66 Years of Composer John Williams

By Mary Simon

John Williams has been composing for the motion picture industry since the 1970s. In these favorite film scores by the multiple-Oscar-winning musician, I've included items from every decade since the '70s, focusing on his more prominent compositions. Williams has just recorded (2020) a great new CD with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, John Williams in Vienna, which includes oldies and wonderful new pieces. I hope you you find these selections both inspiring and uplifting.

  • John Williams in Vienna

    2020 by Williams, John

    Deutsche Grammophon presents live recordings of the Hollywood legend's Vienna Philharmonic 2020 debut. Saying it's "one of the greatest honors of my life," Williams received a standing ovation before a single note was played. Sharing the stage with the famous orchestra and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, he conducted iconic themes from Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and other cinematic landmarks that have earned countless awards, including 5 Oscars and 5 Emmys.

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  • Jaws: The Anniversary Collector's Edition

    2000 by Williams, John

    Williams wrote the score to Jaws in the 1970s. It was one of his earliest, and is there any doubt that the theme music, to this day, still instills the same fear and tension as so many scenes from the movie?

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  • John Williams at the Movies

    2018 by Williams, John

    A less-known fact about Williams is his fondness for writing, arranging, and conducting wind band music. This collection of his film music includes favorites from Star Wars, Superman, JFK, ET, and many more, arranged for concert performance by top-level wind ensemble the Dallas Winds. The recording was made in Dallas, Texas at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, one of the world’s greatest concert halls and the site of an annual Dallas Winds concert featuring the film music of John Williams. Another glimpse of Williams' genius.

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  • Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones : Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

    2002 by Williams, John

    When Star Wars first came out, it was more than just a cinematic achievement; the music became embedded in the great American Psyche. The Darth Vader theme as well as the delightful tunes from the saloon/bar scene, and of course the love theme, continue to enthrall audiences who hear them today.

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  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

    2001 by Williams, John

    His compositions for the first three Harry Potter movies included Hedwig's Flight, the dominant theme closely identified with and used in all of the Harry Potter films. Though titled "Hedwig's Theme," it doesn't always specifically represent Hedwig, but rather the wider idea of magic and the Wizarding World.

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  • Yo-Yo Ma Plays the Music of John Williams

    2002 by Williams, John

    In addition to his activity in film and television, Mr. Williams has composed numerous works for the concert stage, among them two symphonies and concertos for flute, violin, clarinet, viola, oboe, and tuba. His cello concerto was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and premiered by Yo-Yo Ma at Tanglewood in 1994. This CD is a 2002 album of John Williams compositions performed by Yo-Yo Ma and the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles. You'll discover another side to this brilliant composer.

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  • American Journey

    2002 by Williams, John

    American Journey (originally titled The Unfinished Journey) is a six-part orchestral composition by John Williams. The piece was commissioned by U.S. President Bill Clinton to accompany a multimedia presentation titled The Unfinished Journey and directed by Steven Spielberg for the 2000 Millennium celebrations. The work premiered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on New Year’s Eve, 1999.

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  • Across the Stars

    2019 by Williams, John

    This album is a collaboration of two superstars: acclaimed American film composer John Williams and illustrious German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. Williams has taken a mix of his most popular movie themes, along with some that are lesser known, and adapted them for violin and orchestra. With this project, he has provided a powerful vehicle for Mutter's virtuosity, beautiful tone, and sheer technical prowess. He's also created a new way for listeners to experience some of his most iconic and moving music.

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  • Jurassic Park: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

    1993 by Williams, John

    Williams' 40-year artistic partnership with director Steven Spielberg has resulted in many of Hollywood’s most acclaimed and successful films, including Jurassic Park, which amplified his understanding of motion picture/music composition. "A genius at work" is how colleagues described Williams' work on Jurassic Park.

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  • Raiders of the Lost Ark: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

    1981 by Williams, John

    Mr. Williams has received 5 Academy Awards and 50 Oscar nominations, making him the Academy’s most-nominated living person and the second-most-nominated person in the history of the Oscar. Harrison Ford said that the music brought the film together as only John Williams can do!

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  • Williams on Williams: The Classic Spielberg Scores

    1995 by Williams, John

    Williams and director Steven Spielberg have collaborated on many of Hollywood’s most acclaimed and successful films, including Schindler’s List, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, four Indiana Jones films, Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Munich, Hook, Catch Me If You Can, Minority Report, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Empire of the Sun, The Adventures of TinTin, and War Horse. Almost all of these movies are represented on this CD.

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