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
John Williams: The Complete Columbia Album Collection [58 CD + 1 DVD]
Release Date: 03/04/2016   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 309294   Number of Discs: 59
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John Williams - The Seville Concert
Release Date: 03/27/2007   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4180   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 51-59 of 59 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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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  • 52.
    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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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    Webern: Complete Works Op 1-31 / Pierre Boulez
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 45845 Release Date: 02/08/1991   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Anton Webern
    Performer:  Halina Lukomska,  Charles Rosen,  Daniel Majeske,  Abraham Weinstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Anton Webern,  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
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  • 55.
    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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  • 56.
    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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  • 57.
    Echoes Of London / John Williams
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 42119 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carroll Coates,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Hubert Gregg,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams
    Conductor:  William Goodchild
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 58.
    John Williams And Friends
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 35108 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Louis-Claude Daquin,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams,  Morris Pert,  Brian Gascoigne,  Carlos Bonell  ... 
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  • 59.
    Pachelbel's Canon - Baroque Favorites / Leppard, English CO
    Label: Cbs Great Performances   Catalog: 38482 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jean Joseph Mouret  ... 
    Performer:  André Saint-Clivier,  Christian Schneider,  Takashi Ochi,  John Williams  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-Claude Malgoire,  Siegfried Behrend,  John Williams,  Raymond Leppard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy,  German Mandolin Orchestra,  Seville Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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