John Williams

Composer, conductor

The history of film music would have been different without John Williams. He has been nominated for more Oscars than any other composer, combines virtuoso experimentation with symphonic tradition – and so builds a bridge from musical late Romanticism to the present. Countless cinema classics are inseparably linked with his soundtracks, which showcase him as a master of striking instrumentation.

John Williams was born in New York and moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1948. Here he graduated in composition under Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco before moving to New York’s Juilliard School to train as a pianist. Williams then returned to Los Angeles and worked with leading Hollywood composers such as Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman and Franz Waxman. From the early 1970s, Williams gained international recognition, working with legendary directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, William Wyler and Robert Altman. The partnership with Steven Spielberg, which has lasted over 40 years, had a particular impact on his career. Together with him he made films such as [Jaws], [Indiana Jones], [Schindler’s List], [Jurassic Park], [Saving Private Ryan], [Minority Report] and [Catch Me If You Can]. Williams also composed the music for the [Star Wars] series, the first three [Harry Potter] films, [Superman] and many others. In addition to his film scores, John Williams, who was principal conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1980 to 1993, has written numerous works for the concert hall, including two symphonies and several instrumental concertos. He holds honorary doctorates from 22 American universities. In addition to numerous other awards, he received the 44th Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 2016 – the first composer ever to do so.

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