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John Williams Biography

John Williams Tickets

John Williams In-depth Biography

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, All Music Guide

John Williams Tickets

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John Williams Biography / John Williams Information

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