May 19, 2017

John Williams ~ A Soundtrack King

John Towner Williams was born on February 8, 1932. His career spans over six decades and he has composed some of the most popular and recognizable film scores in cinematic history, to many of the highest-grossing films of all time, including Jaws, the Star Wars series, Superman, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones series, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, the first two Home Alone movies, and the first three Harry Potter films.              
Williams has won five Academy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, seven British Academy Film Awards, and 23 Grammy Awards. He has had 50 Academy Award nominations. In 2005, the American Film Institute selected Williams' score to 1977's Star Wars as the greatest American film score of all time. The soundtrack to Star Wars was additionally preserved by the Library of Congress into the National Recording Registry, for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Williams was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl's Hall of Fame in 2000, and was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004 and the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2016. Williams composed the score for eight movies in the Top 20 highest-grossing films at the U.S. box office.         
Williams's style has been described as a form of neoromanticism, inspired by the late 19th century's large-scale orchestral music, in the style of Tchaikovsky or Richard Wagner compositions and their concept of leitmotif, that inspired his film music predecessors. He composed music for various television programs in the 1960s: the pilot episode of Gilligan's Island, Bachelor Father (1959-1960), the Kraft Suspense Theatre, Lost in Space (1965–68), The Time Tunnel (1966–67), and Land of the Giants (the last three created by TV producer, Irwin Allen). 
Williams has written many concert pieces, including a symphony; a Concerto for Horn written for Dale Clevenger, the Principal Hornist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; a Concerto for Clarinet written for Michele Zukovsky (the Principal Clarinetist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic) in 1991; a sinfonietta for wind ensemble; a cello concerto premiered by Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in 1994; concertos for the flute and violin recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra; and a trumpet concerto, which was premiered by The Cleveland Orchestra and their principal trumpet player, Michael Sachs, in September 1996.      
His bassoon concerto, The Five Sacred Trees, which was premiered by the New York Philharmonic and principal bassoon player Judith LeClair in 1995, was recorded for Sony Classical by Williams with LeClair and the London Symphony Orchestra. Williams was the subject of an hour-long documentary for the BBC in 1980, and was featured in a report on 20/20 in 1983.      
From 1980–93, Williams succeeded Arthur Fiedler as the Boston Pops Orchestra's Principal Conductor. His arrival as the Pops' new leader in the spring of 1980 allowed him to devote part of the Pops' first PBS broadcast of the season to presenting his new compositions for The Empire Strikes Back.     
Williams almost ended his tenure with the Pops in 1984. Some players hissed while sight-reading a new Williams composition in rehearsal; Williams abruptly left the session and turned in his resignation. He initially cited mounting conflicts with his film composing schedule, but later admitted a perceived lack of discipline in, and respect from, the Pops' ranks, culminating in this latest instance. After entreaties by the management and personal apologies from the musicians, Williams withdrew his resignation and continued as principal conductor for nine more years. In 1995, he was succeeded by Keith Lockhart, the former associate conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
Williams is now the Pops' Laureate Conductor, thus maintaining his affiliation with its parent, the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO). Williams leads the Pops on several occasions each year, particularly during their Holiday Pops season and typically for a week of concerts in May. He conducts an annual Film Night at both Boston Symphony Hall and Tanglewood.

John Williams Net links:             
  Concert works    
YouTube links:        
  Concerto for Horn  
  Concerto for Clarinet        
  Cello Concerto      
  Concerto For Flute And Violin      
  Concerto for Trumpet   
  Sinfonietta for Wind Ensemble   
  The Five Sacred Trees    
Styrous® ~ Friday May 19, 2017  

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