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 26-31 of 31 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Music In Film
    Label: Sony Classical Npr Milestones   Catalog: 60991 Release Date: 01/12/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Malcolm Arnold,  James Horner,  John Barry,  John T. Williams  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Arnold,  James Horner,  John Barry,  John T. Williams  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Studio Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Skywalker Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD not available
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  • 27.
    Top 20 - The Very Best Of Erich Kunzel & The Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80401 Release Date: 09/27/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Brad Fiedel,  Traditional,  Eduard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Muckenfuss,  Paul Patterson,  Jeanne Dulaney,  Tim Berens  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops,  Central State University Chorus
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
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  • 28.
    Kosmos / Tomita
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 2616 Release Date: 07/09/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Isao Tomita,  Grigoras Dinicu,  Edvard Grieg,  Charles Ives  ... 
    Performer:  Isao Tomita
    CD: $8.99
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  • 29.
    Best Of John Williams And Boston Pops Orchestra
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420178 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John T. Williams
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    CD: $15.99
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  • 30.
    Star Tracks / Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80094 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John T. Williams,  Alexander Courage
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops
    CD: $11.99
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  • 31.
    Tomita's Greatest Hits
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 5660 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Grigoras Dinicu,  Igor Stravinsky,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Isao Tomita
    CD: $9.99
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