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Williams, John

Williams, John

Born in 1932


Inducted in 2004

John Towner Williams, born February 8, 1932, in Floral Park, New York, moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1948 where he studied music at UCLA. He also studied composition privately with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, who also taught another famous film score composer, Jerry Goldsmith. Williams was drafted into the military in 1952, and when discharged from the service, he enrolled at the Juilliard School of Music. He studied piano with the famous Rosina Lhevinne, and worked weekends as a jazz pianist. Williams is best known for heroic, rousing themes of adventure and fantasy films. This includes some of the highest grossing films of all time——Star Wars, Superman, Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, and dozens more. His long career has also included several sensitive dramatic scores, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan among them. In March 2006, his scores for Munich and Memoirs of a Geisha drew critical praise. His musical vocabulary, grammar, and syntax are clearly grounded in neoromanticism, informed by that large-scale orchestral music of the late 19th century, with great skill in Wagner’s leitmotif stratagem.


Listen to Williams, John

"Star Wars Theme"

Performer: John Williams (conductor)
Courtesy Of: Sony Classical

Audio Tour

Courtesy of WGUC 90.9 FM