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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
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Track List: Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets

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

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I use this all the time when I'm leading an army of 1st graders
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Memoirs of A Geisha: The art of femininity. Try being a Geisha. Great movie.
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Star Wars and The War Horse are my favorites! This man is amazing and so inspirationa l . The way his compositions fit the emotions of the scenes they are in is mind blowing to me. They are always perfect!
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Star wars and batman ROCK!
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gina42883
Harry Potter is the best
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Actually, Walt Disney with 59 nominations. John Williams has 49 nominations, but he is still alive. So, yes he holds the record for the most for someone still living.
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STAR WARS ROCKS
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Some of the best music
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vmaya977
love his work in Harry Potter
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jcanterajr
One of the greatest of our time??? Try THE greatest. History will remember him among the likes of Bach and Chopin.
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John, the Force is With You sir.
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cjmacandchee s y
Incredible
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laurelvanam
I'll second that sagefrog2011 john Williams is inspiring composer
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This man is probably one of the great composers of our time.
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ckunf
John Williams is the greatest.
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@ewdraeokila e every single piece is either original or his very own twist on the previous author's piece. When he does a modification of someone else's piece he gives them credit. Aside from those very few pieces though all of his music is 100% original.
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Really is good at finding classical music to go with movies but it'd be cool if he didn't call it his own
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Epic music
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Say iPhone 5 times post this on 5 songs look under your pillow
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John Williams was a super amazing film composer and he is just so perfect to me. But lets not go comparing him to composers like Beethoven or Mozart. Lol
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By far the greatest composer of this day. His work on Star Wars is a stroke of genius. Can't wait for the new movie's OST's.

@carolyncall i s t e r (and all the other chain-commen t - v a n d a l s below)_This isn't actually a song, so you've failed in everything but stupidity (which you display a large degree of fluency in). Also, if you're going out of your way to display that junk all over the comment section, fix the grammar its an eyesore.
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Hmm,thr the sorcerer is stoned with the stoner dov fluff
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cgavala37012 2 5
This man is a musical genius!
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dragonlady60 8 8
johm williams.... a m a z i n g
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Star Wars baby!
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Did you know that two people played Albus Dumbledore, but the first one died?
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Haunting
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i totally don't have a bad feeling about this.lol
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themilam4
---epic---
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Simply perfection!! ! ! !
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Greatest series of soundtracks/ t h e m e songs EVER!!!!!!!! ! ! !
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Jurassic park harry potter star wars and indiana jones
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Jurassic park, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones are the best :333
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John Williams is the man
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Love Harry Potter and the Indiana Jones movies with all my heart :-)
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F the hater. HARRY POTTER IS AWESOME.
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Star wars is the beast
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I HATE I HATE. HARRY POTTER star wars is awesome
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John Williams is another one of my favorite composers! I love harry potter soo much and If I got a Hogwarts letter no one can keep me from going! And I would be in Slytherin!
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nuriaofriven d e l l
John Williams is so super talented! I wish I could be that talented in music
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Harry Potter!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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True, but he is still an undeniably amazing composer.
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marioojedare a l e s t a t e
Williams is without a doubt the best film composer to have ever lived & I love his music. However, to say he beats any of the Classical music masters of the 17th-19th century is a bit much. Keep in mind that back then all you had was your mind,, you could not record, playback or tweak anything. So to say Williams beats Beethoven is an exaggeration , I love Williams but the complexity + difficulty of what Beethoven, Mozart and Bach among others composed has no equal and I don't think ever will.
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I am a beautiful person
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+Follow this artist: http://www.p a n d o r a . c o m / h u g o - v a z q u e z
on Pandora
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Awesome I love him
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courtenaylak e
I think JW beats Beethoven. He is that good, I believe!
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john williams is the man
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irene.kingho r n
Poop





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Pandora needs to get the Sunshine O.S.T.
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