Saturday, February 25, 2012

Composer John Williams (b. 1932): An Appreciation

John Williams (b. 1932)
American Film & Art Composer, Pianist, Arranger, Orchestrator & Conductor

With a Record 47 Oscar Nominations & 5 Wins to Date
Works Include Jane Eyre (1970), Fiddler on the Roof (adaptation), Jaws, Star Wars (Series), Superman, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Indiana Jones (Series), Jurassic Park (I, II), Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Munich, Memoirs of a Geisha, War of the Worlds, A.I., Harry Potter (I & 2 Sequels), The Adventures of Tin-Tin & War Horse, among others.

He's composed the score for almost every major Spielberg film, except for Color Purple, and for almost every George Lucas film, except for THX-1138. For years, he led the Boston Pops Orchestra. In mid-1970's, he was largely responsible for re-introducing the symphonic score to the larger film culture worldwide, and his sophisticated music has continued to form a bridge from the pop culture to the classical music before a global audience. Many a first-rate young talent, and not just in the less developed countries, who had his or her first major grasp of modern symphonic orchestration by being exposed to his music. For years, he's remained the composer of choice for other Hollywood composers, openly admired on record as "the" role-model, by Elliot Goldenthal & James Horner, among others.

I've often recalled that I heard his music for Jane Eyre (1970) one night, as a little kid, on Iranian TV, and it never left me. The theme of Jane Eyre has remained one of my most endeared cinematic melodies ever since. Ironically, it took me many years before I learned that Mr. Williams, by then an established and admired figure in my musical glossary, was in fact the composer of this beloved theme from my childhood. He remains one of my most favorite composers in any genre, and one of the hand-picked film composers I could safely claim to be consistently excellent, without exception.

-- Payman Akhlaghi

(*) War Horse, directed by Steven Spielberg is nominated in the Best Picture Category (Oscars, 2012)

(*) This Note was first published and updated on 1/26/2011, on Payman's Facebook page.
Note © 2012, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.
(Photo available on the web.)

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