One of the most popular and successful American orchestral composers of the modern age, John Williams is the winner of five Academy Awards, 17 Grammys, three Golden Globes, two Emmys and five BAFTA Awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Best known for his film scores and ceremonial music, Williams is also a noted composer of concert works and a renowned conductor.
Williams’ scores for such films as Jaws, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Schindler's List, as well as the Indiana Jones series, have won him multiple awards and produced best-selling recordings, and his scores for the original Star Wars trilogy transformed the landscape of Hollywood film music and became icons of American culture.
Williams has composed the music and served as music director for nearly eighty films, including Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Seven Years in Tibet, The Lost World, Rosewood, Sleepers, Nixon, Sabrina, Schindler's List, Jurassic Park, Home Alone, Far and Away, JFK, Hook, Presumed Innocent, Always, Born on the Fourth of July, the Indiana Jones trilogy, The Accidental Tourist, Empire of the Sun, The Witches of Eastwick, the Star Wars trilogy, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, The Empire Strikes Back, Superman, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws and Goodbye Mr. Chips.
Williams has been awarded several gold and platinum records, and his score for Schindler's List earned him both an Oscar and a Grammy. In 2000, at the ShoWest Convention USA, he was honored as Maestro of the Year by the National Association of Theater Owners.
John Williams was born in New York and moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1948. There he attended UCLA and studied composition privately with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. After service in the Air Force, Mr. Williams returned to New York to attend the Juilliard School, where he studied piano with Madame Rosina Lhevinne. While in New York, he also worked as a jazz pianist, both in clubs and on recordings. He then returned to Los Angeles, where he began his career in the film industry, working with such composers as Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman, and Franz Waxman. He went on to write music for many television programs in the 1960s, winning two Emmy Awards for his work.
In January 1980, Williams was named nineteenth Conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra since its founding in 1885. He assumed the title of Boston Pops Laureate Conductor, following his retirement in December 1993, and currently holds the title of Artist-in-Residence at Tanglewood.
Williams has written many concert pieces, including a symphony, 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, concertos for the clarinet and tuba, and a trumpet concerto, which was premiered by the Cleveland Orchestra and their principal trumpet 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. In addition, Mr. Williams has composed the well-known NBC News theme "The Mission," "Liberty Fanfare" composed for the re-dedication of the Statue of Liberty, "We're Lookin' Good!," composed for the Special Olympics in celebration of the 1987 International Summer Games, and themes for the 1984, 1988, and 1996 Summer Olympic games. His most recent concert work Seven for Luck – for soprano and orchestra – is a seven-piece song cycle based on the texts of former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove. Seven for Luck was given its world premiere by the Boston Symphony under Mr. Williams with soprano Cynthia Haymon.
John Williams has led the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra on United States Tours in 1985, 1989 and 1992 and on a tour of Japan in 1987. He led the Boston Pops Orchestra on tours of Japan in 1990 and 1993. In addition to leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood, Williams has appeared as guest conductor with a number of major orchestras, including the London Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Williams holds honorary degrees from fourteen American universities, including Berklee College of Music in Boston, Boston College, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Boston University, the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Massachusetts at Boston. On June 23, 2000, he became the first inductee into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame.
A dancer, spoken word artist and director, he is the foremost advocate for hip hop theatre who has changed the profile and influenced the development of the British hip hop dance and theatre scene over the last two decades.
He has been actively involved in British hip hop culture, rapping and bboying since its genesis. Since graduating from the London Contemporary Dance School, Jonzi has been committed to the development of hip hop theatre, performing and creating dance theatre pieces around the world. Early works include Lyrikal Fearta (1995) and Aeroplane Man (1999). Jonzi D Productions was an Associate Company of Sadler’s Wells from 2004 – 2010, through which Jonzi devised and directed TAG… Just Writing My Name (2006), IVAN (2006) and Markus the Sadist, a rap theatre piece (2009).
Since 2004 Jonzi D has been Artistic Director for Breakin’ Convention and has triumphed in raising the profile and giving a platform to hip hop disciplines, which has gained worldwide recognition as being at the vanguard of the development of the art form. His TV credits include Def Poetry Jam (HBO) and was a creative consultant on LWT’s South Bank Show special documenting the art and culture of hip hop.