Happy Birthday to John Williams! In case you didn’t know, Williams is the former conductor of the Boston Pops and legendary composer of famous scores such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and Jaws. Very impressive. If you ever want to be humbled, just look at his resume:
John Williams has won five Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. He has been nominated for 21 Golden Globes and 59 Grammys. With 45 Oscar nominations, Williams currently holds the record for the most Oscar nominations for a living person, and is the second most nominated person in the history of the Academy Awards, tied with late fellow film composer Alfred Newman and behind only Walt Disney’s 59. Forty of Williams’ Oscar nominations are for Best Original Music Score and five are for Best Original Song. He won four Oscars for Best Original Score and one for Best Adapted Score (Fiddler on the Roof).
Williams has received three Emmy Awards and five nominations, seven BAFTAs, twenty-one Grammy Awards, and has been inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. In 2004 he received a Kennedy Center Honor. He won a Classical Brit award in 2005 for his soundtrack work of the previous year.
The guys over at Popdose interviewed Michael Matessino, film historian and preservationist, about John Williams:
John Williams’ place is absolutely unique in music and extends beyond writing for the movies. Broadly what he has achieved is the bringing of orchestral music to a mass audience in a way that has never gone out of style. At the time Williams started his Hollywood career, things were very different. Families watched orchestral performances together on early television and knew the names of composers and conductors. Changing trends in music and entertainment caused this to sort of fall away and the torch was pretty much carried in the U.S. by the Boston Pops Orchestra under Arthur Fiedler. Williams was the perfect choice as his successor in 1980, and that speaks to the impact he had already made at that point with Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters and Superman, which were all done in a four-year period. Then, during Williams’ fourteen years with the Pops he composed things like the “Olympic Fanfare”—which still comes to mind just as easily as Arnaud’s “Bugler’s Dream,” and the NBC News music, which remains in use after a quarter century.
Add to that the themes for Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Home Alone and Harry Potter, and there’s little doubt that the man’s achievement in the orchestral music field as a whole is second to none. He’s the only composer who could ever conduct an entire concert of his own work and have every piece recognized by the audience.
Head on over to Popdose for the full interview and more from the Popdose staff.