Williams Writes ‘Great Performances’ TV Theme


John Williams Composes Theme Music for THIRTEEN’s Great Performances in Unique Collaboration

NEW YORK – (Business Wire) WNET.ORG, New York’s public media provider, teams up with leading American composer John Williams to score new theme music for THIRTEEN’s award-winning performing arts series Great Performances.

Williams’ composition will premiere during the opening credits of Great Performances: King Lear, starring Ian McKellen, Wednesday, March 25 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings).
This is the first time Williams has created a composition for a THIRTEEN production. David Horn, executive producer of THIRTEEN’s Great Performances, approached Williams about composing a new theme as the crowning element for the series’ new on-air look. “After 36 years of showcasing the best in the performing arts for American audiences, we wanted to reinvigorate our Great Performances broadcast identity for today’s digital HD generation,” said executive producer David Horn. “As one of America’s master composers with an unmistakable musical signature, John Williams is his own brand name for excellence and innovation. When the opportunity came up to create a new opening to the series, John was automatically our first choice – we didn’t think twice.”

Williams, a five-time Academy Award-winner, who most recently scored the music for President Obama’s inauguration, is best known for composing the soundtrack to some of Hollywood’s biggest box-office hits includingJaws, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Schindler’s List, among many others. Williams appeared on PBS’s Evening at Popswhile the principal conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1980 to 1993. In 2003, Williams’ “Soundings” was premiered in Great Performances’ opening night telecast from Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, Vivian Milstein, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public television viewers, and PBS. Major funding is also provided by The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund and the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust.

Visit Great Performances Online at pbs.org/gperf for additional information about this and other programs. Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer for Great Performances. David Horn is Executive Producer.


New York public media company WNET.ORG is a pioneering provider of television and web content. The parent of Thirteen, WLIW21 and Creative News Group, WNET.ORG brings such acclaimed broadcast series and websites asWorldfocusNatureGreat PerformancesAmerican MastersCharlie RoseWide AngleSecrets of the DeadReligion & Ethics NewsweeklyVisionsConsuelo Mack WealthTrackWild Chronicles, Miffy and Friends, and Cyberchase to national and international audiences. Through its wide range of channels and platforms, WNET.ORG serves the entire New York City metro area with unique local productions, broadcasts and innovative educational and cultural projects. In all that it does, WNET.ORG pursues a single, overarching goal – to create media experiences of lasting significance for New York, America and the world. For more information, visitwww.wnet.org.


Gloria Park, 212-560-2063
Donald Lee, 212-560-3005