams tribute at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

“I’m thrilled to finally get to conduct these great works by such a great composer,” Cooper said. “Like John Williams’ music, there is building suspense and energy as an ensemble prepares for a concert. The excitement peaks at the performance where the ensemble lets loose all the energy spent in preparation — the focus, hours of practice, time spent on the study of the music. A unique sense of accomplishment and pride can be enjoyed by everyone in the room. Unfortunately, a canceled concert stifles the energy of the preparation. Fortunately, on the 26th, we’ll be able to finally unleash the music and play a great concert for those in attendance.”

Cooper conduct Harry Potter’s “Symphonic Suite” and “The Raider March” from “The Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

“I have very fond memories of watching Indiana Jones on his adventures when I was younger,” Cooper said. “My cousin and I would love wearing hats like his and diving around the living room furniture trying to escape the bad guys. My wife and I are definitely Harry Potter fans. We love the books, the movies, the theme park, the trivia nights, the costumes — anything Harry Potter. It’s special to conduct the John WIlliams melodies, not only from the movies, but the soundtrack to many of my most fond memories.”

Cooper also will direct “Summon the Heroes” from the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Conrad will direct the rest of the concert, which includes music from “Star Wars,” “Jaws,” “Superman” and “Schindler’s List.”

Cooper subbed at trombone for IWS a few years ago, and then in the summer of 2022 he filled in on trombone for most of IWS’ summer concert series.

“Playing at the Carmel Gazebo was particularly a unique and special experience,” Cooper said.

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