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John Williams (Composer)

February 8, 1932 -
born in Flushing, NY, composed during the Contemporary period
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 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. ~ Patsy Morita, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best Of John Williams & The Bosto

Title: Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, Film Score
Title: Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Film Score
Title: Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Film Score
Title: Superman, Film Score
Title: Jaws, Film Score
Title: 1941, Film Score
Title: Midway, Film Score
Title: E.t. The Extra-terrestrial, Film Score
Title: Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Film Score
x

Track List: Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

Title: Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, Film Score
x

Track List: Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets

Title: Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, Film Score
x

Track List: Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Title: Harry Potter And The Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone, Film Score
x

Track List: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Title: Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Film Score
x

Track List: John Williams - Greatest Hits 1969 - 1999

Disc 1
Disc 2

Comments

I love his work. I mostly love the Harry Potter ones of his work. Though I bet he's really good with other movies
He makes the star wars songs so AWESOME
jr. don't call me jr. why do you all ways call him jr. that's his name I prefer indeana we named the dog indeana, you were named after a dog? I have fond memorys of that dog.
clarehensley 9 9
Love listening to him whenever the moment arises. He is one of my all time favorite composers.
beautiful... love his work on star wars
I like light sabors spieummm hum.. yeouch I just cut my foot
lotusblossom 8 1
One of the items on my bucket list was to see John Williams conduct his original film scores live while he was still alive. I just recently did on August 2, 2014 at Tanglewood, MA with the Boston Pops Orchestra, and it was wonderful. Magical. But it's not enough for me! I need to see him as many times as I can before a true genius is lost to us forever. If there were one mentor I'd like to have... it would be him!
I absoultly love John Wiliams. All his music is amazing and wonderful to play. John, you are my hero.
dragonlady60 8 8
Excellent movie and music!
Follow me and I shall follow you back-
Tom
Wanna sing this song so bad for choirs
sliptera_666
My balls itch ......... Um ......... An incompatible composer, non the less, a mix of complex emotions fills me with every note played on that little number. I mean that track.......
Harry potter and jaws et are his best work
I love all the Harry Potter music. Its just incredible
John, I love the music you did for Harry potter! You are amazing!
He hehehe he he he he he, he hehehehehe hehehehe heeeeeeh
John Williams is an amazing composer!!!! ! ! ! !
John is an amazing !!!
John William is my hero! If only I could compose like he can!
This is awesome (Swings a light saber found in the junkyard)
John Williams FTW
John Williams is the best composer that has and ever will live.
I <3 this song John Williams is amazing
greenberger3
Your'e amazing!!!!! !
Star Wars is amazing:)
margoyegian
you are the best composer world-wide
- my brother
I would be your father if I was male!
psvaj
Star Wars is the best and has great music!
Amazing job and amazing that you went deff but can still make amazing music like Jurassic park and Indiana jones
Heh i can feel how sad he is about everything that happened furring that time
Meowmreow
Dadadadadaaf a d a d . Dadada
Of all of the well known theme songs for films, star wars is the most common I would think. John, you've done such a great job with coming up with this. Star wars wouldn't have been the same without you. Neither would Jurassic park, Indiana Jones, or any other famous movies.
And how the violins can show how sad it is its just beautiful.
I love how he did Schindler's list! I could just feel the emotion in all of it
Can't he better
I found a light saber in the trash lets kill darth maul. yeah
According to Wikipedia, Walt Disney actually has the most nominations with 59. John Williams has 49. So, the statement in the beginning would appear to be incorrect.
(swings lightsaber)
Jaws ricardosboat you are awesome
@Alexander
what song
He is the best composer I've herd of
One of the best composers of classical music ever (also in my opinion classical is the best type of music :-)
This song is so sad when you think about the movie death destruction and betrayal makes my want to cry key word wants but didn't
@totally tomboy, yes they have :)
I think my ears have just found the eighth wonder of the world
emily20558
Love this composer! I love his works on Star Wars the most. I mean, who doesn't like Star Wars? He just made it more epic!
Azkaban, Shenting. Plus, your dad Isn't MOZART
This song of jaws is amazing
I love this guy!
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