John Williams – Tanglewood 90th Birthday



Tanglewood (297 West St., Lenox, MA 01240, Lenox MA)

Tanglewood celebrates the 90th birthday of one of its best-known figures, composer John Williams, in a program highlighting a selection of his incomparable concert music for the BSO and Boston Pops, along with beloved film themes.

The BSO will join an all-star lineup of exceptional guest artists as they salute this inimitable musical icon in an evening of brilliant music and surprises — including conductor Ken-David Masur, percussionist Martin Grubinger, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, folk icon James Taylor, bassist Eric Revis, harpist Jessica Zhou and coordinator Nathan Troup.

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In a career spanning six decades, John Williams has become one of America’s most accomplished and successful composers for film and for the concert stage; he remains one of our nation’s most distinguished and contributive musical voices. In January 1980, Mr. Williams was named nineteenth conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, succeeding the legendary Arthur Fiedler. He currently holds the title of George and Roberta Berry Boston Pops Conductor Laureate, which he assumed following his retirement in December 1993, after 14 highly successful seasons.

He also holds the title of Artist-in-Residence at Tanglewood and maintains thriving artistic relationships with many of the world’s great orchestras. His forty-five-year artistic partnership with director Steven Spielberg has resulted in such acclaimed and successful films as Schindler’s List, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Indiana Jones films, Lincoln, Saving Private Ryan, and The Post. Mr. Williams also composed the scores for all nine of the Star Wars films, the first three Harry Potter films, and Superman, among many others. With five Academy Awards and 52 Oscar nominations, he is the Academy’s most-nominated living person.

Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops Principal Harpist Jessica Zhou was born in Beijing, China, and joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 2009. In 2001, she had become the first and only Chinese harpist ever to win top prizes in three of the most prestigious harp competitions in the world, including the Prix du Jury at the 3rd Concours International de Harpe Lily Laskine in Deauville, France; fourth prize in the USA International Harp Competition, and second prize at the 14th International Harp Contest in Israel. Also that year she was winner of the 2001 Pro Musicis International Award, leading to her critically acclaimed New York debut in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.

Growing up in the rich environment of New Orleans as the oldest son of pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis, Branford Marsalis was drawn to music along with siblings Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. When the brothers left to form the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, the world of uncompromising acoustic jazz was invigorated. Branford formed his own quartet in 1986, known for the telepathic communication among its uncommonly consistent personnel, its deep book of original music replete with expressive melodies and provocative forms, and an unrivaled spirit in both live and recorded performances.