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 76-47 of 47 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    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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  • 77.
    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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  • 78.
    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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  • 79.
    Spanish Guitar Music / John Williams
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 46347 Release Date: 04/05/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joaquin Turina,  Alonso de Mudarra,  Manuel de Falla,  Isaac Albeniz  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams
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  • 80.
    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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  • 81.
    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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  • 82.
    Bach, Handel, Marcello: Concertos for Guitar / Williams, ASMF
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 39560 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alessandro Marcello,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  John Williams
    Conductor:  Kenneth Sillito,  John Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
    CD not available
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  • 83.
    Duos For Violin & Guitar / Perlman, Williams
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 34508 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niccolò Paganini,  Mauro Giuliani
    Performer:  John Williams,  Itzhak Perlman
    CD not available
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  • 84.
    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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  • 85.
    Echoes Of Spain - Albeniz / John Williams
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 36679 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz
    Performer:  John Williams
    CD: $11.99
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  • 86.
    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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  • 87.
    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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  • 88.
    Rodrigo, Villa-lobos: Guitar Concertos / Williams, Barenboim
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 33208 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Joaquin Rodrigo
    Performer:  John Williams
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
    CD not available
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  • 89.
    Rodrigo: Concerto De Aranjuez / Williams, Ormandy, Groves
    Label: Cbs Great Performances   Catalog: 36717 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo
    Performer:  John Williams
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
    CD not available
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  • 90.
    Spanish Guitar Favorites / John Williams
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 44794 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Enrique Granados,  Traditional,  Miguel Llobet  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams
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  • 91.
    Spirit Of The Guitar / John Williams
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 44898 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jorge Gomez Crespo,  Astor Piazzolla,  Agustín Barrios Mangoré,  Charlie Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams
    CD not available
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  • 92.
    The Baroque Album / John Williams
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 44518 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Silvius Leopold Weiss,  Ludovico Roncalli,  Domenico Scarlatti,  François Couperin  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams
    CD not available
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  • 93.
    The Great Guitar Concertos / John Williams
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 44791 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Manuel Ponce,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Mauro Giuliani,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams,  Christine Pendrill
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Daniel Barenboim,  John Williams,  Sir Charles Groves  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD not available
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  • 94.
    Dinner Classics - The Italian Album
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 45544 Release Date: 05/17/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Mauro Giuliani,  Niccolò Paganini,  Luigi Boccherini  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams,  Itzhak Perlman,  Morris Pert,  Carlos Bonell  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Lazar Gosman,  Louis Lane,  Pinchas Zukerman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Tchaikovsky Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 95.
    Dinner Classics - The Sunday Brunch Album
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 45547 Release Date: 05/17/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Vincenzo Tommasini,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Leonid Bolotine,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Lee Soper,  Edward Carroll  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Kapp,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Raymond Leppard,  Louis Lane  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Virtuosi,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
    CD not available
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  • 96.
    Rodrigo: Concierto De Aranjuez, Etc / John Williams
    Label: Cbs Masterworks Digital Masters   Catalog: 45648 Release Date: 07/27/1989   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Joaquin Rodrigo
    Performer:  John Williams
    Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD not available
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