Happy Birthday, John Williams!
The luminary of American film music turns 91 today
Today marks the 91st birthday of the celebrated American composer John Williams, whose film scores are perhaps among the most recognizable ever written.
Born in Queens, New York, Williams was educated at The Juilliard School and the Eastman School of Music — but not before he had completed a period of military service as a member of the Air Force. After graduating, he proceeded immediately to Hollywood, where he worked as an orchestrator alongside colleagues such as Franz Waxman and Alfred Newman. He also worked as a session pianist, performing for film scores as well as working on writing them.
Some of Williams' most beloved film scores derive from his forty-year artistic partnership with director Steven Spielberg, with those titles including Schindler’s List, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, four Indiana Jones films, Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Munich, Hook, Catch Me If You Can, Minority Report, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Empire of the Sun, The Adventures of TinTin, and War Horse.
Williams has also worked as a conductor, taking up a position as Music Director of the Boston Pops Orchestra, which he led for fourteen seasons from 1980 onward.
Alongside his film score output, Williams has also written works for the concert hall, including two symphonies and concerti for flute, violin, clarinet, viola, oboe, cello, and tuba.
During the pandemic, Williams decided to focus exclusively on concert music, since it provides him with the opportunity to develop symbiotic working relationships with individual artists.