Think of a pianist, conductor and composer who has bagged 52 Academy Award nominations, and worked with legendary directors like Alfred Hitchcock, William Wyler, Robert Altman, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg; making him the living person with the most nominations, and won five Academy Awards: think John Williams.
In a career that spans five decades, John Williams, born in New York City in 1932, is acclaimed as one of America’s most successful composers for film and for the concert stage.
John Williams has scored more than 100 films, including ‘Jaws,’ eight ‘Star Wars’ movies, ‘E.T.’ and the first three ‘Harry Potter’ films. In fact, Williams has done all of Spielberg’s films except “The Color Purple” and “Bridge of Spies”. Three of Williams’ five Academy Awards are for Spielberg scores (“Jaws,” “E.T.” and “Schindler’s List”).
No wonder Spielberg said of Williams, “I have to say, without question, John Williams has been the single most significant contributor to my success as a filmmaker.”
Star Wars Theme
Williams repertoire has been vast – initially working as a jazz pianist, both in night clubs and on recordings, then moving on to the film industry, as well as writing music for hundreds of television episodes – the relatively recent television work includes the highly recalled theme for NBC Nightly News (‘The Mission’); the theme for NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ which is the network’s longest-running series; and the theme for the coveted PBS arts showcase ‘Great Performances.’
Apart from film and television, Williams has composed numerous works for the concert stage, among them two symphonies, and concertos for flute, violin, clarinet, viola, oboe and tuba. He has served as music director and laureate conductor of America’s highly honoured musical institution, the Boston Pops Orchestra; and is deeply involved with many of the world’s great orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
The Jurassic Park Theme
Williams who holds honorary degrees from 21 American universities and regarded as one of America’s most distinctive artistic voices, has also composed music for many prestigious cultural and commemorative events. In an eventful career, Williams has been bestowed with seven British Academy Awards (BAFTA), 22 Grammys, four Golden Globes, five Emmys, and numerous gold and platinum records; besides the National Medal of Arts, the Kennedy Center Honor and the Olympic Order.
Whenever one recalls mesmerizing moments at the movies, just remember, John Williams had a key role to play in many of them, such as: ‘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.’
Harry Potter Theme
The indefatigable and super-talented Williams has composed the scores for all seven ‘Star Wars’ films, the first three ‘Harry Potter’ films, ‘Superman: The Movie’, ‘JFK’, ‘Born on the Fourth of July’, ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’, ‘Far and Away’, ‘The Accidental Tourist’, ‘Home Alone’, ‘Nixon’, ‘The Patriot’, ‘Angela’s Ashes’, ‘Seven Years in Tibet’, ‘The Witches of Eastwick’, ‘Rosewood’, ‘Sleepers’, ‘Sabrina’, ‘Presumed Innocent’, ‘Some Like It Hot’, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘Daddy-O’, ‘Valley of the Dolls’, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and ‘The Poseidon Adventure.’
Sara Whitten writes in CNBC.com (Mon Jan 13, 2020), “Legendary composer John Williams has broken his own record for most Oscar nominations earned by a living person. The maestro on Monday received his 52nd nomination, this time for his work on “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Williams follows just behind the late Walt Disney, who had 59 Oscar nominations, for the most Academy Award nominations of all time.”
In April 2021 it was announced that Williams will be returning to write the score for the upcoming sequel ‘Indiana Jones 5’ scheduled to hit theatres in mid-2022.