John Williams’s Journey into the Concert Hall

A chronological overview of the Maestro’s early works for the concert hall in the 1960s and 1970s, including his almost-unknown Symphony No. 1

by Maurizio Caschetto

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A portrait of John Williams from the late 1960s

The term “film composer” might be useful when referring to the work and career of John Williams. But, in his case, it would be also extremely reductive. While it’s true that the Maestro dedicated much of his artistic life to work for the Hollywood film industry, he has always showed a great deal of versatility, typical of musicians who don’t limit themselves just to one single area. Pianist, jazzman, arranger and, in the end, composer of works for films and the concert stage, Williams diversified his artistic output since the early days of his professional career, exploring different sides of his musical personality. Looking at him this way, it can be said without being proven wrong that he perfectly embodies the creative breadth of the 20th century composer and musician.

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Super Orchestra: the LSO and the Music of Superman

A brief history of the special relationship between John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra, followed by the full list of musicians who performed on the soundtrack of Superman: The Movie

by Maurizio Caschetto

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A rare picture taken during a break of the recording sessions of Superman: The Movie. From left to right: recording engineer Eric Tomlinson, second-unit director André De Toth, executive producer Ilya Salkind, actor Christopher Reeve, composer John Williams and director Richard Donner
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Inspire in absentia: Memoirs from London and Vienna

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The London Symphony Orchestra performing the concert “A Celebration of John Williams” at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday October 26th, 2018 (Photo by Christie Goodwin, courtesy of Royal Albert Hall)

As it was announced just a couple of days before the show, John Williams had to cancel his appearance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on October 26, 2018 due to a last-minute illness that unfortunately caught him upon his arrival in the UK’s capitol. The composer was set to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in a long-awaited concert featuring his beloved movie music in a career-spanning program. The event (which sold-out in a few hours after it was announced in February 2018) was tremendously anticipated by fans of John Williams all around the world–the concert would have been his first on the European soil after twenty years (his last concert happened indeed in London in 1998 with the LSO). Admirers from all corners of Europe and even from other continents booked flights, hotels and tickets to not miss the event. The orchestra, the Royal Albert Hall management and the composer himself were also anticipating with thrill what promised to be a once-in-a-lifetime evening. The occasion was all the more special because of the true “special relationship” between Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra and, as producer Mike Matessino wrote on the concert’s program notes, with the London music scene in general, a love affair that goes back since the late 1960s, when Williams ended up living and working in the city for several projects.

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