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John Williams

George and Roberta Berry Boston Pops Conductor Laureate

John Williams portrait


In a career spanning six decades, John Williams has become one of America’s most accomplished and successful composers for film and for the concert stage; he remains one of our nation’s most distinguished and contributive musical voices. 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 George and Roberta Berry Boston Pops Conductor Laureate, which he assumed following his retirement in December 1993, after 14 highly successful seasons. He also holds the title of Artist-in-Residence at Tanglewood and maintains thriving artistic relationships with many of the world’s great orchestras. His forty-five-year artistic partnership with director Steven Spielberg has resulted in such acclaimed and successful films as 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, and The Post. Mr. Williams also composed the scores for all nine of the Star Wars films, the first three Harry Potter films, and Superman, among many others. With five Academy Awards and 52 Oscar nominations, he is the Academy’s most-nominated living person. For television, he wrote scores for many early anthology series and the themes for NBC Nightly News (“The Mission”), NBC’s Meet the Press, and PBS’s Great Performances. His works for the concert stage include two symphonies, as well as concertos for violin, viola, cello, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, tuba, and harp. Mr. Williams has composed music for many important cultural and commemorative events, including Liberty Fanfare for the rededication of the Statue of Liberty, American Journey for the “America’s Millennium” concert in Washington, D.C., and themes for the 1984, 1988, and 1996 Summer Olympic Games and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. John Williams is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the United States government; the Olympic Order, the IOC’s highest honor; and the Kennedy Center Honor. He composed and arranged Air and Simple Gifts especially for the January 2009 inaugural ceremony of President Barack Obama. In June 2016 he received the 44th Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, and in 2020 he received Spain’s prestigious Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts as well as the Gold Medal from the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.

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