Music composed by John Williams
|Fanfare for the Vienna Philharmonic Ball
Composed for the Vienna Philharmonic Ball
Premiered on January 19, 2023 at the Musikverein Wien (Andris Nelsons/Vienna Philharmonic)
Composed in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Hollywood Bowl.
Premiered on June 3, 2022 at the Hollywood Bowl (John Williams/Los Angeles Philharmonic)
|Fanfare for Solo Trumpet
Composed for the reopening of the David Geffen Hall at the Lincoln Center in New York City
Premiered on March, 2022 in New York City (NY Philharmonic Principal Trumpet Christopher Martin)
|Violin Concerto No. 2
Composed especially for Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin
World Premiere: Koussevitzky Music Shed, Tanglewood, on July 24, 2021
Anne-Sophie Mutter, Soloist – John Williams, Conductor
An Encounter for Cello, Harp and Orchestra
Composed for Yo-Yo Ma and Jessica Zhou
Premiered on August 19, 2018 in Tanglewood (Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony with Yo-Yo Ma on cello and Jessica Zhou on harp)
Conducted by John Williams at Tanglewood during the Bernstein Centennial Celebration
for Solo Violin, Strings and Harp
Composed for Anne-Sophie Mutter
Premiered on July 16, 2017 in Tanglewood (Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony with Anne-Sophie Mutter on violin)
|Just Down West Street…on the left
Commissioned by the Tanglewood Music Center
Premiered on July 5, 2015 in Tanglewood (Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra)
Brass fanfare composed for Andris Nelsons, new Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra
Premiered on September 23, 2014 in Boston (Andris Nelsons/Boston Symphony)
|Scherzo for Piano and Orchestra
Composed for the Music in the Summer Air Festival
Premiered on July 1, 2014 in Beijing, China (Long You/China Philharmonic – Lang Lang, piano), and on July 4, 2014 in Shanghai, China (Long You/Shanghai Philharmonic – Li Jian, piano)
|Music for Brass
Work for brass ensemble and percussion
Composed for the National Brass Ensemble
Premiered on June 12, 2014 in Sonoma County (National Brass Ensemble)
Four-movement piece for Piano Solo
The first two movements premiered at Tanglewood (August 10, 2012) and the Mendocino Music Festival in California (July 22, 2013).
Third and Fourth movements premiered in November on the Piano Spheres series in Los Angeles on November 12, 2013 (Gloria Cheng, Piano)
|Fanfare ‘For the President’s Own’
Composed for the 215th anniversary of the United States Marine Band
Premiered on May 26, 2013 at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Fairfax County, Virginia (Michael J. Colburn/United States Marine Band)
Recorded on July 3, 2013 in the John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex in southeast Washington, D.C. (John Williams/United States Marine Band)
Composed for Spanish guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas
Premiered on June 2, 2012 at the Parkening International Guitar Competition in Malibu (Pablo Sáinz Villegas)
|Fanfare for Fenway
Three-minute piece composed in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park
Premiered on April 20, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston (John Williams/Boston Pops)
Recorded on March 24, 2012 at the Boston Symphony Hall (John Williams/Members of the Boston Pops)
|Quartet La Jolla
Chamber piece for violin, cello, clarinet and harp
Commissioned for the 25th anniversary of the La Jolla chamber music festival Summerfest
Premiered on August 20, 2011 at the Sherwood Auditorium
|A Young Person’s Guide To The Cello
Short ‘comical’ cello piece composed for Lynn Harrell
|Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra
Composed for Keisuke Wakao
Premiered on May 25, 2011 in Boston (John Williams/Boston Pops – Keisuke Wakao, Oboe)
|Concerto for Harp and Orchestra (On Willows and Birches)
Concerto in two movements, composed for Ann Hobson Pilot, harp,as a retirement gift.
Inspired by Psalm 137 (Willows) and a poem by Robert Frost (Birches).
The concerto was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Levine on September 23, 2009.
|Concerto for Viola and Orchestra
Concerto in three movements, composed for Cathy Basrak, viola.
The 2nd Movement („The Family Argument“) features timpani because Cathy Basrak’s husband is Timothy Genis, principal timpanist of the BSO.
The concerto was premiered by the Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by John Williams on May 26, 2009.
|Air and Simple Gifts
A classical quartet composed (in parts) and arranged by John Williams for the January 20, 2009, inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States.
The first public performance of the piece was in Washington, D.C., with musicians Anthony McGill (clarinet), Itzhak Perlman (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello) and Gabriela Montero (piano).
Williams based the piece on the familiar nineteenth century Shaker hymn „Simple Gifts,“ by Joseph Brackett.
The source piece is famous for its appearance in Aaron Copland’s ballet Appalachian Spring.
Williams chose the selection from Copland, one of Obama’s favorite classical composers.
|Duo Concertante for Violin and Viola
Dedicated to Michael Zaretsky, viola
Premiered in Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood on August 17, 2007 by Victor Romanul and Michael Zaretsky.
World Premiere Recording on „Duos for Violin and Viola“ (Artona label), released in 2008.
Written for the Inaugural Gala for Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles
One movement with five sections
Intended to make the Concert Hall „sing“
John Williams conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in the world premiere in the Walt Disney Concert Hall on October 25, 2003.
|Concerto for Horn and Orchestra
Composed for Dale Clevenger and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2003, on a commission from the Edward F. Schmidt Family Commissioning Fund.
The orchestra consists of three flutes and piccolo, three oboes and english horn, three clarinets and bass clarinet, three bassoons and contrabassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones and tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, piano, celesta, and strings.
Performance time is approximately twenty-four minutes.
The concerto was premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Williams on November 29, 2003.
„Far far away, like bells at evening pealing“
THE BATTLE OF THE TREES
„Swift Oak … Stout Guardian of the Door“
„There Came a Day at Summer’s Full“
„The Hart Loves the Highwood“
„The Crimson Day Withdraws“
|Call of the Champions
The Official Theme of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games
|Three Pieces for Solo Cello
Intended to reflect the African-American experience
„I thought that the cello might be especially well-suited to express the vernacular manner of musical speech and rhythmic inflection that characterize this most important ‚root-source‘ of American music.“ (JW)
Rosewood: The cello groans under the crack of the work-gang whip and imitates the old steel-fronted guitar played by some of the early workers as they tried to ease the pain of their long hours in the fields.
Pickin‘: The title refers both to the art of banjo pickin‘ and the act of picking cotton itself.
The Long Road North: This piece was inspired by a Rita Dove poem of the same name. She describes the indomitable spirit that has always animated the African-American journey to freedom.
|Elegy for Cello and Orchestra
The score of ‚Seven Years in Tibet‘ includes a short melodic fragment which was shaped into the form of the ‚Elegy‘.
The fragment can be heard in the track ‚Regaining a Son‘ on the ‚Seven Years in Tibet‘ soundtrack.
The ‚Elegy‘ was originally written for a memorial service.
Inspired by a book entitled ‚Heartwood‘ that contains photographs of trees.
Inspired by a Chinese dawn redwood (metasequoia) in the Boston Public Garden.
|American Collection Theme
John Williams composed a new theme for ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre’s AMERICAN COLLECTION for films based on American literary works. The theme, which was performed by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, made its debut on October 25, 2000. In April 2001, Yo-Yo Ma and John Williams recorded an extended 3:29 version of the ‚American Collection Theme‘ with the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles on the Sony Scoring Stage. This new recording is included in CLASSIC YO-YO.
|The Unfinished Journey
This six-movement work was composed for the Millennium celebrations in Washington, D.C. as part of a multimedia presentation done in collaboration with Steven Spielberg, Poets Laureate Rita Dove, Robert Pinsky, and Maya Angelou. The presentation also featured the words of Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Rather than a chronological rendering of the „American“ century, this is, rather, an attempt to portray the 20th Century thematically, „with a series of tableaux that could be dealt with individually,“ says Williams.Recorded live at Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C., on Dec 31, 1999.
America’s Millennium Gala was hosted by the White House and the Smithsonian Institute.
The performance and film were broadcast on the CBS Network.
Millennium Gala Orchestra conducted by John Williams
Film footage assembled by Steven SpielbergAmerican Journey
John Williams recorded the six movements under the new title ‚American Journey‘ with the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles at Sony Pictures Studios, Culver City, California, on December 9-10, 1999. This recording is available on ‚Call of the Champions‘ and features no narration.
This is a collection of musical thoughts and jottings for orchestra, dedicated to Seiji Osawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra as they celebrate twenty-five years of artistic collaboration. These jottings also form little portraits of just a few of the soloists in the orchestra’s ranks, and, at other moments, sketches of entire sectional groups.
|Seven for Luck
This is a Song Cycle for Soprano and Orchestra. It sets to music seven poems by former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove.
John Williams conducted soprano Cynthia Haymon and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of the complete cycle at Tanglewood on July 25, 1998.
Written in 1996 for Michael Sachs, the Cleveland Orchestra’s principal trumpeteer.
The world premiere by the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Christoph von Dohnanyi (with Michael Sachs on trumpet) was in October 1996.
|Song for World Peace
(Reworked Version of „Satellite Celebration“)
Song for World Peace, as tender and lyrical as anything Williams has ever written, was composed for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and dedicated to its longtime Music Director, Seiji Ozawa. The piece was first performed in Tokyo during a tour of the Pacific Rim.
|Summon the Heroes!
Dedicated to Tim Morrison, the Boston Symphony’s principal trumpeter.
Written for the Centennial Celebration of the Modern Olympic Games, Atlanta, Georgia, July 19, 1996.
|Variations on ‚Happy Birthday!‘
Written for a Tanglewood concert celebrating three birthdays: Seji Ozawa’s 60th, Itzhak Perlman’s 50th and Yo-Yo Ma’s 40th
John Williams conducted the premiere performance by the Boston Symphony on July 23, 1995.
John Williams also conducted the piece as an encore on a April 29, 1996 joint concert by the Los Angeles and Israel Philharmonics celebrating Zubin Mehta’s 60th birthday.
Seiji Ozawa suggested that John Williams write a concerto for cello and orchestra with Yo-Yo Ma in mind.
The Boston Symphony commissioned the work.
John Williams conducted the first performance with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist on July 7, 1994 at a concert that celebrated the opening of Ozawa Hall in Tanglewood.
|Bassoon Concerto (‚The Five Sacred Trees‘)
Inspired by the writings of British poet and mythologist Robert Graves.
In Graves‘ writings, John Williams found descriptions of prehistoric Celtic rituals that demonstrate a reverence for nature.
Composed in 1993 for the 150th celebration of the New York Philharmonic.
Premiered in April 15th, 1995, with Judith LeClair, soloist, and the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur.
|Sound the Bells!
Sound the Bells, written to celebrate a marriage in the Japanese Royal Family, finds Williams pursuing the inspiration of the great Japanese temple bells. Instead of resorting to a false orientalism, the composer exploits the timbre and luster of the western symphony orchestra’s own bells to convey American greetings to the Japanese Royal Couple.In 1993, when the Crown Prince of Japan finally chose a bride, the excitement was almost as great in Boston as it was in Japan, for the young woman had attended Harvard and lived for a number of years in the Boston area with her family (her father having been stationed there as a diplomat). And of course the Boston Symphony had long been of special interest to Japanese audiences owing to the fact that, since 1973, its music director had been compatriot Seiji Ozawa. In light of these elements, it was indeed appropriate for Boston Pops conductor John Williams to have composed this special music to honor the marriage of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako Owada, the premiere performance of which was given in Tokyo as part of the Pops’ tour of Japan in June of 1993.
|Fanfare for Prince Philip
In 1992, the City of Boston commemorated the quincentenary of Columbus’ voyage to the New World by welcoming a regatta of over 150 Tall Ships to Boston Harbor. As part of the week-long celebration, the city hosted visits by a number of dignitaries from around the world, including Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth ll. The Prince attended a gala concert by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the baton of conductor John Williams, who composed this special fanfare in honor of the visiting royal.
Written for Michele Zukovsky, principal clarinettist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
She performed the world premiere of the Clarinet Concerto with the Riverside County Philharmonic conducted by John Williams on April 13, 1991.
The available live recording is credited to the „Bohemian Orchestra“ conducted by John Williams.
Written for the 500th anniversary of Columbus‘ discovery of America.
The premiere performance by the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra conducted by John Williams was on July 4, 1990.
|Winter Games Fanfare
Composed in 1989 for the Alpine Ski Championship, Vail, Colorado
Written especially for the NBC Sports Division in celebration of the 1988 Olympics, Seoul
|Fanfare for Ten-Year-Olds
Composed in 1988 in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Young Charleston Theater Company
|For New York
(a.k.a. „To Lenny! To Lenny!“)
For New York: Variations on Themes by Leonard Bernstein originated as part of a tribute for the composer’s 70th birthday. Williams combined „New York, New York“ from On the Town and „America“ from West Side Story with „a little snippet of ‚Happy Birthday‘ in there, of course…It was meant to be fun“ and it is „but it now turns out to be a kind of elegy both for Lenny and a warm tip of the hat to New York City itself.“
|Fanfare for Michael Dukakis
Written for the Democratic politician (and candidate for President of the USA) Michael Dukakis.
The premiere performance by the Boston Pops conducted by Harry Ellis Dickson (associate conductor of the Boston Pops and Dukakis‘ father-in-law) took place at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta.
|Presidential Election Coverage
|Hymn to New England
Written as accompaniment to ‚New England Time Capsule‘, a show at Boston’s Museum of Science.
The first public performance by John Williams and the Boston Pops was on May 5, 1987.
A recording with the Boston Pops conducted by Keith Lockhart (1996) is available on ‚American Visions‘.
A recording with the Utah Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Williams (2000) is available on ‚Call of the Champions‘.
|„We’re Lookin‘ Good!“
Dedicated to the Special Olympics (International Summer Games 1987).
The premiere performance by the Boston Pops conducted by John Williams was on May 5, 1987 at Symphony Hall, Boston.
The lyrics were written by Alan and Marilyn Bergman.
The march was never officially released.
It can be found on the bootlegs ‚Fanfares and Themes‘ (poor sound quality) and ‚7 for Luck‘ (live recording, excellent sound quality).
Written for the 150th anniversary of Texas‘ Declaration of Independence.
The first public performance by the Houston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sergiu Comissiona was on September 6, 1986.
Written for the centennial of the Statue of Liberty.
Commissioned by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.
The premiere performance by the Boston Pops conducted by John Williams was on June 4, 1986.
The fanfare was performed by the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra conducted by John Williams on July 4, 1986 as part of the ceremonies.
A recording with the Boston Pops conducted by John Williams is available on ‚By Request‘.
Dedicated to Chester Schmitz, principal tuba player of the Boston Pops.
The concerto was composed for the Boston Pops‘ 100th anniversary.
The world premiere by the Boston Pops conducted by John Williams (with Chester Schmitz on tuba) was on May 8 1985.
|Mission Theme (NBC Nightly News)
In 1985, John Williams wrote four themes for the NBC Network:
The Mission (for NBC Nightly News, first aired on Sep 9, 1985)
Fugue For Changing Times (for a Connie Chung news magazine)
Scherzo For Today (for The Today Show)
The Pulse of Events (for special reports and later for ‚Meet the Press‘)
The four themes and several other cues can be found on ‚Fanfares & Themes‘ and ‚The Music of NBC News, Vol II‘.
A recording with the Boston Pops conducted by John Williams (1987) is available on ‚By Request‘.
A recording with the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles conducted by John Williams (1999) is available on ‚Call of the Champions‘.
|Olympic Fanfare and Theme
Written for the 1984 Olympic Games, Los Angeles
John Williams conducted the premiere of the work at the opening ceremonies of the 23rd Olympiad on July 28, 1984 at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
He first recorded his Olympic Fanfare and Theme with a Los Angeles studio orchestrabefore the public premiere (available on ‚The Official Music of the 1984 Games‘ and ‚The Official Music of the XXIIIrd Olympiad Los Angeles 1984‘).
John Williams recorded the piece with the Boston Pops in 1987 (available on ‚By Request‘).
A third recording from 1996 can be found on ‚Summon the Heroes‘ (with Leo Arnaud’s ‚Bugler’s Dream‘ fanfare), again with John Williams conducting the Boston Pops.
|America, the Dream Goes On
Lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman.
Originally written for male soloist, chorus and orchestra.
The piece was premiered in 1982 by the Boston Pops conducted by John William and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.
The first recording was made in 1984 with James Ingram as soloist for the Boston Pops album ‚America, the Dream Goes On‘.
Conceived as a ‚Comedy Overture‘ in May 1982.
When John Williams scored the film ‚Monsignor‘, he used music from the overture. The track ‚Meeting in Sicily‘ is almost identical to the ‚Esplanade Overture‘.
The ‚Esplanade Overture‘ was premiered on May 3, 1983.
|Pops on the March
Written as a memorial for Arthur Fiedler when John Williams was named Fiedler’s successor as Music Director of the Boston Pops.
The premiere performance by the Boston Pops conducted by John Williams was on April 28, 1981.
A recording with the Boston Pops conducted by John Williams is available on ‚ I Love A Parade‘.
Written for the 350th anniversary of Boston in 1980 (subtitled „To the City of Boston“).
The premiere by the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra conducted by John Williams was on September 21, 1980 at City Hall Plaza.
A recording with the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles conducted by John Williams (2000) is available on ‚Call of the Champions‘.
|Fanfare for a Festive Occasion
Written for the Boston Civic Orchestra and its conductor Max Hobart.
The fanfare for brass and percussion was premiered by that ensemble on November 14, 1980.The work opens with a fanfare led by the trumpets and trombones. Horns introduce a syncopated, mixed-meter, second subiect accompanied by timpani. Trumpets and trombones join the tune and then return to the opening fanfare. The second subiect makes a brief return in the horns, this time accompanied by the full percussion section and dissonant accented scale passages from the trumpets and trombones. The work concludes with a coda based upon the opening fanfare.
John Williams‘ first wife Barbara Ruick died in 1974. He then began composing his Violin Concerto and completed it in 1976, dedicating it to her memory.
The concerto’s first performance was on January 29, 1981 with Leonard Slatkin conducting the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.Violin Soloist: Mark Peskanov
The world premiere recording was made in London on December 13, 1981 with Leonard Slatkin conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. The violin soloist was again Mark Peskanov.
John Williams recorded his violin concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall in October 1999. This time the violin soloist was Gil Shaham.
|Thomas and the King
A stage musical based on the life of Thomas Beckett.
John Williams‘ first and only musical.
Orchestrations by Herbert Spencer
Conducted by Ian McPherson
Premiere: October 16, 1975
Album recorded at PRT studios, London on 27 and 28 August 1981
|A Nostalgic Jazz Odyssey
Composed for the Eastman Wind Ensemble and premiered by that group under the direction of Donald Hunsberger in 1971.
The Japanese premiere was on June 9, 1994.
Written in 1969, the concerto was inspired by the Japanese Shakuhachi flute.
„[The instruments] make mysterious sounds like the snapping of branches while we explore some imaginary mythical forest.“ (John Williams)
The world premiere recording was made in London in 1981 with Leonard Slatkin conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. The flute soloist was Peter Lloyd Principal Flute of the LSO).
|Sinfonietta for Wind Ensemble
Composed in 1968 and recorded in 1972 for Deutsche Grammophon Donald Hunsberger and the Eastman Wind Ensemble.
The piece has three movements and is scored for a large orchestral wind section.
|Symphony No. 1
Composed in 1966, premiered by the Huston Symphony, under André Previn in October 21st, 1968.
The piece was taken out of Willliams list of compositions around 1971, after the European premiere (with Previn conducting the LSO).
Apparently, Bernard Herrman had pointed out some flaws to Williams, and Williams felt that the work wasn’t good enough to be played until he reworked it.
He programed it in 1988 for a concert with the Houston SO, but at the last minute it was replaced for some film music.
|Essay for Strings
The premiere performance by the Houston Symphony Orchestra in 1965 was conducted by André Previn.
|Prelude and Fugue
Scored for wind instruments and percussion.
Dedicated to pianist Claude Thornhill (whom John Williams knew as a child).
The premiere by the Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra conducted by Stan Kenton was on March 29, 1965.
The Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra with Stan Kenton also made a studio recording in 1965.