John Towner Williams KBE (born February 8, 1932) is an American composer, conductor and pianist. In a career that has spanned seven decades, he has composed some of the most popular, recognizable and critically acclaimed film scores in cinematic history. Williams has won 25 Grammy Awards, seven British Academy Film Awards, five Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. With 53 Academy Award nominations, he is the second most-nominated individual, after Walt Disney. His compositions are considered the epitome of film music, and he is considered among the greatest composers in the history of cinema.
Williams has composed for many critically acclaimed and popular movies, including the Star Wars saga, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the first two Home Alonefilms, the Indiana Jones films, the first two Jurassic Park films, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, Seven Years In Tibet, and the first three Harry Potter films. Williams has also composed numerous classical concertos and other works for orchestral ensembles and solo instruments. He served as the Boston Pops‘ principal conductor from 1980 to 1993 and is its laureate conductor. He has been associated with director Steven Spielberg since 1974, composing music for all but five of his feature films, and George Lucas, with whom he has worked on both of his main franchises. Other works by Williams include theme music for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, NBC Sunday Night Football, “The Mission” theme used by NBC News and Seven News in Australia, the television series Lost in Space and Land of the Giants, and the incidental music for the first season of Gilligan’s Island. Williams announced his intention to retire from film score composing after the release of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny in 2023 to focus more on composing independent orchestral and symphonic pieces, though he later rescinded this.
In 2005, the American Film Institute selected Williams’s score to 1977’s Star Wars as the greatest film score of all time. The Library of Congress entered the Star Wars soundtrack into the National Recording Registryfor being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. Williams was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl‘s Hall of Fame in 2000, and he received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2004. His AFI Life Achievement Award in 2016 was the first to be awarded outside of the acting and directing fields. He has composed the score for nine of the top 25 highest-grossing films at the U.S. box office (adjusted for inflation). His work has influenced other composers of film, popular, and contemporary classical music; Norwegian composer Marcus Paus argues that Williams’s “satisfying way of embodying dissonance and avant-garde techniques within a larger tonal framework” makes him “one of the great composers of any century”.
Leave a Comment