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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
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
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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The 2018-19 season is Andris Nelsons’ fifth as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Ray and Maria Stata Music Director. Named Musical America’s 2018 Artist of the Year, Mr. Nelsons will lead fourteen of the BSO’s twenty-six subscription programs in 2018-19, ranging from orchestral works by Haydn, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, and Copland to concerto collaborations with acclaimed soloists, as well as world and American premieres of pieces newly commissioned by the BSO from Thomas Adès, Sebastian Currier, Andris Dzenītis, and Mark-Anthony Turnage; the continuation of his complete Shostakovich symphony cycle with the orchestra, and concert performances of Puccini’s one-act opera Suor Angelica. In summer 2015, following his first season as music director, Andris Nelsons’ contract with the BSO was extended through the 2021-22 season. In November 2017, he and the orchestra toured Japan together for the first time. In February 2018, he became Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, in which capacity he brings both orchestras together for a unique multi-dimensional alliance. Immediately following the 2018 Tanglewood season, Maestro Nelsons and the BSO made their third European tour together, playing concerts in London, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Lucerne, Paris, and Amsterdam. Their first European tour, following the 2015 Tanglewood season, took them to major European capitals and the Lucerne, Salzburg, and Grafenegg festivals; the second, in May 2016, took them to eight cities in Germany, Austria, and Luxembourg.
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. His recordings with the BSO, all made live in concert at Symphony Hall, include the complete Brahms symphonies on BSO Classics; Grammy-winning recordings on Deutsche Grammophon of Shostakovich’s symphonies 5, 8, 9, and 10, the initial releases in a complete Shostakovich symphony cycle for that label; and a new two-disc set pairing Shostakovich’s symphonies 4 and 11, The Year 1905. Under an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, Andris Nelsons is also recording the complete Bruckner symphonies with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the complete Beethoven symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic.
The 2018-19 season is Maestro Nelsons’ final season as artist-in-residence at the Konzerthaus Dortmund and marks his first season as artist-in-residence at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. In addition, he continues his regular collaborations with the Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic. Throughout his career, he has also established regular collaborations with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and has been a regular guest at the Bayreuth Festival and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
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 from 2008 to 2015, principal conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany, from 2006 to 2009, and music director of Latvian National Opera from 2003 to 2007.
Andris Nelsons, conductor