This article was written by Samuel Phineas Upham
When people think about favorite film scores, chances are good that they are humming a John Williams tune. Williams has been one of the most active and well-known composers in the film scene, but he’s not limited to film work alone. His five Academy Awards are only the tip of a long and illustrious career as a composer.
Perhaps best known for his work on Star Wars, Williams works hard to transcend the boundaries of the modern movie soundtrack. Where many contemporary films fall back on well-known artists producing tracks already heard on the radio, Williams’ original work has brought emotion out of film.
He was born in New York, but relocated to Los Angeles with his family. Williams studied composition at UCLA, then jazz piano at Julliard in New York. During the 60s, Williams worked with notable composers like Alfred Newman and Bernard Hoffman. He won two Emmy awards for his television work back then.
He was the nineteenth conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, a position he held until 1993. He led them on tours across the United States with a stop in Japan in 1987. He visited Japan again with the orchestra in 1990 and ’93. He has also appeared as the guest conductor for orchestras like the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Williams is well-known for his concert pieces, which have been played by the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Williams also composed the theme song to NBC News, and supplied the theme for the re-dedication of the Statue of Liberty.