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Patrick Williams

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Patrick Williams


Patrick Moody Williams (23 April 1939, Bonne Terre, Mo. - 25 July 2018, Santa Monica, Calif.) was a 20th- and 21st-century American composer and conductor.

Williams grew up in Connecticut and received a degree in history from Duke University, where he directed the student-run jazz big band, known as the Duke Ambassadors, from 1959-1961. Since music was always his first love, he went on to Columbia University to study music composition and conducting, where his passion became his profession. He quickly became busy as an arranger in New York; he moved to California in 1968 to pursue work in the movie and television field while continuing to write and arrange jazz albums.

Williams was also a leader in the music-education field for many years. He served as the Artistic Director of the Henry Mancini Institute -- one of the nation's premier training programs for young musicians seeking professional careers in music -- for five years. He was Visiting Professor and Composer-in-Residence at the University of Utah and the University of Colorado, which awarded him an honorary doctorate. He also held an honorary doctorate from Duke University and performed and/or lectured at such other institutions as the Berklee College of Music, Indiana University, Texas Christian University, UCLA, USC, and Yale University.

Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for composing the orchestral work An American Concerto, he won two Grammys for his jazz arrangements, four Emmys for his television music, an Oscar nomination for film composition, and the Richard Kirk Award from BMI.

Williams scored more than 200 films, including Breaking Away, which received a 1978 Oscar nomination; All of Me, Swing Shift, Cuba, Casey's Shadow, and The Grass Harp. For television, his music has accompanied shows such as Columbo, Lou Grant, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, The Streets of San Francisco, and The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd. His jazz-funk arrangement of The Beatles' "Get Back" was used as the longtime theme for the 1970s sports quiz show Sports Challenge.

Several of Williams' recordings are considered contemporary big-band standards, including Threshold, which won a 1974 Grammy; Too Hip for the Room, a Grammy nominee in 1983; Tenth Avenue, a double Grammy nominee in 1987; and Sinatraland, a tribute to the singer which was Grammy-nominated in 1998. Williams has received 16 Grammy nominations for his compositions and arrangements.

One of Williams' accomplishments was the 1986 orchestral tour-de-force Gulliver. Critics also praised Williams' numerous concert-hall works. In addition to An American Concerto, Gulliver, Romances, Earth Day, Adagio. and August, they included Suite Memories for trombone and symphony orchestra, which won a 1986 Grammy; Spring Wings, a double concerto for piano and saxophone and symphony orchestra; Appalachian Morning, recorded by the Boston Pops; Memento Mei for solo soprano and orchestra; and The Prayer of St. Francis for flute and strings.

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