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Over the course of his long career, James Taylor has earned 40 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards and 5 Grammy Awards for a catalog running from 1970's Sweet Baby James to his Grammy Award-winning efforts Hourglass (1997) and October Road (2002). Taylor's first Greatest Hits album earned him the RIAA's elite Diamond Award, given for sales in excess of 10 million units in the United States. For his accomplishments, James was honored with the 1998 Century Award, Billboard magazine's highest accolade, bestowed for distinguished creative achievement. The year 2000 saw his induction into both the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and the prestigious Songwriter's Hall of Fame. In February 2006, The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences selected James its MUSICARES Person of the Year.
Raised in North Carolina, James now lives in western Massachusetts. He has sold some 40 million albums throughout his career, which began back in 1968 when he was signed to the Beatles' Apple Records. The album James Taylor was his first and only solo effort for Apple, which came a year after his first working experience with Danny Kortchmar and the band Flying Machine. It was only a matter of time before he would make his mark.
Above all, there are the songs: "Fire and Rain," "Country Road," "Something in The Way She Moves," "Mexico," "Shower The People," "Your Smiling Face," "Carolina In My Mind," "Sweet Baby James," "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," "You Can Close Your Eyes," "Walking Man," "Never Die Young," "Shed A Little Light," "Copperline" and many more. Taylor's songs have had a profound influence on both songwriters and music lovers of all generations and from all walks of life.
As a recording and touring artist, James set a precedent for solo singer/songwriters and blazed a path to which countless numbers of earnest young musicians have since aspired. His warm baritone is among the most recognized voices in popular music and his guitar playing has established its own standard.
James released Sweet Baby James in 1970. It went triple-platinum and spawned his first Top 10 hit, the intensely personal "Fire and Rain." The following year saw the release of another million-seller, Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon and the #1 single, "You've Got a Friend," written by long time friend Carole King. The recording won a Grammy Award in 1971 for Best Pop Male Vocal. In 1972, Taylor scored another Gold album with One Man Dog, which was followed up in 1973 with Walking Man.
The album Gorilla (1975) included two more major chart entries: "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" and "Mexico." Following his final Warner Brothers recording, In The Pocket, James moved on to Columbia Records and released a string of critically praised and commercially successful albums: JT, his 1977 double-platinum debut, included a Top 10 cover of Jimmy Jones' "Handy Man," a song that gave Taylor another Grammy for Best Pop Male Vocal. Flag (1979), Dad Loves His Work (1981), That's Why I'm Here (1985), Never Die Young (1988), New Moon Shine (1991) and the double-disc Live album (1993), show Taylor's consistency: all were certified platinum. Hourglass (1998), which garnered James' first Grammy Award for Best Pop Album, and October Road (2002), another Grammy winner, also enjoyed platinum sales.
James Taylor's music embodies the art of songwriting in its most fundamental form. He has been at it for decades: transforming introspective meditations into lyrics, melodies and harmonies that comfort and reassure the listener with the sense that these sometimes painful, sometimes celebratory moments are a part of life, shared by us all. In 1971, James was featured on the cover of TIME magazine, who heralded him as the harbinger of 'the singer/songwriter era". Today, the quintessential singer/songwriter has seen that era crossover into the 21st century. James currently resides in The Berkshires with his wife, Caroline and their sons Henry and Rufus.
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Seiji Ozawa is Music Director of the Vienna State Opera since
the 2002/2003 season and is an annual and favored guest of the
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Prior to his Vienna State Opera
appointment he served as Music Director of the Boston Symphony for
29 seasons (1973-2002), the longest serving music director in the
orchestra's history. Mo. Ozawa is also Artistic Director and
Founder of the Saito Kinen Festival and Saito Kinen Orchestra
(SKO), the pre-eminent music and opera festival of Japan and in
June 2003 it was announced that he would be Music Director of a new
festival of opera, symphony concerts and chamber music called
"Tokyo no Mori" which had its first annual season in February 2005
in Tokyo. The 4th season opera in April 2008 was Eugene
Onegin. In 2000 he founded the Ozawa Ongaku-Juku in Japan, an
academy for aspiring young orchestral musicians where they play
with pre-eminent professional players in symphonic concerts and
fully staged opera productions with international level casting.
The Ongaku-Juku opera for July 2009 will be Hansel and
In 2004, Maestro Ozawa founded the International Music Academy -
Switzerland dedicated to training young musicians in chamber music
and offering them performance opportunities in orchestras and as
soloists. Its first season was at the end of June and beginning of
July 2005 and its 6th season will be June 25-30, 2009. Since
founding the Saito Kinen Orchestra in 1984, and its subsequent
evolution into the Saito Kinen Festival in 1991, Mo. Ozawa has
devoted himself increasingly to the growth and development of the
Saito Kinen orchestra in Japan. With extensive recording projects,
annual and world-wide tours, and especially since the inception of
the Saito Kinen Festival in the Japan "Alps' city of Matsumoto, he
has built a world-class and world-renowned orchestra, dedicated in
spirit, name and accomplishment to the memory of his teacher at
Tokyo's Toho School of Music, Hideo Saito, a revered figure in the
cultivation of Western music and musical technique in Japan. The
Saito Kinen Festival was from August 26-September 9, 2008 featuring
concerts as well as staged performances of Cunning Little
Vixen, with Maestro Ozawa as conductor.
During 2007/2008, Maestro Ozawa's appearances included: Far East
tour of Le Nozze di Figaro with Vienna State
Opera [Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei, Keohsiung and Singapore]; Orchestre
National de France concerts in Paris and at Besançon, Pique
Dame with the Vienna State Opera; followed by
Tannhäuser with the Opera National de Paris; Berlin
Philharmonic European tour [Berlin, Paris, Lucerne and Vienna];
Zauberflöte für Kinder in Vienna;
Elektra with Teatro Comunale di Firenze; Berlin
Philharmonic concerts for the Salzburg Easter Festival; Japan
performances with Tokyo Opera No Mori [Eugene
Onegin]; Ongaku-Juku performances of Die
Fledermaus followed by Saito Kinen concerts and staged
performances of Cunning Little Vixen. Maestro Ozawa will
be at Vienna State Opera in the 2008/2009 season with Pique
Dame in September and October, followed by a tour in Japan
with the Vienna State Opera in a production of Fidelio.
November and December marks his return to the Metropolitan Opera,
conducting Queen of Spades, as well as appearing with the
Boston Symphony Orchestra in late November. January 2009 he
performs with the New Japan Philharmonic in Japan, returning to
Europe for a performance with Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at
Salzburg's Mozartwoche on January 24, followed by concerts with the
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He appears with Orchestre de l'Opéra
de Paris at the Bastille on February 7, returning to Vienna for
Zauberflöte für Kinder on February 20 followed by Vienna
State Opera's Eugene Onegin in March. During April he will
be in Japan for performances with the New Japan Philharmonic,
Ongaku Juku and the Mito Chamber Orchestra. Returning to Paris in
May, he conducts the Orchestre de l'Opéra de Paris with Renee
Fleming on May 7; then tours with the Berlin Philharmonic also in
May. Maestro Ozawa returns to Vienna State Opera for Eugene
Onegin in late May/early June and following this period he has
concerts in June with the Vienna Philharmonic. He will conduct and
hold classes at his Swiss Academy June 25-30, returning to Japan
for Ongaku Juku performances of Hansel and Gretel at the
end of July followed by the War Requiem and
concerts during the Saito Kinen Festival between August 26 and
September 9, 2009.
Born in 1935 in Shenyang, China, Seiji Ozawa studied music from
an early age and later graduated with first prizes in both
composition and conducting from Tokyo's Toho School of Music. In
1959 he won first prize at the International Competition of
Orchestra Conductors in Besançon, France, where he came to the
attention of Charles Munch, then the Boston Symphony music
director, who invited him to Tanglewood, where he won the
Koussevitzky Prize as outstanding student conductor in 1960. While
working with Herbert von Karajan in West Berlin, Mr. Ozawa came to
the attention of Leonard Bernstein, who appointed him assistant
conductor of the New York Philharmonic for the 1961-62 season. He
made his first professional concert appearance in North America in
January 1962, with the San Francisco Symphony. He was music
director of the Ravinia Festival, summer home of the Chicago
Symphony (1964-69), music director of the Toronto Symphony
(1965-1969) and music director of the San Francisco Symphony
(1970-1976). He first conducted the Boston Symphony in 1964 at
Tanglewood and made his first winter subscription appearance with
them in 1968. He was named Artistic Director of Tanglewood in 1970,
Music Director of the Boston Symphony in 1973, leaving a legacy of
brilliant achievement evidenced through touring, award-winning
recordings (more than 140 works of more than 50 composers on 10
labels), television productions (winning 2 Emmy awards), and
Through his many recordings, television appearances, and
worldwide touring, Mo. Ozawa is an internationally recognized
celebrity. In recent years, the many honors and achievements
bestowed upon Mr. Ozawa have underscored his esteemed standing in
the international music scene. French President Jacques Chirac
named him (1999) Chevalier de la Légion
d'Honneur, the Sorbonne (2004) awarded him Doctorate
Honoris Causa and he has been honored as "Musician of the
Year" by Musical America. February 1998 saw him fulfilling
a longtime ambition of joining musicians around the globe: he led
the Opening Ceremonies at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan,
conducting the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with
the SKO and six choruses located on five different continents -
Japan, Australia, China, Germany, South Africa, and the United
States - all linked by satellite. He received Japan's first-ever
Inouye Award (1994), named after Japan's pre-eminent
novelist, recognizing lifetime achievement in the arts. 1994 also
saw the inauguration of the new and acclaimed Seiji Ozawa Hall at
Tanglewood. Mo. Ozawa also has been awarded honorary degrees from
Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts, Wheaton
College, and the New England Conservatory of Music.
Seiji Ozawa, conductor
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The 2020-2021 season is Andris Nelsons seventh as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Ray and Maria Stata Music Director. In summer 2015, following his first season as music director, his contract with the BSO was extended through the 2021-22 season. In February 2018 Mr. Nelsons was also named Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. On October 5, 2020, the BSO and GHO jointly announced extensions to Mr. Nelsons current contracts. His contract with the BSO was extended until 2025, and his GHO contract until 2027. An evergreen clause in his BSO contract reflects a mutual intention for a long-term commitment between the BSO and Mr. Nelsons beyond the years of the agreement.
Mr. Nelsons’ two positions, in addition to his leadership of a pioneering alliance between the institutions, have firmly established the Grammy Award-winning conductor as one of the most renowned and innovative artists on the international scene today. In fall 2019 Mr. Nelsons and the BSO hosted the Gewandhausorchester in historic concerts at Symphony Hall that included two performances by the GHO as well as concerts featuring the players of both orchestras together.
In the 2019-20 season, Andris Nelsons led the BSO in repertoire ranging from favorites by Beethoven, Dvořák, Grieg, Mozart, Mahler, Ravel, and Tchaikovsky to world and American premieres of BSO-commissioned works from Eric Nathan, Betsy Jolas, and the Latvian composer Arturs Maskats. The season also brought the continuation of his complete Shostakovich symphony cycle with the orchestra and collaborations with an impressive array of guest artists. Mr. Nelsons’ work with the BSO resumes with his return to Boston at the start of 2021.
Andris Nelsons’ and the BSO’s ongoing series of recordings of the complete Shostakovich symphonies for Deutsche Grammophon has included the composer’s symphonies 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 11 (The Year 1905), and most recently a two-disc set pairing Shostakovich’s symphonies 6 and 7 (Leningrad). The cycle has earned three Grammy awards for Best Orchestral Performance and one for Best Engineered Album. The next installment, featuring symphonies nos. 1, 14, and 15 and the Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a (arr. Rudolf Barshai), is scheduled for release in summer 2021. Future releases will go beyond the symphonies to encompass the composer’s concertos for piano, violin, and cello, and his monumental opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. Mr. Nelsons’ other recordings with the orchestra include the complete Brahms symphonies for the BSO Classics label and a Naxos release of BSO-commissioned world premiere works by four American composers: Timo Andres, Eric Nathan, Sean Shepherd, and George Tsontakis.
The fifteenth music director in the history of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons made his BSO debut at Carnegie Hall in March 2011, his Tanglewood debut in July 2012, and his BSO subscription series debut in January 2013. In November 2017, Mr. Nelsons and the BSO toured Japan together for the first time. They have so far made three European tours together: immediately following the 2018 Tanglewood season, when they played concerts in London, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Lucerne, Paris, and Amsterdam; in May 2016, a tour that took them to eight cities in Germany, Austria, and Luxembourg; and, after the 2015 Tanglewood season, a tour that took them to major European capitals and the Lucerne, Salzburg, and Grafenegg festivals. A scheduled February 2020 tour to East Asia was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.
In his capacity as BSO Music Director and Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Mr. Nelsons brings the BSO and GHO together for a unique multi-dimensional alliance including a BSO/GHO Musician Exchange program and an exchange component within each orchestra’s acclaimed academy for advanced music studies. A major aspect of the alliance is a focus on complementary programming, through which the BSO celebrates “Leipzig Week in Boston” and the GHO celebrates “Boston Week in Leipzig,” highlighting each other’s musical traditions through uniquely programmed concerts, chamber music performances, archival exhibits, and lecture series. The two orchestras have jointly commissioned and premiered works from Latvian, American, and German and Austrian composers.
In addition to his Shostakovich recordings with the BSO, Mr. Nelsons’ exclusive partnership with Deutsche Grammophon includes two other major projects. With the Gewandhausorchester he continues his critically acclaimed Bruckner symphonic cycle under the Yellow Label, of which four volumes have been released to date. His recordings of Beethoven’s complete symphonies with the Wiener Philharmoniker were released by Deutsche Grammophon in October 2019.
Mr. Nelsons frequently leads such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. As an opera conductor, he has made regular guest appearances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Bayreuth Festival. Born in Riga in 1978 into a family of musicians, Andris Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting. He was Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (2008-2015), Principal Conductor of Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany (2006-09), and Music Director of the Latvian National Opera (2003-07).
Andris Nelsons, conductor
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On May 10, 1995, Keith Lockhart, the 20th Conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, opened his very first Boston Pops season, leading a concert featuring guests Sylvia McNair, Mandy Patinkin, and Doc Severinsen, and repertoire ranging from Wagner to “Charlie on the MTA.” He was only 35 years old—the same age as Arthur Fiedler was when he became Boston Pops Conductor in 1930—and was dubbed “The Kid” by longtime Pops Associate Conductor Harry Ellis Dickson. The press coverage from the time of Keith’s appointment to the position in February 1995 was extensive, commenting on not only his musical talent but also his good looks and enviable head of hair, as well as the challenge of following in the illustrious footsteps of John Williams and Arthur Fiedler. But this baby boomer, born in 1959, came to the position with musical chops, a remarkable work ethic, and a deep appreciation for both the institution of the Pops and its audience. His varied conducting experience encompassed both the symphonic and pops repertoire, as well as performances in concert halls and on recordings; he had most recently served as Associate Conductor of both the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops, and made his Boston Pops debut as a guest conductor in 1993, just two years before he was appointed Conductor.
Over the next 25 years, with seemingly endless energy, Keith Lockhart, who holds the Julian and Eunice Cohen Boston Pops Conductor chair, would lead the Boston Pops in more than 2,000 concerts, in every imaginable setting—from hospitals to the Super Bowl—and collaborate with nearly 300 guest artists, drawn from the worlds of classical and popular music, rock, jazz, sports, politics, Broadway, and Hollywood.
Although acclaimed around the world, the Boston Pops—sometimes called “America’s Orchestra”—remains a treasured local fixture, as beloved as the region’s sports teams and historic landmarks. Its reputation has been acknowledged in popular culture, recently in a memorable episode of the animated television series “The Simpsons.” The family decided to take a “hate-cation” to Boston—because of Homer’s resentment of the “Boston Americans” football team and its fans—and ultimately fell in love with the city that has “a Symphony AND a Pops.” Through the years, Keith Lockhart has embraced Boston and in return, Boston has embraced him.
Most of the concerts led by Keith Lockhart take place in Symphony Hall, itself a registered historic landmark, during the orchestra’s spring and holiday seasons. He has also led annual Boston Pops appearances at Tanglewood, Pops concerts at Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall, 45 national tours to more than 150 cities in 38 states, and four international tours to Japan and Korea. He and the Pops have made 80 television shows, including 38 new programs for the PBS series Evening at Pops, and participated in such high-profile sporting events as Super Bowl XXXVI, the 2008 NBA finals, the 2013 Boston Red Sox Ring Ceremony, and the Red Sox Opening Day game at Fenway Park in 2009. The annual July 4 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular draws a live audience of over half a million to the Charles River Esplanade, and millions more view it on television or live webcast. During Keith’s tenure, the July 4 event was televised by a major national network for the first time. In 2017, with Eaton Vance as presenting sponsor and Bloomberg as the exclusive media partner, the Pops organization presented its first self-produced Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, which was broadcast on Bloomberg Television and all its media outlets. Both companies are continuing their commitments to the event.
Lockhart-led albums on the RCA Victor/BMG Classics label include Runnin’ Wild: The Boston Pops Play Glenn Miller, American Visions, The Celtic Album (Grammy-nominated, the first Boston Pops recording to be so honored), Holiday Pops, A Splash of Pops, The Latin Album (Latin Grammy-nominated), Encore!, and My Favorite Things: A Richard Rodgers Celebration. Recent releases on the in-house label, Boston Pops Recordings, include The Red Sox Album, A Boston Pops Christmas—Live from Symphony Hall, and The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers, which was a Boston Pops commission premiered in 2010 during the orchestra’s 125th season. Released at the beginning of the 2017 Pops season, Lights, Camera...Music! Six Decades of John Williams features Keith Lockhart leading the Boston Pops in a collection of Williams compositions from the 1960s onward, including some rarities.
Keith’s personal affinity for American music has led him to program full-length Broadway musicals and invite stars of the musical theater world to perform with the Pops. He has worked closely with hundreds of talented young musicians, including Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, college students from the Boston Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, and area high school students. He introduced the PopSearch talent competition and the innovative JazzFest and EdgeFest series, featuring prominent jazz and indie artists performing with the Pops. Well aware of the influence of technology on our lives and the concert experience, he was the driving force behind “Pops on Demand,” allowing audience members to vote on their cell phones in such categories as “Favorite Disney Song” and “Favorite John Williams Theme” and see the results in real time. The Lockhart/Pops album Oscar & Tony was the basis of a Pops internet TV broadcast, the first such program offered by a symphony orchestra. In recent seasons, he and the Pops have presented a number of films in concert, both classic (The Wizard of Oz) and contemporary (Home Alone). He is dedicated to building and updating the Boston Pops library of music, which contains over 5,000 arrangements.
With a renewed commitment to bringing the Boston Pops into the Boston community and to important civic events, Keith Lockhart and the Pops have appeared at gubernatorial and mayoral inauguration ceremonies; the holiday tree lighting in Boston’s Public Garden; sporting events including Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics games, and the memorial service for the Boston Marathon bombing victims. He has led free concerts in such major public spaces as the Boston Common and Franklin Park, and each holiday season he brings musicians of the Pops to play for patients at Children’s Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. He is a recipient of the 2017 Commonwealth Awards for Achievement, the state’s highest honor in the arts, humanities, and sciences presented by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
More recently Keith and the Pops initiated a conducting competition for students aged 18 to 30 during the 2018 season-long celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s centennial. As part of a 2019 Pops tour concert in Fort Lauderdale, Keith invited student survivors from the shooting at Margery Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland to perform a song, composed by two of them, honoring the resilience of their community. Back at Symphony Hall, both the spring and holiday Pops seasons in 2019 included a sensory-friendly concert designed for families with children or adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or sensory sensitivities.
Keith recently completed a decade-long relationship with the BBC Concert Orchestra, first as principal conductor and then as the orchestra's chief guest conductor. During his tenure as principal conductor, he led the 2012 Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II. He continues to serve as artistic director of the Brevard Music Center Summer Institute and Festival in North Carolina. Prior to his BBC appointment, he spent eleven years as music director of the Utah Symphony, which he led at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He has appeared as a guest conductor with virtually every major symphonic ensemble in North America, as well as many prestigious orchestras in Asia and Europe. Before coming to Boston, he was the associate conductor of both the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops orchestras, as well as music director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Born in Poughkeepsie, New York, Keith Lockhart began his musical studies with piano lessons at the age of seven. He holds degrees from Furman University and Carnegie Mellon University, and honorary doctorates from several American universities.
Having the gift of being able to communicate with people of all ages, Keith Lockhart readily conveys his passion for the music he loves, which covers a wide spectrum. His programming reflects this breadth of interest and he is completely at ease articulating his professional and personal perspectives. Above all, he believes in and appreciates the experience that only the Boston Pops can provide—an atmosphere of music-making that is both fun and entertaining. He has called the Pops “the great outreach arm of the classical music industry. There’s no orchestra like it in this country or in the world that plays such a wide variety of music at such a high level.”
For more on Keith Lockhart, visit keithlockhart.com or bostonpops.org.
Keith Lockhart, conductor
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In a career spanning five decades, John Williams has become one of America's most accomplished and successful composers for film and for the concert stage. He has served as music director and laureate conductor of one of the country's treasured musical institutions, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and he maintains thriving artistic relationships with many of the world's great orchestras. He remains one of our nation's most distinguished and contributive musical voices.
Mr. Williams has composed the music and served as music director for more than 100 films. His nearly 40-year artistic partnership with director Steven Spielberg has resulted in many of Hollywood's most acclaimed and successful films, including Schindler's List, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Indiana Jones films, Lincoln, Saving Private Ryan, War Horse, The Adventures of Tintin, Amistad, Munich, Hook, Catch Me If You Can, Minority Report, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and Empire of the Sun. Mr. Williams also composed the scores for all six Star Wars films, the first three Harry Potter films, Superman, 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, The Cowboys, The Reivers, and Goodbye, Mr. Chips, among many others. His most recent film project was The Book Thief. He has worked with such legendary directors as Alfred Hitchcock, William Wyler, and Robert Altman. He adapted the score for the film version of Fiddler on the Roof, for which he composed original violin cadenzas for renowned virtuoso Isaac Stern. He has appeared on recordings as pianist and conductor with Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Jessye Norman, and others. Mr. Williams has received five Academy Awards and a total of forty-nine Oscar nominations, making him the Academy's most-nominated living person. He also has received seven British Academy Awards (BAFTA), twenty-one Grammys, four Golden Globes, five Emmys, and numerous gold and platinum records.
A composition student of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Mr. Williams also studied piano at the Juilliard School with Madame Rosina Lhevinne. He began his career in the film industry working with such accomplished composers as Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman, and Franz Waxman. He went on to write music for more than 200 television films for the groundbreaking, early anthology series Alcoa Theatre, Kraft Television Theatre, Chrysler Theatre, and Playhouse 90. His more recent contributions to television music include themes for NBC Nightly News ("The Mission"), the theme for what has become network television's longest-running series, NBC's Meet the Press, and the prestigious PBS arts showcase Great Performances.
Mr. Williams has composed numerous works for the concert stage, among them two symphonies, and concertos for flute, oboe, violin, clarinet, viola, and tuba. His cello concerto was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and premiered by Yo-Yo Ma at Tanglewood in 1994. Mr. Williams also has filled commissions by several of the world's leading orchestras, including a bassoon concerto for the New York Philharmonic, a trumpet concerto for the Cleveland Orchestra, and a horn concerto for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. "Seven for Luck," a seven-piece song cycle for soprano and orchestra based on texts by former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, was premiered by the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood in 1998. And at the opening concert of their 2009-10 season, James Levine led the Boston Symphony in the premiere of Mr. Williams's "On Willows and Birches," a new concerto for harp and orchestra.
In January 1980, Mr. Williams was named nineteenth conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, succeeding the legendary Arthur Fiedler. He currently holds the title of Laureate Conductor, which he assumed following his retirement in December 1993, after fourteen highly successful seasons. He also holds the title of Artist-in-Residence at Tanglewood.
One of America's best-known and most distinctive artistic voices, Mr. Williams has composed music for many important cultural and commemorative events, including "Liberty Fanfare" for the rededication of the Statue of Liberty in 1986, "American Journey" for the America's Millennium concert in Washington, D.C., on New Year's Eve 1999, and "Soundings" for the gala opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. In the world of sport, he has contributed musical themes for the 1984, 1988, and 1996 Summer Olympic Games, and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Mr. Williams holds honorary degrees from twenty-one American universities, including The Juilliard School, Boston College, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Boston University, the New England Conservatory of Music, the University of Massachusetts at Boston, The Eastman School of Music, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and the University of Southern California. He is a recipient of the 2009 National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the United States Government. In 2003 he received the Olympic Order, the IOC's highest honor, for his contributions to the Olympic movement. He served as the Grand Marshal of the 2004 Rose Parade in Pasadena, and was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honor in December 2004. In January 2009, Mr. Williams composed and arranged "Air and Simple Gifts" especially for the inaugural ceremony of President Barack Obama.
John Williams, conductor
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James Burton was appointed Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and to the newly created position of BSO Choral Director, in February 2017. He made his BSO subscription-series conducting debut in October 2018, leading the Tanglewood Festival Chorus in Maija Einfelde’s Lux aeterna. In August 2019 he led the Boston Symphony Children’s Choir and Boston Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of his The Lost Words, a BSO co-commission, as part of the summer’s gala Tanglewood on Parade concert. In April 2020 he will conduct the Tanglewood Festival Concert in a post-concert Casual Friday performance of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil to celebrate the TFC’s fiftieth anniversary. Mr. Burton made his debut with the Boston Pops in December 2017, returned to the Pops podium last December—as he will again for Holiday Pops concerts in December 2019—and led the Pops this past June at Tanglewood in a program celebrating Queen with Marc Martel.
Born in London, James Burton holds a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Frederik Prausnitz and Gustav Meier. He began his training at the Choir of Westminster Abbey, where he became head chorister, and was a choral scholar at St. John’s College, Cambridge. He has conducted concerts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hallé Orchestra, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, and Manchester Camerata. Opera credits include performances at English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Garsington Opera, and the Prague Summer Nights Festival, and he has served on the music staff of the Metropolitan Opera and Opera de Paris. Mr. Burton’s extensive choral conducting has included guest invitations with professional choirs including the Gabrieli Consort, the Choir of the Enlightenment, Wrocław Philharmonic, and the BBC Singers, with whom he performed in the inaugural season of Dubai’s Opera House in 2017. From 2002 to 2009 he served as choral director at the Hallé Orchestra, where he was music director of the Hallé Choir and founding conductor of the Hallé Youth Choir, winning the Gramophone Choral Award in 2009. From 2002 to 2017 he was music director of the Schola Cantorum of Oxford. Well known for his inspirational work with young musicians, he was director of the National Youth Choir of Japan in 2017 and founded the Boston Symphony Children’s Choir in 2018. Mr. Burton has given conducting master classes at the Royal Academy of Music in London and at the Tanglewood Music Center, and founded a scholarship for young conductors at Oxford. His growing composition portfolio includes works for commissioners including the National Portrait Gallery in London, the 2010 World Equestrian Games, the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, and the Exon Festival, where he was composer-in-residence in 2015. His works are published by Edition Peters. As BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, James Burton occupies the Alan J. and Suzanne W. Dworsky Chair, endowed in perpetuity.
James Burton, conductor
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The BSCC performs with the BSO, Boston Pops and Tanglewood Festival Chorus at Symphony Hall, as well as at Tanglewood. After holding auditions for nearly 200 children in the fall of 2017, sixty-five singers grades 5-9 were selected by BSO Choral Director James Burton to take part in the BSO's January 2018 performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 3. These concerts featured the BSO, Women of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and the Mahler 3 Children's Choir under the baton of Maestro Andris Nelsons. Following the success of that project, the Boston Symphony Children's Choir (BSCC) was officially announced as a permanent ensemble of the BSO. The BSCC continues to perform with the BSO, Boston Pops and Tanglewood Festival Chorus in performances during the Winter Season in Symphony Hall, as well as during Holiday Pops, Spring Pops and at Tanglewood.
Boston Symphony Children's Choir