John Williams

Composers

Biography

Born: 1941  
John Williams, classical guitar virtuoso, is known for his wide-ranging approach to repertory, which includes appearances playing electric rock guitar and international music. John's father Leonard (Len) Williams was an accomplished guitarist who emigrated from Britain to Australia, married a Melbourne woman of Chinese-British descent, and was best known there for his jazz playing. As he taught John to play guitar, it soon became apparent that Read more the boy was a gifted guitarist, and the family planned to move back to London so that he could pursue further studies. To afford the trip, Len Williams took an additional job as a hippo-keeper at the Melbourne Zoo.
They eventually moved to London in 1952. John performed at Conway Hall in London in 1955, making enough of an impression that the famous guitarist Andrés Segovia invited John to study at his courses at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy. John accepted and became a student of the pioneering guitar soloist from 1957 to 1959.
Williams made his official debut at London's Wigmore Hall in 1958, and received reviews that noted a strong, clean tone and a polished though undemonstrative technique. However, Williams does not give Segovia or his other official teachers a large share of the credit for his technique. He says that most of these teachers were too "authoritarian" in their approach, not excluding Segovia who, he says, had a tendency to expect his pupils to adopt his interpretive "mannerisms," and would get quite angry when they didn't. The guitarist with whom he formed the closest association is Julian Bream, a fellow student of Segovia. Bream has often appeared in concert and on recordings as a guitar duo with Williams.
Williams has toured throughout the world. He has performed and recorded nearly the entire standard guitar repertory, plus a large quantity of transcriptions. Several of these transcriptions are by his own hand. He was a professor of guitar at the Royal College of Music in London from 1960 to 1973. However, he also has a strong tendency to explore music outside the classical tradition. He does session work on film soundtracks, has arranged Beatles songs, and plays electric guitar in Sky, a classical-rock fusion band. He has also formed his own ensembles, John Williams and Friends and Attacca, to explore other music. On a CD release called The Guitarist, he uses Turkish and Greek rhythms and harmonies to support Medieval music. The 2002 album, The Magic Box, examines African music. Read less
Browse 26-50 of 53 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    The Great Paraguayan - Guitar Music Of Barrios / Williams
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 92611 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Agustín Barrios Mangoré
    Performer:  John Williams
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  • 27.
    Simple Gifts / Bryn Terfel
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000477202 Release Date: 10/11/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Brackett,  Stanley Myers,  William Gould Tomer,  Stephen Sondheim  ... 
    Performer:  Bryn Terfel,  John Williams,  Simon Keenlyside,  Aled Jones
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Voices
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  • 28.
    The Ultimate Guitar Collection / John Williams
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 93959 Release Date: 03/29/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Agustín Barrios Mangoré,  Enoch Sontonga,  John Williams,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams,  Richard Harvey,  Chris Laurence,  János Rolla  ... 
    Conductor:  William Goodchild,  János Rolla,  Christopher Gunning,  Louis Frémaux  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  African Children's Choir,  Orchestra,  Franz Liszt Orchestra  ... 
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  • 29.
    Guitar Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000250302 Release Date: 07/13/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Federico Moreno-Torroba,  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Alexandre Lagoya,  Ida Presti,  Pepe Romero,  Andrés Segovia  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Redel,  Kenneth Sillito,  Nick Ingman,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Budapest Film Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 30.
    El Diablo Suelto - Guitar Music Of Venezuela / Williams
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 90451 Release Date: 09/09/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfonso Montes,  Antonio Lauro,  Raul Borges,  Ignacio "Indio" Figueredo  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams,  Alfonso Montes
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  • 31.
    The Ultimate Classical Christmas Album Of All Time
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 87771 Release Date: 10/01/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Agustín Barrios Mangoré  ... 
    Performer:  Frederica Von Stade,  John Williams,  Eileen Farrell,  Pinchas Zukerman  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Leonard Bernstein,  Richard Kapp,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Christmas Concert Choir,  American Boychoir,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 32.
    Essential Guitar - 34 Guitar Masterpieces / Romero, Segovia
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470477 Release Date: 08/13/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Malcolm Arnold,  Federico Moreno-Torroba,  Manuel Enriquez  ... 
    Performer:  Alexandre Lagoya,  Eduardo Fernandez,  Andrés Segovia,  Pepe Romero  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio de Almeida,  Barry Wordsworth,  Kenneth Sillito,  Enrique Jorda  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 33.
    Classic Perlman - Rhapsody
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 89449 Release Date: 04/02/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Ernest Chausson,  Andrea Morricone,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Earl Carlyss,  Joel Krosnick,  Samuel Rhodes  ... 
    Conductor:  John Williams,  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Juilliard String Quartet,  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 34.
    Spanish Guitar Music / John Williams
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 89837 Release Date: 01/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Federico Moreno-Torroba,  Joaquin Turina,  Alonso de Mudarra,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams
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  • 35.
    Bela Fleck - Perpetual Motion
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 89610 Release Date: 10/02/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Béla Fleck,  Evelyn Glennie,  Chris Thile,  Gary Hoffman  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 36.
    Romance Of The Guitar / John Williams
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 89141 Release Date: 05/02/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Astor Piazzolla,  Agustín Barrios Mangoré,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Daniel Aloymias Robles  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams,  János Rolla,  Christine Pendrill,  Timothy Kain
    Conductor:  János Rolla,  Louis Frémaux,  John Williams,  William Goodchild
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Franz Liszt Academy Chamber Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Angelika Kirchschlager - When Night Falls
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64498 Release Date: 11/02/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim,  Richard Rodgers,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Roger Vignoles,  Angelika Kirchschlager,  John Williams,  Helmut Deutsch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Metropolitan Ensemble
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  • 38.
    A Lasting Inspiration / Jacqueline Du Pré
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 65955 Release Date: 09/14/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Gabriel Fauré,  Sir Edward Elgar,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Gerald Moore,  Pinchas Zukerman  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli,  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
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    CD: $19.99
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  • 39.
    Musica Espańola - Guitar Music Vol 2 /Bonell, Fernandez, Etc
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 433935 Release Date: 11/05/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Federico Moreno-Torroba,  Joaquin Turina,  Miguel Llobet,  Isaac Albeniz  ... 
    Performer:  Eduardo Fernandez,  Carlos Bonell,  Timothy Walker,  John Williams
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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  • 40.
    Musica Espanola - Guitar Music Vol 1 / Gomez, Fernandez, Etc
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 433932 Release Date: 11/02/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ruperto Chapi,  Enrique Granados,  Francisco Tarrega,  Fernando Sor  ... 
    Performer:  Carlos Bonell,  Eduardo Fernandez,  John Williams,  Timothy Walker  ... 
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  • 41.
    John Williams - The Guitarist
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 60586 Release Date: 09/29/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Williams,  Erik Satie,  Philip Houghton,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams
    Conductor:  William Goodchild
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 42.
    John Williams Plays The Movies
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 63000 Release Date: 04/01/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bob Telson,  Luis Enriquez Bacalov,  John Williams,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  Brendan Power,  John Williams,  Kenneth Sillito,  Nicole Tibbels  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Fontaine,  Nick Ingman,  Christopher Gunning,  Steve Gray  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 43.
    Guitar Recital - Paganini, Scarlatti, Et Al / John Williams
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 62425 Release Date: 04/16/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Mauro Giuliani,  Niccolň Paganini
    Performer:  John Williams
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  • 44.
    Harvey, Gray: Guitar Concertos / John Williams
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 68337 Release Date: 02/20/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Harvey,  Steve Gray
    Performer:  John Williams
    Conductor:  Paul Daniel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 45.
    Together / Julian Bream, John Williams
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61450 Release Date: 05/25/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Maurice Ravel,  Manuel de Falla,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams,  Julian Bream
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  • 46.
    Rodrigo: Concierto De Aranjuez, Etc / John Williams
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 48168 Release Date: 06/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Mauro Giuliani,  Joaquin Rodrigo
    Performer:  Colin Tilney,  John Williams
    Conductor:  John Williams,  Sir Charles Groves,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra members
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  • 47.
    Takemitsu: To The Edge Of Dream / Williams, Salonen
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 46720 Release Date: 01/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Toru Takemitsu
    Performer:  John Williams,  Gareth Hulse,  Sebastian Bell
    Conductor:  Esa-Pekka Salonen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta
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  • 48.
    John Williams Plays Vivaldi Concertos
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 46556 Release Date: 06/14/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  John Williams,  Norbert Blume,  Zsuzsa Pertis,  Mária Frank  ... 
    Conductor:  János Rolla
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Franz Liszt Academy Chamber Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Webern: Complete Works Op 1-31 / Pierre Boulez
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 045845 Release Date: 02/08/1991   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Anton Webern
    Performer:  Halina Lukomska,  Charles Rosen,  Abraham Weinstein,  Robert Marcellus  ... 
    Conductor:  Anton Webern,  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
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  • 50.
    Vivaldi, Giuliani, Rodrigo: Guitar Concertos / John Williams
    Label: Cbs Odyssey   Catalog: 45610 Release Date: 01/14/1991   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves,  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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