Born in Queens, NY, in 1932, John Williams is arguably the most sought-after composer in Hollywood today. Musically, John Williams greatly influences my work and I find his grandiose, sweeping scores a benchmark to which I would like to progress to in my composing career. With 47 Academy Award nominations, he is the most nominated musician in Academy Awards history and the second-most nominated person of all-time (second to Walt Disney).
However, Williams' rise to fame has been slow and it has taken many years for him to become the household name he is today. This encouraged me, as it showed that even a musical legend like John Williams started out small and worked his way up. During his time studying at Juilliard, he worked as a jazz pianist in New York clubs and after his studies, he moved to L.A. where he began working as a studio pianist for renowned composers, such as Henry Mancini and thus, some of his more comedic scores show Mancini's influence. He soon gained notice in Hollywood for his versatility in composing jazz, piano and symphonic music.
When composing a piece of music, I always look to John Williams for inspiration. One of his most famous techniques, and a technique I greatly appreciate, is the concept of leitmotif and his ability to write a fitting and recognisable piece of music to accompany a particular character; a favourite of mine being “Princess Leia's Theme” from Stephen Spielberg's space epic Star Wars.
Williams' collaboration with Stephen Spielberg began when Spielberg was an all but unknown director, with the film The Sugarland Express and with the momentum of that success, they began a long collaboration together, working on films such as Indiana Jones, Schindler's List, Harry Potter, Jaws, Jurrasic Park and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, with the latter's musical and film concepts being worked on simultaneously by Spielberg and Williams, an unusual step for a Hollywood film but typical of John Williams...