Williams to Receive American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award

John Williams at George Lucas' AFI Tribute (2005)For the first time in AFI history, America’s highest honor for a career in film will be bestowed upon a composer. John Williams will receive the 44th AFI Life Achievement Award in 2016.

“John Williams has written the soundtrack to our lives,” said Sir Howard Stringer, Chair, AFI Board of Trustees. “Note by note, through chord and chorus, his genius for marrying music with movies has elevated the art form to symphonic levels and inspired generations of audiences to be enriched by the magic of the movies. AFI is proud to present him with its 44th Life Achievement Award.”

John Williams’ storied career as the composer behind many of the greatest American films and television series of all time boasts over 150 credits across seven decades. Perhaps best known for his enduring collaboration with director Steven Spielberg, his scores are among the most iconic and recognizable in film history, from the edge-of-your-seat Jaws (1975) motif to the emotional swell of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and the haunting elegies of Schindler’s List (1993). Always epic in scale, his music has helped define over half a century of the motion picture medium. Three of Williams’ scores landed on AFI’s 100 Years of Film Scores — a list of the 25 greatest American film scores of all time — including the unforgettable Star Wars (1977) soundtrack, at number one. With five Academy Award® wins and 49 nominations in total, Williams holds the record for the most Oscar® nominations of any living person.

Williams will be honored at a gala Tribute on June 9, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. The AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute television special will air on TNT later that same month, followed by an encore presentation on Turner Classic Movies.

Source: American Film Institute

Original ‘Close Encounters’ Album to be Released on SACD

On November 27, Audio Fidelity will release the original soundtrack album of Close Encounters of the Third Kind on Hybrid Super Audio CD, an HD audio format compatible with most CD players.

This limited, numbered edition of the original album of John Williams’ 1977 masterpiece has been remastered by Steve Hoffman, improving on the DVD-Audio edition released in 2004.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Limited Edition Hybrid Stereo SACD can now be pre-ordered on Amazon.com.


Williams’ ‘Viola Concerto’ Premiere Recording Online

The first-ever recording of John Williams’ Viola Concerto, a piano reduction of the piece performed by violinist Victor de Almeida with Mitsuko Morikawa on piano, has been made available on YouTube.

The 26-minute concert piece is comprised of three movements: ‘Moderato’, ‘Presto Assai’ and ‘Boldly (A Piacere)’.

Originally composed for violinist Cathy Basrak, the orchestra version premiered on May 26, 2009 in Boston, with Williams conducting the BSO.

Sony Classical to Re-release Original Star Wars Soundtracks


StarWars.com has announced that the original soundtrack albums for the first six Star Wars films will be reissued by Sony Classical in three new editions: vinyl, CD and high-definition downloads, on January 8, 2016.

According to the Amazon.com track listings, the contents of each release will be as follows:

  • Star Wars: The Ultimate Vinyl Collection (11-Vinyl Box Set)
    The Phantom Menace – Original 1999 soundtrack album reissued on 2LP
    Attack of the Clones – Original 2002 soundtrack album reissued on 2LP
    Revenge of the Sith – Original 2005 soundtrack album reissued on 2LP
    Star Wars – Original 1977 2LP soundtrack album reissued on 2LP
    The Empire Strikes Back – Original 1980 2LP soundtrack album reissued on 2LP
    Return of the Jedi – Original 1983 1LP soundtrack album reissued on 1LP
    — Each of the six film soundtracks in deluxe gatefold sleeves faithfully replicating the original artwork.
    Audio was transferred from the original LP masters using the highest resolution (up to 192kHz/24bit) and pressed with heavy 180gram vinyl. The six soundtrack set (on 11 LPs) is presented in a black, soft-touch laminated slipcase with an embossed, hot silver foil Star Wars logo and includes a digital download card for one complete box set (all six soundtracks). – Amazon.com pre-order.
  • Star Wars: The Ultimate Soundtrack Edition (10 CDs + 1 DVD)
    The Phantom Menace – Original 1999 soundtrack album reissued on 1CD
    Attack of the Clones – Original 2002 soundtrack album reissued on 1CD
    Revenge of the Sith – Original 2005 soundtrack album reissued on 1CD
    Star Wars – 1997 2CD Expanded Edition reissued on 2CD
    The Empire Strikes Back – 1997 2CD Expanded Edition reissued on 2CD
    Return of the Jedi – 1997 2CD Expanded Edition reissued on 2CD
    Bonus CD featuring audio interviews with Harrison Ford and John Williams
    Star Wars: A Musical Journey – Re-release of the 2005 DVD highlighting select musical themes alongside key sequences from the films.
    — Released in mini-album jackets. Including a fold-out poster and three collectable stickers.
  • Star Wars: The Ultimate Digital Collection - Same contents as The Ultimate Vinyl Collection, available for the first time as high-definition downloads (The original 2LP album of The Empire Strikes Back will be available digitally for the first time ever).



Filmharmonic Brass Plays the Music of John Williams (Kickstarter Project)

The Filmharmonic Brass, a group of seven of the top brass players from New York who exclusively perform and record film music, is running a Kickstarter campaign for their debut album ‘The Music of John Williams’, which is set to include all-new arrangements of music from Star WarsJawsE.T.Close Encounters of the Third KindIndiana Jones, and many more.

The ensemble is the brainchild of Dominic Derasse, who has been recorded on over 70 motion picture soundtracks including Mission to Mars, Batman Forever, Aladdin and Beauty & the Beast.

Visit their Kickstarter Campaign page for more details (Includes video presentation)

New ‘Lost in Space’ Box Set Including Previously Unreleased Williams Recording

LiS2015-1On October 6, La-La Land Records will release a limited edition 12-CD box set of music from the classic Lost in Space television series, including all John Williams’ scores from the series, among which the premiere release of Williams’ complete original recording of the score to the episode “The Reluctant Stowaway” as conducted and recorded by Williams himself.

‘E.T.’ Live at the Hollywood Bowl: Reviews and Videos

September 4, 5 & 6, 2015, Hollywood Bowl, CA
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra Conducted by David Newman
Introduced by JOHN WILLIAMS


Film Music SocietyWilliams wrote a new first-act concert ending and an entr’acte for the post-intermission return to the film; the popular concert version of his “flying theme” was heard as a new piece for the end credits. E.T. packs an emotional wallop under any circumstances, but the unique combination of that film on the Bowl’s five huge screens and Williams’ landmark score, interpreted by one of the world’s great symphony orchestras, left thousands in tears and thousands more giving Newman and the Philharmonic extended standing ovations. - Full review