By April 30, 2023 Read More →

MSO The Empire Strikes Back in Concert



MODESTO, CA – The Modesto Symphony Orchestra (MSO), led by Principal Pops Conductor Ryan Murray, will perform Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert on Friday, June 2nd, 2023 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, June 3rd, 2023 at 2:00 pm at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto. Fans will be able to experience the scope and grandeur of the complete film with Oscar®-winning composer John Williams’ musical score performed live to film by the MSO.  


“We are so excited to finish our season with Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert,” says Caroline Nickel, President and CEO of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra. “The Star Wars franchise is beloved by so many, and we are thrilled to be able to present The Empire Strikes Back in its entirety with our full orchestra performing John Williams’ score live! This is one of the most iconic film scores ever composed and we guarantee you’ll have goosebumps when you see the opening titles with the full force of an orchestra performing live.” 

Since the release of the first Star Wars movie over 40 years ago, the Star Wars saga has had a seismic impact on cinema and culture, inspiring audiences worldwide with its mythic storytelling, captivating characters, groundbreaking special effects, and iconic musical scores composed by Williams.  


MODESTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert
Friday, June 2, 2023 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, June 3, 2023 at 2:00 pm 

Ryan Murray, conductor 


Gallo Center for the Arts, Mary Stuart Rogers Theater 

1000 I Street, Modesto 


Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert is produced under license by Disney Concerts in association with 20th Century Fox and Warner/Chappell Music. 


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 

Pricing: $ 19* / 29 / 39 / 49 / 69 / 94 

*$19 tickets are sold out! 

Tickets are available online through or through the Gallo Center for the Arts Ticket Office at (209) 338-2100. 

Group Prices available: Groups of 10+ receive a 15% discount on tickets. Call (209) 338-5064 for more information.  

Gallo Center Ticket Office Hours: Monday through Friday 10:00am-6:00pm / Saturday 12:00pm-6:00pm  


Ryan Murray
American conductor Ryan Murray has found steady acclaim as a compelling, dynamic and unflappable presence on the podium. Ryan is currently Principal Pops Conductor for the Modesto Symphony, Music Director of the Auburn Symphony, and Artistic Director of Music in the Mountains. An award-winning opera conductor, Ryan spent his early career working as an assistant conductor and répétiteur, and is currently the Music Director of Opera Modesto. He has served as an assistant conductor at the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, is the past Music Director of Fresno Grand Opera, and previously worked as a staff conductor for the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI) and The Opera Academy of California in San Francisco. Effortlessly moving between genres, Ryan currently enjoys a wide range of performance genres & platforms, including traditional orchestral and operatic repertoire, pops performances, movies in concert, and a notable emphasis on contemporary American operatic works. 


Ryan was the winner of the Vienna Philharmonic’s prestigious Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors, and spent the summer in residence alongside the Vienna Philharmonic at the 2014 Salzburg Festival. Ryan was also  awarded second place in the 2019 American Prize for Professional Orchestral Conducting for his work with the Modesto Symphony, and has garnered national recognition for his dynamic, compelling performances of contemporary opera as the winner of the 2017 American Prize in Opera Conducting for his highly lauded production of A Streetcar Named Desire. He was a 2016 semi-finalist for the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music for his production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. 


A charismatic pops conductor, Ryan has worked with prominent artists such as Storm Large of Pink Martini, SuperDiamond and the phenomenal symphonic tribute to David Bowie. He was recently engaged to step-in at the last minute as assistant and cover conductor for Andrea Bocelli’s Believe Tour with the Sacramento Philharmonic where he conducted rehearsals to acclaim. He has led some of the top vocalists from Broadway and beyond, including Ben Crawford (Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera), Ashley Brown (Broadway’s Mary Poppins), and Alli Mauzey (Glinda from Wicked), as well as some of today’s top young jazz vocalists including Tony DeSare and James Tormé. With an enthusiasm for film scores, Ryan enjoys the unique challenges of conducting movies in concert and was recently added the the Disney & ICM Approved Conductors list. Recent and upcoming performances include Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Pixar Animation Studios’ Pixar in Concert, Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. 


Ryan holds degrees, summa cum laude, in Bassoon Performance and Voice Performance from California State University, Sacramento and also holds a master’s degree, with distinction, in Music Business from the Berklee College of Music where he studied with industry professionals to develop tools for success in the modern music industry, including new technology, policy, law and finance. Ryan has a strong commitment to education and currently serves as the Director of Symphony Orchestra & Opera at California State University, Sacramento, and as the conductor for the Sacramento Youth Symphony’s premier orchestra. Driven by a lifelong passion for learning, Ryan has attended conducting masterclasses and seminars around the world. Ryan recently conducted the Romanian Chamber Orchestra in concert and was one of just eight conductors worldwide to be invited to the Musiikin aika Summer Festival Masterclass in Finland led by Susanna Mälkki. He has previously attended the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music’s Conductors Workshop; the contemporary music symposium led by Alan Gilbert featuring the New York Philharmonic; the Aurora Chamber Festival in Sweden, where he studied under Maestro Kurt Masur; the Lucerne Festival Academy’s Conducting Masterclass in Switzerland; and the Eastman School of Music’s Summer Conducting Institute. Widely praised for his tireless work ethic, natural poise, and impassioned, inspired performances, Ryan continues to connect deeply with orchestras and audiences alike, and has proven to be a formidable presence on the podium. 



Disney Concerts is the concert production and licensing division of Disney Music Group, the music arm of The Walt Disney Company. Disney Concerts produces concerts and tours, and licenses Disney music and visual content to symphony orchestras and presenters on a worldwide basis. Disney Concerts’ concert packages include a variety of formats, such as “live to picture” film concerts and themed instrumental and vocal compilation concerts, and range from instrumental-only symphonic performances to multimedia productions featuring live vocalists and choir. Current titles include the Star Wars Film Concert Series (Episodes IV-VII), Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Fantasia, Pixar In Concert, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Alice In Wonderland, Frozen, Ratatouille, The Pirates of the Caribbean series (Episodes I-IV), and Silly Symphonies, which last year collectively accounted for over 400 performances in many of the world’s top concert venues, including Lincoln Center, Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Tokyo Forum and the Hollywood Bowl. Numerous new concert packages and touring productions from Disney’s portfolio of studios, including Disney’s feature animation and live action studios, Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel, are currently in development. 

2022-23 SEASON PARTNER: Boyett Petroleum 

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