View biography in full page >
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
View biography in full page >
Having celebrated his twentieth anniversary as Boston Pops
Conductor in 2015, Keith Lockhart is the second longest-tenured
conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra since its founding in 1885.
He took over as conductor in 1995, following John Williams's
thirteen-year tenure from 1980 to 1993; Mr. Williams succeeded the
legendary Arthur Fiedler, who as at the helm of the orchestra for
nearly fifty years. During his tenure, Keith Lockhart has
significantly expanded Pops programming, focused on national annual
touring, and participated in major media events. He has solidified
the orchestra's place in the fabric of the New England community
and has led the Boston Pops in countless performance situations.
The list of more than 250 guest artists with whom he has
collaborated is a virtual "who's who" of performers and pop culture
Keith Lockhart, who occupies the Julian and Eunice Cohen Boston
Pops Conductor chair, has conducted more than 1,900 Boston Pops
concerts, most of which have taken place during the orchestra's
spring and holiday seasons in Boston's historic Symphony Hall. Mr.
Lockhart has also led annual Boston Pops appearances at Tanglewood,
43 national tours to more than 150 cities in 38 states, and four
international tours to Japan and Korea. He and the Pops have made
79 television shows 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 who view it on television or live
webcast. Last year, with Eaton Vance as presenting sponsor and
Bloomberg 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 made initial three-year commitments to the event in
Mr. Lockhart has led eight albums on the RCA Victor/BMG Classics
label, including two-The Celtic Album and The Latin
Album-that earned Grammy nominations. Recent releases on
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, some of which can be
Programming-wise, Keith Lockhart has put an increased focus on
musical theater, attracting such leading Broadway artists as
Kristen Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Kelli O'Hara, Bernadette Peters,
and Billy Porter to the Pops stage. 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. He is dedicated to
building and updating the Boston Pops library of music, which
contains over five thousand arrangements.
With a renewed commitment to bring 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 annual 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
Boston Common and Franklin Park, and each holiday season brings
members of the Pops to play for patients at Children's
Perhaps the most significant key to Keith Lockhart's success is
his ability to connect passionately with audiences through his
engaging programs, his commitment to speaking directly from the
stage with fascinating insights into the music, and his inherent
understanding of the importance of what sets the Pops experience
apart from a traditional orchestra concert-an atmosphere of
music-making that is both fun and entertaining for music lovers of
Having just completed an eight-year tenure as principal
conductor, Keith Lockhart is now chief guest conductor of the BBC
Concert Orchestra in London, which he led in the June 2012 Diamond
Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II; he is also 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. Prior to 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, NY, 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. Visit keithlockhart.com for further information.
Keith Lockhart, conductor