John T. Williams

Biography

Born: February 8, 1932; Flushing, NY  
Quick, who's the one person who has been nominated for an Oscar more often than anyone else in any category? That would be composer John Williams, nominated over 40 times for his original film scores and orchestrations. He received his first Oscar nomination in 1969 for the score to Valley of the Dolls, and since then he has become the most recognized film composer in history, not just because of his scores, but also because he has successfully Read more followed in Arthur Fiedler's footsteps as conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Williams grew up in New York, where his father was drummer in the Raymond Scott Quintette and other bands. All four children in the family naturally took music lessons. Williams studied piano as a child, and later trumpet, trombone, and clarinet. He did some work as a teenager with pianist and arranger Bobby van Epps, and also enrolled in composition classes at UCLA before joining the U.S. Air Force in 1951, where he arranged band music and took up conducting. Williams studied piano with Rosina Lhevinne at Juilliard and worked as a jazz pianist. He then returned to California and studied composition with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. His compositional career began in the early 1960s with television series such as Peter Gunn, Wagon Train, Gilligan's Island, and Lost in Space. He was able to work as an orchestrator and arranger with industry giants Bernard Herrmann, Franz Waxman, Alfred Newman, Henry Mancini, and André Previn. In 1972 he received his first Academy Award for his adaptation of Jerry Bock's music for Fiddler on the Roof, but it was his scores for Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975) and George Lucas' Star Wars (1977) that brought him real notice. Those full, orchestral scores lead some to claim that he alone was responsible for reviving the symphonic style of film music and were the beginning of two long-standing composer/director partnerships. A public face appeared to go with the name when Williams was chosen to conduct the Boston Pops after Fiedler's death. Under his leadership, the orchestra maintained its popularity, toured America several times, and made concert versions of his movie themes regular pops fare. Although maintaining close ties to Boston after leaving the Pops in 1993 and continuing to guest conduct a number of orchestras, Williams has spent more of his time since the mid-1990s composing concert music, such as 1995's bassoon concerto The Five Sacred Trees, and 2000's violin concerto TreeSong, while still charming cinema audiences with music that, while fully rooted in traditional Romantic idioms, easily expresses the emotion and action of the film's story. Read less

Work: Star Wars, Episode 4 - A New Hope: Main Theme

Browse 1-25 of 31 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Music Of Steel - Heroic Themes From The Movies
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001871502 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John T. Williams,  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Berit Lindholm,  Helen Watts,  Brigitte [Mezzo-Soprano Vocal] Fassbaender  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir G. Solti,  Stanley Black,  Antal Doráti  ... 
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  • 2.
    Ingolf Wunder 300
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001793002 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Frédéric Chopin,  Raoul Koczalski  ... 
    Performer:  Ingolf Wunder
    CD: $18.99
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  • 3.
    The Greatest Classical Music Ever!: The Best Classical Music In The Movies Ever!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 04105 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Stanley Myers,  James Horner,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Manuel Barrueco,  Steve Morse,  James Horner,  David Abel  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Riccardo Muti,  Iain Sutherland,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 4.
    John Williams & The Boston Pops - A Celebration
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001649302 Release Date: 02/21/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John T. Williams,  Vangelis,  Max Steiner,  Henry Mancini  ... 
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
    CD: $18.99
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  • 5.
    John Williams: Greatest Hits
    Label: Telos   Catalog: 165 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John T. Williams
    Conductor:  Evan Christ
    CD: $17.99
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  • 6.
    Classical Hits Of The Cinema
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 30756 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Alfred Newman,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Gustav Mahler,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Frank Peter Zimmermann,  Piotr Anderszewski,  Christian Zacharias
    Conductor:  Paul Bateman,  Lorin Maazel,  Andrew Litton,  Piotr Anderszewski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 7.
    Best Film 50
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31673 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  James Horner  ... 
    Performer:  Ernest Blanc,  Nicolai Gedda,  Gérard Caussé,  Augustin Dumay  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt,  Mariss Jansons,  Richard Hickox,  David Abel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 8.
    Summer Night Concert Schoenbrunn 2010 - Moon, Planet, Stars / Welser-Most
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001455902 Release Date: 08/17/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Gustav Holst,  Otto Nicolai,  Josef Lanner  ... 
    Performer:  Yefim Bronfman
    Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 9.
    The Music Of America: John Williams
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 770636 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  John T. Williams
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Judith LeClair
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Utah Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Pops In Space / John Williams, Boston Pops
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 412884 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John T. Williams
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 11.
    Spectacular World Of Classic Film Scores / Gerhardt, National PO
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 2792 Release Date: 05/13/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bernard Herrmann,  Dimitri Tiomkin,  Franz Waxman,  Miklós Rózsa  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
    Conductor:  Charles Gerhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 12.
    The Arthur Fiedler Legacy - From Fabulous Broadway To Hollywood's Reel Thing
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001005902 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John T. Williams,  Stephen Sondheim,  Barbra Streisand,  Paul Simon  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
    CD: $16.99
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  • 13.
    Themes From Academy Award Winners
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60966 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Mancini,  Maurice Jarre,  Dimitri Tiomkin,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Henry Mancini,  Arthur Fiedler,  Charles Gerhardt,  David Raksin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mancini Chorus,  Mancini Orchestra,  Boston Pops  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 14.
    Star Wars - The Corellian Edition / John Williams, Lso
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 714047 Release Date: 10/02/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John T. Williams
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 15.
    Star Wars And Other Sci-fi Classics / Hayman, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8555020 Release Date: 09/26/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John T. Williams,  Laurence Rosenthal,  Glen Larson,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hayman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Richard Hayman Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 16.
    Best Film Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 70900 Release Date: 08/29/2006   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Performer:  André Saint-Clivier,  Wayne Marshall,  Maria Tipo,  Andrei Gavrilov  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Auriacombe,  Sir David Willcocks,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Chamber Orchestra,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 17.
    The Essential Hollywood
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 77086 Release Date: 05/23/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John T. Williams
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 18.
    Great Film Fantasies / Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80664 Release Date: 03/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Howard Shore,  John T. Williams
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops
    CD not available
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  • 19.
    The Millennium Collection - The Boston Pops
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000306002 Release Date: 08/03/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Lai,  John Philip Sousa,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Karol,  André Come
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler,  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
    CD: $10.99
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  • 20.
    Encore! / John Williams, Boston Pops Orchestra
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000260602 Release Date: 06/15/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Leonard Bernstein,  Frederick Loewe,  Stephen Sondheim  ... 
    Performer:  John T. Williams,  Boston Pops
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
    CD: $16.99
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  • 21.
    Music Of John Williams - 40 Years Of Film Music
    Label: Prime Time   Catalog: 810 Release Date: 10/07/2003   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  John T. Williams
    Conductor:  Mario Klemens,  Paul Bateman,  Nic Raine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Crouch End Festival Chorus
    CD: $42.99
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  • 22.
    Gala Night / Kasarova, Falk, Southwest German Radio Orchestra
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93020 Release Date: 08/28/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Harold Arlen  ... 
    Performer:  David Johnson,  Patricia Nessi,  Lars Lettner,  Ewa Podles  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Falk
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Orchestra Kaiserslautern
    CD not available
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  • 23.
    Eloquence - Holst: The Planets / Mehta, La Philharmonic, Etc
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467418 Release Date: 04/10/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John T. Williams,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Los Angeles Master Chorale Women
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  • 24.
    Waterloo / The King's Division Waterloo Band
    Label: Bandleader   Catalog: 5161 Release Date: 10/10/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Mervin Addison,  Jeff Wayne,  Robert Muldowney,  Johnson,  ... 
    Performer:  Michelle Uttley
    Conductor:  Capt. R. Wayne Hopla
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Division Waterloo Band
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  • 25.
    John Williams - Greatest Hits 1969-1999
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 51333 Release Date: 11/02/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Leigh Harline,  Leo Arnaud,  John T. Williams
    Performer:  Timothy Morrison,  Itzhak Perlman,  Tommy Morgan,  Dean Parks  ... 
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Boychoir,  Tanglewood Festival Chorus,  Boston Pops  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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