John Williams re-writes Star Wars as a stirring violin solo for ‘The Acolyte’ star Amandla Stenberg

22 May 2024, 14:44

John Williams wrote a special violin arrangement of his epic ‘Star Wars’ theme for Amandla Stenberg.
John Williams wrote a special violin arrangement of his epic ‘Star Wars’ theme for Amandla Stenberg. Picture: Getty / Disney+

By Siena Linton

The ‘Star Wars’ franchise’s newest star is also a keen violinist – so movie music legend John Williams re-arranged his epic movie theme for solo violin, just for her.

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When launching a new television series as part of the Star Wars franchise, there’s only one way to celebrate: with the inimitable soundtrack of film music legend, John Williams.

Award-winning actor and singer Amandla Stenberg is the star of a new TV series in the Star Wars franchise, The Acolyte, and is also a keen violinist. In anticipation of the series launch, Amandla performed a stirring rendition of John Williams’ ‘Force’ theme, also known as ‘Binary Sunset’, arranged specially for her by the composer himself.

Posting the video of her performance to social media, Stenberg said that music played a key role in helping her get to grips with her character, Mae. “Music is always where I start when building a character,” she wrote.

“I got to spend months inside of the Star Wars scores while filming, developing a love like so many across the world for ‘Binary Sunset’ in particular.”

Performing at the newly-named John Williams Music Building on Sony Pictures’ historic Culver City lot in Los Angeles, Stenberg described it as “a once in a lifetime experience, and it’s something that I’ll hold forever”.

Stenberg also told the video’s viewers: “I don’t think that you can love Star Wars without loving the Star Wars score.”

Read more: John Williams conducts magical ‘Harry Potter’ in front of illuminated Hogwarts Castle

Amandla Stenberg plays Star Wars on violin

Amandla Stenberg’s first foray into classical music came when she was offered free after-school violin lessons in the third grade – around eight or nine – as part of a free music education initiative by the LA school district, who she thanked in her post.

She wrote: “I will never forget how consumed by wonder my tiny soul was when I played in an orchestra— the magic of being responsible for this puzzle piece that when combined with a room of swelling sounds and feeling hearts became something so large and powerful it felt supernatural. That was when music became my favorite thing in the world.”

Stenberg said she left the violin behind for a little while as a teenager, but her love for music was rekindled when her family found her grandfather’s old violin, which she has been playing ever since.

“This was one of the greatest honors of my life,” Stenberg said of the opportunity, thanking her music teachers, the studio engineers, and John Williams.

Williams, she wrote, “has the ability to distill the most profound emotions and worlds into the simplest most compelling beautiful melodies, which is mastery.”