John Williams was born as John Towner Williams on February 8, 1932 in Flushing, Queens, New York City and is an American composer, conductor and producer of film and orchestral music. Since the 1970s, he has been one of the world's best-known, most successful and influential composers of film music and he is particularly famous for his work for directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. He composed the film music for the first three films of the Harry Potter series.
The years 1932 - 1993
John Towner Williams was born the son of an orchestral musician in Queens, Flushing. Williams learned to read music at the age of 3. He grew up in New York before moving with his family to LA (Los Angeles) in 1948, where he attended the University of California and studied composition with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. After his military service with the US Air Force, John Williams moved back to New York and attended the Juilliard School, where he studied piano with Rosina Lhévinne. He also worked as a jazz pianist and published his first piano sonata in 1951, followed by other classical works. As Johnny Williams he worked in the following years for US television and various Hollwood productions.
Williams was married with the actress and singer Barbara Ruick until her death. Three children came from this marriage. Williams has been married to Samantha Winslow since 1980.
John Williams had his breakthrough in the film music business in 1972 with the disaster movie "The Poseidon Adventure". He achieved even greater fame with the film music for "Jaws" in 1975 and finally with War of the Stars (Star Wars, 1977). For both movies he received the Oscar. The music for the Star Wars movies "Prequel Trilogy" (Episodes I-III), Episodes VII - VIII originate from his pen. The soundtrack CDs are among the most successful in the history of film music.
In 1993 John Williams composed the score for the film "Schindler's List" by Steven Spielberg. Williams didn't dare to compose the music for this film at first, because he was very impressed by the film.
The years 2001 - today
2001 - Chris Columbus asked John Williams to compose the film music for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Williams also set the two following parts to music. After that he quit because of the work on the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha". In 2002 a total of 4 film scores were written by John Williams, Catch Me If You Can, Episode II, Minority Report and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In Catch Me If You Can, jazz elements were used for the first time in his film music history with director Steven Spielberg. It was the 20th collaboration with the director, which is why Spielberg considered the use of the jazz element as a birthday present.
2008, the soundtrack to Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released. In 2009, John Williams wrote the theme music for the television series Great Performances, for which he won an Emmy. In the same year he wrote the music for "The Adventures of Tintin," which was released in October 2011. This was also the first animated film for which Williams contributed the music. In 2011 John Williams composed the music for the film "War Horse" and in 2012 for "Lincoln". In 2013 John Williams worked on the soundtrack for the film "The Book Thief" by director Brian Parcival. In 2015 he worked on the seventh Sta Wars part Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In 2015, the film Bridges of Spies was released for which Williams, out of health reasons, did not write the film music. It was not until 2016 that Williams and Spielberg continued their collaboration with the film "BFG - Big Friendly Giant".
In 2017 Williams composed the music for "The Post", Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the music for the animated film Dear Basketball. John Williams had to cancel his work on Steven Spielberg's film Ready Player One due to lack of time and by mutual agreement.
The works (filmography) of John Williams include:
1975: Jaws (Roy Scheider etc.)
1977: Star Wars (Mark Hamill, Alec Guiness a.o.)
1978: Superman (Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper, Gene Hackman etc.)
1982: E.T. - The Extraterrestrial (Drew Barrymore et al.)
1984: Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom (Harrison Ford etc.)
1990: Home Alone (McCauley Culkin, John Heard a.o.)
1991: Hook (Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts)
1993: Jurassic Park (Sam Neil, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, Jeff Goldblum and others)
1993: Schindler's list (Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes and others)
1998: Saving Private Ryan (Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and others)
2000: The Patriot (Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Issacs and others)
2002: Catch Me If You Can (Tom Hanks, Leonardo Di Caprio etc.)
2004: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman etc.)
2005: War of the Worlds (Tom Cruise, Tim Robbins and others)
2015: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher etc.)
And many more.