'Memoirs of a Geisha'

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Violinist Itzhak Perlman to be Featured Soloists in John Williams' Original Score for Film Version of 'Memoirs of a Geisha'

Sony Classical CD to be Released November 22, 2005

Starring Ziyi Zhang, Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li and Ken Watanabe, 'Memoirs of a Geisha,' Directed by Academy Award® Nominee Rob Marshall, Opens in Theaters Nationwide on December 9, 2005


Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman both will be soloists in five-time Oscar winner John Williams' original musical score for "Memoirs of a Geisha," the Dreamworks/Columbia Pictures film based on Arthur Golden's best-selling novel. Directed by Oscar nominee Rob Marshall ("Chicago"), the film stars Ziyi Zhang and Michelle Yeoh -- both of whom became international sensations in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" -- Gong Li ("Farewell My Concubine," "Raise the Red Lantern"), and Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe ("The Last Samurai"). Sony Classical will release the film's original soundtrack recording on Tuesday, November 22, 2005, and "Memoirs of a Geisha" will open in theaters nationwide December 9, 2005.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20051025/NYTU016 )

Based on the internationally acclaimed novel by Arthur Golden, "Memoirs of a Geisha" is a sweeping romantic epic set in a mysterious and exotic world that still casts a potent spell today. The story begins in the years before WWII when a penniless Japanese child is torn from her family to work as a maid in a geisha house. Despite a treacherous rival who nearly breaks her spirit, the girl blossoms into the legendary geisha Sayuri (Ziyi Zhang). Beautiful and accomplished, Sayuri captivates the most powerful men of her day, but is haunted by her secret love for the one man who is out of her reach (Ken Watanabe). Directed by Rob Marshall and produced by Lucy Fisher, Douglas Wick and Steven Spielberg, the film's screenplay was adapted by Robin Swicord and Doug Wright.

John Williams' original score for "Memoirs of a Geisha" is another chapter in his long and distinguished collaboration with Steven Spielberg, who is one of the film's producers. Both Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman have collaborated previously with Williams on film scores and recordings. Ma was featured as soloist in Williams' score for "Seven Years in Tibet" (1997). He also recorded a CD of Williams' concert music entitled "Yo-Yo Ma Plays the Music of John Williams" (2002) that features the premiere recording of Williams' Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, composed for Ma. Perlman performed the violin solos for Williams' Oscar-winning score for "Schindler's List" (1993) and later recreated his performance of this theme with Williams and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as part of the Sony Classical recording "Cinema Serenade" (1997).

"I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to compose a musical score for Rob Marshall's film, 'Memoirs of a Geisha,'" Williams says. "For years I've admired Arthur Golden's remarkable book and it has been a wish come true to collaborate with my friends Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman on this extraordinary film."

"It is rare that you have the opportunity to work with so many people you admire on one project. John Williams sent me a copy of Arthur Golden's extraordinary book when it was first released and I have been a fan ever since. Working with John Williams and Itzhak Perlman on John's poetic and mysterious score for Rob Marshall's film 'Memoirs of a Geisha' was a dream come true." -- Yo-Yo Ma

"As with all of John Williams' film scores, his music for 'Geisha' is in sync with the contents of the film to such an extent that you cannot have one without the other." -- Itzhak Perlman

A five-time Oscar winner who has received a remarkable 43 nominations to date, Williams earlier this year completed his celebrated collaboration with filmmaker George Lucas on the "Star Wars" films with the release of "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" and the film's original soundtrack recording on Sony Classical. In 2005 alone, the prolific Williams also was responsible for the original score for Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" and will compose the music for Spielberg's upcoming film "Munich," about the 1972 Olympics massacre, scheduled for release in December.

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SOURCE: Sony Classical New York

CONTACT: Doreen D'Agostino, Sr. Director of Publicity of Sony BMG
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