From Vienna To Hollywood… and Back Again

A reflection on the historical and cultural significance of John Williams’s performances with the Wiener Philharmoniker in January 2020, now released internationally by the Deutsche Grammophon label

John Williams conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Musikverein in Vienna in January 2020 (Photo © Terry Linke / Deutsche Grammophon)
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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

JohnWilliams_late1960s_02
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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