20th Century Music
The years spanning the end of the nineteenth century and
the earliest part of the twentieth were a time of great
expansion and development of, as well as a dramatic
reaction to, the prevailing late Romanticism of previous
years. In music, as in all the arts, expression became
either overt, the huge symphonies of Gustav Mahler, or
the operas of Giacomo Puccini, or was merely suggested
as in the so-called "impressionist" music of Claude
20th Century Cont.
Twentieth-century music has seen a great coming and
going of various movements, among them post-
romanticism, serialism and neo-classicism in the earlier
years of the century, all of which were practiced at one
time or another by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky.
More recently, aleatory or "chance" music, neo-
romanticism, and minimalism have been in vogue by a
handful of American composers. With the commercial
dissemination of music through the various media
providing music as a constant background, the general
populace has largely dismissed much of the music
produced using bold, new, or experimental styles,
preferring to turn to the forms and genres and often the
composers with which it is most familiar.
American composer and conductor John Williams has
scored more than 100 films, including 'Jaws,' six 'Star
Wars' movies, 'E.T.' and the first three 'Harry Potter' films.
John Williams was born in New York City on
February 8, 1932. Williams—who studied at
Juilliard—worked as a jazz pianist and studio
musician before starting to compose for television
His father was a musician, and Williams started taking piano
lessons at a young age. With his family, Williams moved to Los
Angeles, California, in 1948. He attended the University of
California at Los Angeles for a short time before being drafted into
the U.S. Air Force in 1951.
After three years of military service, Williams returned to New York
City, where he worked as a jazz pianist. He also attended the
Juilliard School, studying with famed teacher Rosina Lhevinne in
pursuit of his dream of becoming a concert pianist. However,
Williams confessed in a 2012 interview with NPR that at Juilliard
he heard "players like John Browning and Van Cliburn around the
place, who were also students of Rosina's, and I thought to
myself, 'If that's the competition, I think I'd better be a composer!'"
Getting into the Job
Returning to Los Angeles, Williams became a movie studio
musician. He was heard as a pianist on films such as Some Like
It Hot (1959) and To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). Working with
Henry Mancini, Williams also played piano on the theme for the
television program Peter Gunn. Soon, Williams was composing
his own music for TV. Shows that received Williams's musical
touch include Wagon Train, Gilligan's Island and Lost in Space.
Williams also composed and arranged music for the big screen,
starting with Daddy-O (1959). He received his first Academy
Award nomination for Valley of the Dolls (1967). In 1972,
Williams won an Academy Award for his work on Fiddler on the
Roof. That same year, he gained attention for his score for The
Best Known for…
Williams may be best known for his work with Steven
Spielberg and George Lucas. Almost all of Spielberg's
films have Williams scores; their notable collaborations
include Jaws (1975), E.T. (1982), Jurassic Park (1993),
Schindler's List (1993) and Lincoln (2012). Williams also
composed the music for George Lucas's six Star Wars
movies. In 2013, it was announced that Williams would
write the score for Episode VII of Stars Wars as well.
Though Williams is best known for his film scores, he has
written other music, including concert pieces and the
themes for several Olympic Games. Williams also
regularly works as a conductor; in 1980, he became the
conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, a position he
held until retiring in 1993. Williams still serves as a
laureate conductor for the Pops, and has also conducted
the London Symphony and popular concerts at the
Just some rewards…
As of 2014, Williams had 48 Academy Award nominations,
making him the living person with the most nominations.
He has won five Academy Awards: In addition to Fiddler
on the Roof, Williams received an Oscar for Jaws, Star
Wars (1977), E.T. and Schindler's List. Williams has also
received three Emmy Awards and more than 20 Grammy
Awards. In 2004, he was a Kennedy Center honoree.
Williams was given a National Medal of Arts in 2009.
Far and Away