Submitted by guitar-list on
There are at least five artists with this name;
(1) John Towner Williams (film score composer)
(2) John Christopher Williams (classical guitarist)
(3) John Williams (Irish musician)
(4) John Williams (blues/jazz guitarist)
(5) John Knowles Williams (experimental/indie)
(1) John Towner Williams (born February 8, 1932) is an American composer, conductor, and pianist. With a career spanning over six decades, he has composed some of the most popular, recognizable, and critically acclaimed film scores in cinematic history, including those of the Star Wars series, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones series, the first two Home Alone films, Hook, the first two Jurassic Park films, Schindler's List, and the first three Harry Potter films.
Williams has been associated with director Steven Spielberg since 1974, composing music for all but three of his feature films. Other works by Williams include theme music for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, NBC Sunday Night Football, "The Mission" theme used by NBC News and Seven News in Australia, the television series Lost in Space and Land of the Giants, and the incidental music for the first season of Gilligan's Island. Williams has also composed numerous classical concertos and other works for orchestral ensembles and solo instruments. He served as the Boston Pops's principal conductor from 1980 to 1993, and is currently the orchestra's laureate conductor.
Williams has won 24 Grammy Awards, seven British Academy Film Awards, five Academy Awards, and four Golden Globe Awards. With 51 Academy Award nominations, Williams is the second most-nominated individual, after Walt Disney. In 2005, the American Film Institute selected Williams's score to 1977's Star Wars as the greatest American film score of all time. The soundtrack to Star Wars was additionally preserved by the Library of Congress into the National Recording Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Williams was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl's Hall of Fame in 2000, and was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004 and the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2016. Williams composed the score for eight of the top 20 highest-grossing films at the U.S. box office (adjusted for inflation).
John Towner Williams was born on February 8, 1932 in Floral Park, New York, to Esther (née Towner) and Johnny Williams, a jazz percussionist who played with the Raymond Scott Quintet. Williams has said of his lineage, "My father was a Maine man—we were very close. My mother was from Boston. My father's parents ran a department store in Bangor, Maine, and my mother's father was a cabinetmaker. [...] People with those roots are not inclined to be lazy."
Williams married Barbara Ruick, an American actress and singer, in 1956. Together they had three children: Jennifer (b. 1956), Mark Towner Williams (b. 1958), and Joseph (b. 1960), who is the lead singer of Toto. The two remained married until her death in 1974. In 1980, Williams married Samantha Winslow, a photographer.
(2) John Christopher Williams is a classical guitar player.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, on 24 April 1941, to an English father (Len Williams) and an Australian-Chinese mother, Williams was taught initially by his father. At the age of twelve he went to Italy to study under "The Maestro," Andrés Segovia. Later, he attended the Royal College of Music in London, studying piano because the school did not have a guitar department at the time. Upon graduation, he was offered the opportunity to create such a department. He seized the opportunity and ran it for the first two years. Williams has maintained links with the College (and with the Northern College in Manchester) ever since.
Williams is best known as a classical guitarist, but has explored many different musical traditions. He has collaborated with Julian Bream and Paco Peña and was a member of the fusion group Sky. He is also a composer and arranger.
Williams has commissioned guitar concertos from composers such as Stephen Dodgson, André Previn, Patrick Gowers, Richard Harvey, and Steve Gray. He has also worked with composers from his native Australia, including Phillip Houghton, Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards (composer), and Nigel Westlake, to produce guitar works that capture the spirit of his homeland.
He enjoyed a worldwide hit single with his recording of Cavatina by Stanley Myers, used as the theme tune to the Oscar-winning film The Deer Hunter (1979). The piece had originally been written for piano, for another film ten years earlier, The Walking Stick (1970) but re-written for guitar and expanded by Myers at Williams' invitation. In 1973, Cleo Laine wrote lyrics and recorded the song "He Was Beautiful" accompanied by John Williams. A year later, it was a top-five UK hit single for Iris Williams (no relation).
At the invitation of producer Martin Lewis he created a highly acclaimed classical-rock fusion duet with celebrated rock guitarist Pete Townshend of Townshend's anthemic "Won't Get Fooled Again" for the 1979 Amnesty International benefit show The Secret Policeman's Ball. The duet was featured on the resulting album and the film version of the show – bringing Williams to the broader attention of the rock audience.
The relationship with Lewis led to Williams' classical-rock fusion band Sky being invited to give the first-ever rock concert to be held at Westminster Abbey – a benefit concert for Amnesty that Lewis produced in February 1981.
He is visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London.
Williams and his artist wife Kathy Panama reside in London and Australia.
(3) John Williams
John Williams is internationally regarded as one of the foremost players of Irish music today. With five All-Ireland titles to his credit, John is the only American-born competitor ever to win first place in the "senior concertina" category. His additional talents on flute, button accordion, bodhran, and piano distinguish him as a much sought after multi-instrumentalist in the acoustic scene around the world.
Born and raised on the Southwest Side of Chicago, John spent his summers during college on the Southwest coast of Ireland in his father’s village of Doolin, Co. Clare. Like Chicago, Doolin became a major musical crossroads for John and countless other local and international musicians to meet and exchange music. Gigging every night in the pubs of Doolin and Lisdoonvarna soon led to performances in Galway, Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Paris, Britanny, Zurich, and New York City (bio http://www.johnwilliamsmusic.com/bio.htm).
(4) John Williams
A blues/jazz guitarist in Seattle, Washington, whose music is available at Magnatune.com (bio http://magnatune.com/artists/john_williams).
(5) John Knowles Williams
An experimental/indie musician. Music is available at sweetnuthin.letsneverdie.net/Music/My_Recordings/ or www.myspace.com/JohnKWilliams. Read more about John Williams on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.
Gear used by John Williams
John Williams links
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