"For me as a violinist and as someone who's a lover of big orchestral sounds, it was just a chance to pay homage to John Williams. It's kind of a collaboration with the history of Star Wars and his new theme, and then also bringing a bit of modernity to it. […] I guess it was my take on orchestral and emotional. I really got some lovely violin solos in there from James Ehnes. It was pushing the forces of what I've been allowed to work with before because of the scale of the drama, as well."
―Natalie Holt, on her score for Obi-Wan Kenobi[3]

Natalie Holt is a British composer who scored the 2022 Obi-Wan Kenobi television series. An avid violinist and fan of Star Wars maestro John Williams' works, Holt took the opportunity of scoring Kenobi to pay homage to Williams' epic scores and further explore orchestral music while also experimenting with new sounds, introducing her personal touches to the Star Wars franchise.


"I watched the original trilogy with my dad when I was five years old. So the music from John Williams basically narrated my childhood: E.T., Raiders, Jurassic Park. So yeah, my starting point was just being a huge fan of the music for the show already. I'm a violinist and I come from an orchestral background, so I've been able to do something on an epic scale with these big forces."
―Natalie Holt[2]

A British composer for films and television series, Natalie Holt scored 2022's Obi-Wan Kenobi television series. For Kenobi, she met with its director, Deborah Chow, in London, spending two days watching a rough cut of the series to discuss its characters and events. Holt was also excited to collaborate,[2] albeit indirectly, with Star Wars maestro John Williams, who composed the main title suite[3] and the theme for the series' protagonist, the Jedi-in-exile Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi. Holt herself then set out to compose the full score, initially attempting to write a theme for Kenobi as well based on Chow's description of the character being lost and alone in the deserts. The composer thus began writing the score with the meager and fragmented sense of the character's presence in mind, developing the music as his journey progresses. In learning the ropes of what music best suits the series, Holt was grateful for the guidance of Chow and Lucasfilm's president, Kathleen Kennedy, as she found her own way into contributing to Star Wars while working on the Kenobi episodes, eventually getting into the flow of the project at about episode four.[3]

The Kenobi score includes themes for the stormtroopers,[3] individual characters, and the new planets that the series explores. In choosing distinctive sounds for each planet, Holt considered each world's character and incorporated different styles of music, such as Thai, Hong Kong, and Latin sounds, attempting to transform them to convey a sense of otherworldliness. While Holt brought in new elements to the Star Wars soundscape, she describes her score for Kenobi to be more rooted in the Star Wars tradition than Ludwig Göransson's score for the The Mandalorian television series. As a violinist, the composer wrote several emotional violin themes for Kenobi, and Holt took the opportunity to invite soloist James Ehnes to record some of the score.[2]

The score of Kenobi was recorded at the Newman Scoring Stage in Los Angeles, and includes Holt's own performance, playing the viola and the violin as well as singing.[2] In addition to orchestrator Pete Anthony,[4] Holt also worked alongside percussionist Brian Kilgore,[2] who introduced several percussion instruments.[5] The two experimented with the clashing and rhythmic texture of the percussion, and Holt further made use of synth sounds as well as a collection of 250 horns and flutes[2] belonging to Swedish folk flutist[3] Erik Rydvall, who played his nyckelharpas.[6] In particular, Holt employed a hunting horn, recording then reducing its pitch[3] for an effect that she considers "haunting." The composer recorded her score with Göransson's engineer, Chris Fogel, mixing the music at the studio of Göransson, whom Holt also had the pleasure of meeting.[2]

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Holt, Natalie: NatalieHolt.com. natalieholt.com. NatalieHolt.com. Archived from the original on March 12, 2022.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Breznican, Anthony: 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' Composer Natalie Holt Reveals "Haunting" Approach (2022-04-22). Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on April 22, 2022.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 White, Abbey: Obi-Wan Kenobi Composer on Creating Score for Disney+ Star Wars Series (04-05-2022). The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 4, 2022.
  4. TwitterLogo.svg Intermusica (@IntermusicaLtd) on Twitter: "Here is a picture of @JamesEhnes with score composer @filmmusicholt and orchestrator Pete Anthony. @filmmusicholt stated in @VanityFair that she had been a big fan of James as a soloist, and he happened to be performing in LA on one of their scoring dates." (backup link)
  5. InstagramIcon.png Natalie Holt (@natsholt) on Instagram: A child plays Brian Kilgore's percussion instruments at the Newman Scoring Stage (April 7, 2022). (backup link)
  6. InstagramIcon.png Erik Rydvall (@erikrydvall) on Instagram: {{{description}}} (April 24, 2022). "Recorded some music to @obiwankenobi, Star Wars ✨. Thanks @natsholt for including me and my nyckelharpas in her Amazing score. 🔥 What a great way to celebrate #worldnyckelharpaday" (backup link)

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