8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About John Williams

8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About John Williams

The Houston Symphony closes its memorable 2021–22 Bank of America Pops Season with a bang with a can’t-miss tribute to the Master of Film Scores himself, the legendary John Williams. Having recently celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this year, Williams’s illustrious career spans decades and his work for the silver screen has broken records and forged memories for generations of movie-goers. Before lining up at the box office window to purchase your ticket for this homage to movie magic, check out these lesser-known facts about the man behind the myth.

  1. John Williams was drafted into the air force in 1952 where he arranged, played, and led several military bands throughout his service.
  2. After his studies at Julliard, Williams relocated to Los Angeles and got a job as a movie studio pianist. He can be heard performing in the soundtracks to films like West Side Story, Some Like It Hot, and To Kill a Mockingbird.
  3. Before meeting Steven Spielberg in 1972 (leading to dozens of film collaborations) Williams also composed for the small screen, writing for such television shows as Gilligan’s Island and Lost in Space. He can be seen credited as “Johnny Williams.”
  4. After their initial meeting over a lunch, Williams would go on to compose music for all but three of Spielberg’s films.
  5. In addition to his work in Hollywood, Williams also had a successful career writing numerous pieces for orchestra, including a symphony as well as concerti for horn, cello, clarinet, flute, violin, trumpet, tuba, and bassoon.
  6. Williams also served as the Music Director for the Boston Pops from 1980–1993 and is currently their Conductor Laureate.
  7. Having never learned to write music digitally, Williams composes his works the old-fashioned way, with staff paper and a pencil he keeps on a small desk near his piano at home.
  8. Musical talent runs throughout Williams’s entire family. His father was a jazz percussionist and his son is also the lead singer of the band Toto.

Hear favorites from John Williams’s best known works, including Star Wars, Harry Potter, Memoirs of a Geisha, Schindler’s List, and more as the Houston Symphony and Chorus concludes the 2021–22 Season with The Best of John Williams, May 27–29. In-person tickets start at just $29!

By Mark Bailes

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