John Williams

John Towner Williams (born February 8, 1932) is an American composer and conductor. In a career that has spanned seven decades, he has composed some of the most popular, recognizable and critically acclaimed film scores in cinema history. He has a very distinct sound that mixes romanticism, impressionism and atonal music with complex orchestration. He is most known for his collaborations with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas and has received numerous accolades including 26 Grammy Awards, five Academy Awards, seven BAFTA Awards, three Emmy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. With 54 Academy Award nominations, he is the second-most nominated person, after Walt Disney, and is the oldest Oscar nominee in any category, at 91 years old.

Williams’ early work as a film composer include Valley of the Dolls (1967), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), Images (1972) and The Long Goodbye (1973). He has collaborated with Spielberg since his 1974 film The Sugarland Express, composing music for all but five of his feature films. He received five Academy Awards for Best Original Score for Fiddler on the Roof (1971), Jaws (1975), Star Wars (1977), E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1982), and Schindler’s List (1993). Other memorable collaborations with Spielberg include Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), the Indiana Jones franchise (1981–2023), Jurassic Park (1993), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Catch Me If You Can (2002), War Horse (2011), Lincoln (2012), and The Fabelmans (2022). He also scored Superman (1978), the first two Home Alone films (1990–1992), and the first three Harry Potter films (2001–2004).

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 laureateconductor. 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and Land of the Giants, and the incidental music for the first season of Gilligan’s Island.Williams announced but then rescinded his intention to retire from film score composing after the release of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny in 2023.

In 2022, Williams was appointed an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II, “for services to film music”. He has received numerous honors including the Kennedy Center Honor in 2004, the National Medal of the Arts in 2009, and the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2016.[a] He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1998, the Hollywood Bowl‘s Hall of Fame in 2000, and the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in 2004. He has composed the score for nine of the top 25 highest-grossing films at the U.S. box office. In 2005, the American Film Instituteselected Williams’s score to Star Wars as the greatest film score of all time. The Library of Congressentered the Star Wars soundtrack into the National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

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