John Towner Williams ( New York City , February 8 1932 ) is an American composer of film music . He is one of the most famous post-war film composers and is seen as the best film composer of the film industry has ever known. He is also considered responsible for the revival of the classic film score . He was also conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra. Well-known films that are equipped with music by hand Williams: Star Wars , Superman , Indiana Jones , Jaws , Jurassic Park , ET the Extra-Terrestrial , Schindler's List and the Harry Potter movies.


 [ hide ] *1 Biography

Biography edit ]Edit

Williams was born in Flushing , Queens in New York on February 8 1932 . He was the eldest son of the family of Esther Williams and Johnny. His father, a jazz drummer, was one of the original members of the Raymond Scott Quintet and later was a percussionist in the CBS Radio Orchestra and the NBC's Your Hit Parade. Music is played from an early age a key role in the early years of John, his brothers Jerry and Don and his sister Joan. From the age of seven, he learned to play the piano, later trombone, trumpet and clarinet.

In 1948 the family moved to Los Angeles , where his father freelancer was with many film orchestras. After Williams was graduated in 1950 at the North Hollywood High School , where he arranged and composed music pieces for the school orchestra, he took courses piano and composition at UCLA and private lessons with pianist-arranger Bobby Eps . It was already decided that he would go off as the eldest son of the family the same way as his father and musician would be. Williams chose his favorite instrument was the pianist. He composed his first serious work, a piano sonata , as a nineteen-year-old student. In the fifties and sixties, he played the piano on several recordings of film and television music by composers Jerry Goldsmith , Henry Mancini and Elmer Bernstein .

After he was drafted in 1951, military service , he worked for three years at the United States Air Force , where he conducted the orchestra and arranged air.

Education edit ]Edit

After his discharge in 1954 he returned to studies back to New York, and he spent a year at the renowned Juilliard School as a piano student at Rosina Lhevinne . To get to the free evening he worked as a pianist in jazz clubs. After that year, he returned to his family in Los Angeles.

In 1957 he was hired by Columbia Pictures , one of the major film companies, and came under the direction of conductor Morris Stoloff . So he ended up in Stoloffs Pictures Orchestra, where his father was a member of. Meanwhile, he was also supervisor of singer Vic Damone .

Early work edit ]Edit

With the TV movie Because They're Young , he took his first steps in television and film land. He was asked for all kinds of TV shows and although he had initially pianist, planning chose Williams is encouraged by family and friends, to make composing for television his living. He cared episodes in dramas such as Mod Squad , westerns such as Wagon Train and famous sitcoms like Gilligan's Island and Bachelor Father . But with the series Checkmate 1960 Williams really started to make themselves heard, it was his first score was commercially intended.

In 1963 he made ​​his first film for the big screen: Diamond Head . He then worked on the series Kraft Suspense Theatre . Early 60s, he proved to be a talented composer and kept melodramas ( The Secret Ways ), westerns ( The Rare Breed ), thrillers ( Daddy's Gone A Hunting ), war films ( None but the Brave ), but mostly comedies like Bachelor Flat , Gidget Goes to Rome , John Goldfarb Please Come Home , How To Steal A Million and Dick Van Dyke movieFitzwilly . He was also hired by Irwin Allen to provide music, including television series Lost In Space , Time Tunnel and Valley of the Giants .

In 1968 he composed as a tribute to Aaron Copland , a pioneer in American music and good friend of Williams, the score for The Reivers. While he continued to deliver scores, there was a good relationship between Williams and Copland, resulting in a set of scores for disaster movies like The Poseidon Adventure (1972), The Towering Inferno (1974) and Earthquake (1974). He also wrote in the 70s even include the John Wayne movie The Cowboys (1972), Robert Altman's Images (1972), further include The Paper Chase (1973), The Long Goodbye (1973), Cinderella Liberty (1973) and Conrack (1974).

Start working with Steven Spielberg Edit ]Edit

In 1974, John Williams was approached by the young director Steven Spielberg , who, following the score for The Reivers , with Williams asked him to provide music. debut film Williams agreed, and this was, without knowing it themselves, the beginning of a long collaboration, one of the longest in the history of film. Williams has since been one ( The Color Purple ) all movies of Spielberg set to music. Their collaboration began in 1974 with The Sugarland Express , in 1975 followed Jaws . The bombed John Williams straight to the best of all film composers.

Immediately after Jaws , he composed the music for The Eiger Sanction (1975), Midway (1976), The Missouri Breaks , Family Plot , Black Sunday (1977) and many others.

The big breakthrough edit ]Edit

When George Lucas in 1977, someone was looking for the music of his film Star Wars , Spielberg advised him to Williams. The score of the film has gone down in history as one of the most important, if not the most important symphonic oeuvre from the 20th century, which Williams was only really known. He was awarded include an Oscar for best music (already his third) and three Grammy Awards . The score of Star Wars was the subject of many recordings and concerts all over the world. When the Oregon Orchestra Star Wars Concert held in January 1978 it was 12,000 people in Portland Colisseum .

After the music for Star Wars, Williams composed the score for the Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), The Fury , Superman (1978) and Dracula (1979).

Conductor of the Boston Pops edit ]Edit

After the death of Arthur Fielder (1979), conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, the "Committee for the Future of the Pops" came together to look that could build on the Fielder tradition, a new conductor and the famous symphonic orchestra the United States could lead. In the summer of 1979 we had the number of contenders already reduced to five: the assistant conductor of the Pops, Harry Ellis Dickson , the conductor of the Cincinnati Orchestra, Erich Kunzel , the band leader and TV personality Mitch Miller , the conductor of the symphony of Flint, Michigan, John Covelli and John Williams. On January 10, 1980 at Symphony Management stated that it had made ​​with John Williams, who thus became the nineteenth conductor of the Boston Pops. A three-year contract Although Arthur Fielder was an authority, Williams was greeted with enthusiasm. Following his concert with the Pops on January 22, 1980 by both public and the critics John Rockwell of the New York Times, which many people with his criticism brought down, wrote: The crisply efficient performances he elicited from the orchestra That suggested the Pops chose wisely.

The 80 started peacefully in the least: the first known score for the Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), the Oscar-winning score for Spielberg's blockbuster ET The Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Furthermore, there were also scores for the Star Wars Sequels The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), the scores for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), The River (1984), The Accidental Tourist (1988), Always (1989), Presumed Innocent (1990), Home Alone (1990), Hook (1990), JFK (1991) and Far and Away (1992).

He also composed the music for more Jurassic Park (1993) and Schindler's List (1993).

Pension edit ]Edit

[1][2]Williams at the Avery Fisher Hall in 2007

When Williams was appointed in 1980 as conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra , was initially a three year contract, but it was repeatedly extended. He was director for twelve years, until he went in 1993, on his 61st retire.

But retirement meant Williams does not stop working, and he continued to compose: include Sydney Pollack's Sabrina (1995), Barry Levi Sons Sleepers (1996), The Lost World: Jurassic Park(1997), Spielberg's sequel to the recordverbrijzelende Jurassic Park Jean-Jacques Annauds Seven Years in Tibet (1997), Steven Spielberg's work on the negerslaverij Amistad (1997) andSaving Private Ryan (1998). The new Star Wars movies The Phantom Menace , Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith (1999-2005), the first three Harry Potter films (2001-2004),Memoirs of a Geisha , and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal skull were it to music. His most recent work includes Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin (2011), War Horse (2011) and Lincoln (2012).

In the early stages of the production of the new Star Wars movie, Star Wars Episode VII , was director JJ Abrams announced that a return to John Williams Star Wars was seriously considered. [1] In the summer of 2013 it was confirmed that Williams music would indeed provide for Episode VII . [2]

Personally edit ]Edit

His wife, with whom he had been married for nineteen years, died in 1974 from cerebral hemorrhage. Williams married a second time on June 9, 1980 in King's Chapel House in Boston with Samantha Winslow, a photographer and interior designer in Hollywood, he had five years. Although he lives in Boston, he maintains ties with Los Angeles tightly by his interest in film music and because his family lives there. His sons Joseph and Mark have their musical careers.

Son Joseph was lead singer of the group Toto , in which he includes the hit stop loving you sang. Along with Mark, he wrote the song Home of the brave . His daughter Jennifer has a doctor's surgery and his retired parents still live in Los Angeles. Now he is retired, he concentrates on his hobbies (golf, tennis, making chamber music with friends), but continues to work in spite of everything.

Well-known film music edit ]Edit


For a complete list, see: List of film scores by John Williams

Other work edit ]Edit

In 1951, he wrote a piano sonata and early 60s, he wrote music for jazz combos, dance bands and small symphonic ensembles. His essay for strings was played for the first time in 1966 by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In the same year he wrote his Symphony No.. 1.

In 1968 he wrote a Sinfonietta for wind band (brass and percussion) ; further, he composed concertos for flute, violin (which were recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra), horn, viola, tuba and clarinet, as well as a musical (the only one in his oeuvre ), Thomas and the King called. A cello concerto was premiered in 1994 with Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a bassoon concerto in 1995 with the New York Philharmonic and a trumpet concerto in 1996 with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra.

He also composed many concert versions of his film scores, he wrote light classical music and a second symphony.

Williams led the Boston Pops concert tour in the U.S. in 1985, 1989 and 1992 and the tours in Japan in 1987, 1990 and 1993. He was also much in demand as a guest conductor with many major orchestras.

Williams finished the famous Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev to a listenable piece of music for children.

He was asked to write for various special occasions. Music He wrote Liberty Fanfare occasion of the centenary of the Statue of Liberty , We're looking good! for the Special Olympics and in America known NBC New Theme The Mission. He also asked the fanfares for the Olympics to write. He composed in 1984 Olympic Fanfare and Theme for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1988 Olympic Spirit , Summon the Heroes for the Olympic Games in Atlanta and Call of the Champions for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City .

On the occasion of the inauguration of Barack Obama John Williams' Air and Simple Gifts "wrote. It was conducted on January 20, 2009 (not really, because, as a few days later it was announced, "geplaybackt") by Yo-Yo Ma ( cello ),Itzhak Perlman ( violin ), Gabriela Montero ( piano ) and Anthony McGill ( clarinet ).

Charts edit ]Edit

Albums edit ]Edit

Album (s) with any hit in 

the Dutch Album Top 100

Date of 


Date of 




Number of 


ET - The Extra-Terrestrial 1982 12-02-1983 23 5 soundtrack
Schindler's List 1994 02-04-1994 26 24 soundtrack
Seven Years In Tibet 1997 17-01-1998 82 3 soundtrack
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 1999 22-05-1999 40 14 soundtrack
Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone 2001 24-11-2001 97 2 soundtrack
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones 2002 11-05-2002 68 5 soundtrack
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban 2004 05-06-2004 94 1 soundtrack
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith 2005 07-05-2005 22 6 soundtrack
Album (s) to hit in 

the Flemish Ultratop 50

Date of 


Date of 




Number of 


Star Wars: eposide I - The Phantom Menace 1999 29-05-1999 37 5 soundtrack
Star Wars: eposide II - Attack Of The Clones 2002 01-06-2002 35 2 soundtrack
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban 2004 19-06-2004 84 2 soundtrack
Star Wars: eposide III - Revenge Of The Sith 2005 07-05-2005 18 8 soundtrack
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull 2008 31-05-2008 86 1 soundtrack

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