John Williams

From Wind Repertory Project
John Williams


John Towner Williams (b. 8 February 1932, Floral Park, N.Y.) is an American composer, conductor, and pianist.

Born just one month shy of the death of John Philip Sousa, the son of a jazz drummer, Williams studied piano and composition at the University of California at Los Angeles and The Juilliard School in New York City. By the time he was in his late twenties, Williams was an active jazz and studio pianist and began composing music for television and films. In 1974 he met an ambitious young director named Steven Spielberg, and the two forged a friendship that would prove to be one of the most successful partnerships in the history of filmmaking. That year, the pair worked together on a film called Sugarland Express starring Goldie Hawn and a year later teamed up again for Jaws. It wasn’t long before Williams’ music garnered international attention unlike any American composer since Sousa.

In a career that spans six decades, Williams has composed many of the most famous film scores in Hollywood history, including Star Wars, Superman, Home Alone, the first three Harry Potter movies, and all but two of Steven Spielberg's feature films, including the Indiana Jones series, Schindler's List, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park and Jaws. He also composed the soundtrack for the hit 1960s TV series Lost in Space.

Williams has composed theme music for four Olympic Games, the NBC Nightly News, the inauguration of Barack Obama, and numerous television series and concert pieces. He served as the principal conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1980 to 1993, and is now the orchestra's laureate conductor.

Williams is a five-time winner of the Academy Award. He has also won four Golden Globe Awards, seven BAFTA Awards and 21 Grammy Awards. With 45 Academy Award nominations, Williams is, together with composer Alfred Newman, the second most nominated individual after Walt Disney. He was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame in 2000, and was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004.

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  • Colburn, Michael J. "John Williams Returns to Bands Where He Began 50 Years Ago." The Instrumentalist vol. 58, no. 11, June 2004, pp. 12-17.
  • John Williams website
  • John Williams. Wikipedia. Accessed 8 August 2023
  • Morse, Matthew C. "The Cowboys Overture." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 10, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 826-837. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2015.
  • U.S. marine Band concert program, 14 December 2014