The Talented Life Of John Williams Part Six
Williams conducting at Hollywood Bowl.
Williams makes annual appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and took part as conductor and composer in the orchestra’s opening gala concerts for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2003. In 2004, Williams both served as the Grand Marshal for the Rose Parade, and directed “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Rose Bowl’s beginning. In April 2005, Williams and the Boston Pops performed the “Throne Room Finale” from Star Wars at opening day in Fenway Park as the Boston Red Sox, having won their first World Series championship since 1918, received their championship rings. For Game 1 of the 2007 World Series, Williams conducted a brass-and-drum ensemble through a new dissonant arrangement of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
In February 2004, April 2006, and September 2007, he conducted the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. The initial program was intended to be a one-time special event, and featured Williams’s medley of Oscar-winning film scores first performed at the previous year’s Academy Awards. Its unprecedented popularity led to two concerts in 2006: fundraising gala events featuring personal recollections by film directors Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg. Continuing demand fueled three more concerts in 2007, which all sold out. These featured a tribute to the musicals of film director Stanley Donen, and had the distinction of serving as the New York Philharmonic season’s opening event. After a three-season absence, Williams conducted the Philharmonic once again in October 2011.
Maestro Williams also conducted the National Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the Joint Armed Forces Chorus, and the Choral Arts Society of Washington performing his new arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner” for its 200th anniversary. The performance was held at A Capitol Fourth, an Independence Day celebration concert in Washington, D.C., on July 4, 2014.
At Star Wars Celebration Orlando, Williams performed a surprise concert along with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring “Princess Leia’s Theme” (a tribute to the recently deceased Carrie Fisher), “The Imperial March” and “Main Title” followed by George Lucas saying, “The secret sauce of Star Wars, the greatest composer-conductor in the universe, John Williams.”
John Williams has been nominated for 51 Academy Awards, winning 5; 6 Emmy Awards, winning 3; 25 Golden Globe Awards, winning 4; 67 Grammy Awards, winning 23; and has received 7 British Academy Film Awards. With 51 Oscar nominations, Williams currently holds the record for the most Oscar nominations for a living person, and is the second most nominated person in Academy Awards history behind Walt Disney’s 59. Forty-six of Williams’s Oscar nominations are for Best Original Score and five are for Best Original Song. He won four Oscars for Best Original Score and one for Best Scoring: Adaptation and Original Song Score (Fiddler on the Roof).
In 1980, Williams received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music.
Williams has been inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. Williams was honored with the annual Richard Kirk award at the 1999 BMI Film and TV Awards, recognizing his contribution to film and television music. In 2004, he received Kennedy Center Honors. He won a Classic Brit Award in 2005 for his soundtrack work of the previous year.
Notably, Williams has won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition for his scores for Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, The Empire Strikes Back, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Angela’s Ashes, Munich, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and The Book Thief. The competition includes not only composers of film scores, but also composers of instrumental music of any genre, including composers of classical fare such as symphonies and chamber music.
Williams received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Boston College in 1993 and from Harvard University in 2017.
In 2003, the International Olympic Committee accorded Williams its highest individual honor, the Olympic Order.
In 2009, Williams received the National Medal of Arts in the White House in Washington, D.C. for his achievements in symphonic music for films, and “as a pre-eminent composer and conductor [whose] scores have defined and inspired modern movie-going for decades.”
Williams was made an honorary brother of Kappa Kappa Psi at Boston University in the late 1980s. In 2013, Williams was presented with the Ken Burns Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2005, the American Film Institute selected Williams’s richly thematic and highly popular score to 1977’s Star Wars as the greatest American film score of all time. His scores for Jaws and E.T. also appeared on the list, at No. 6 and No. 14, respectively. He is the only composer to have three scores on the list. Williams received the AFI Life Achievement Award in June 2016, becoming the first composer to receive the award.