Hey Kids, Meet John Williams | Composer Biography

from the Hey Kid's Meet the Composer Index

Hey Kids, Meet John Williams

Hey Kids, Meet John Williams (1932-Present) American Composer, Conductor, and Pianist

John Williams was born in Floral Park, New York, on February 8, 1932, to John and Esther Towner Williams. He was the oldest of four children.

As a kid, Johnny learned to play the piano, cello, trumpet, trombone - and even formed a band with his friends.

When John Williams grew up, he joined the Air Force where he conducted and arranged music for the bands. When he was discharged, he enrolled in The Julliard School to study piano.

After he finished school, he decided to play piano in movie studio orchestras. His first recordings included soundtracks for the movie, South Pacific, and the TV series, Gilligan’s Island.

However, the idea of playing someone else’s music for TV shows and movies didn’t interest him for long. He wanted to compose his own music, and it wasn’t too long before he got his first big break. He was asked to compose the theme for the TV series, Lost in Space.

His next big break came when film director, Steven Spielberg, invited him to compose music for his movies. Their first highly successful film together was Jaws. For this movie, John Williams wrote the most famous single notes next to the introduction to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. When John Williams played the music for Speilberg for the first time, he thought he was kidding. However, John Williams believed his score would be perfect. He was right, and his score earned him his second Academy Award.

Working with Steven Spielberg, John Williams went on to compose some of the greatest music ever written for film, including: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, E.T., Superman, Harry Potter, and Star Wars, which was selected by the American Film Institute as the greatest film score of all time.

Steven Spielberg said:

"Without John Williams, bikes don’t really fly. Nor do brooms in Quidditch matches. Nor do men in red capes. There is no Force. Dinosaurs do not walk the earth. We do not wonder. We do not weep. We do not believe."

John Williams is without question, "...the single most significant contributor to my success as a filmmaker."

John Williams has won 5 Academy Awards and received 52 Academy Award nominations. He is the second most nominated individual after Walt Disney.

John Williams' Film Scores

Jaws (1975)
Star Wars (1977)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Superman (1978)
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Home Alone (1990)
Hook (1991)
Home Alone 2 (1992)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
War Horse (2011)
Dear Basketball (2017)

Watch a Video About John Williams

Learn about American film composer, John Williams, with this popsicle stick theater presentation from the MakingMusicFun.net Academy. Print the John Williams | Free Video Music Lesson Study Guide to drill the facts.

Watch John Williams' conduct his Imperial March from "Star Wars".

Print Related Resources for John Williams

Piano and Guitar Sheet Music

Shark Attack! (Jaws Tribute) for Beginner Piano Solo by Andrew Fling
Star Flight (Star Wars Tribute) for Easy Piano Solo by Andrew Fling
Shark Attack! (Jaws Tribute) for Easy Piano Solo by Andrew Fling
Shark Attack! (Jaws Tribute) for Beginner Guitar Solo by Andrew Fling

Free Online Piano Lesson for Kids

Shark Attack! (Jaws Tribute) | Beginner Piano Lesson for Kids

Hey Kids, Meet the Composer Worksheets and Games (Famous Composers)

John Williams | Film Score Music Listening Glyphs
Harry Potter (John Williams) | Music Listening Glyph Worksheets
Star Wars (John Williams) | Music Listening Glyph
Jurassic Park (John Williams) | Music Listening Glyph
Indiana Jones (John Williams) | Music Listening Glyph
John Williams | Crossword Puzzle Worksheet
John Williams | Word Search Worksheet
John Williams | Composer Coloring Page
Meet the Composer Job Application Worksheet
Star Force Treble Clef Color-by-Note Worksheet
Star Force Bass Clef Color-by-Note Worksheet
Wondrous World of Wizards Color-by-Rhythm Worksheet
Beethoven at Bat™ | Music Composer Board Game (Digital Print)

Bulletin Board Posters for John Williams

John Williams | Composer of the Month Bulletin Board Pack

Music Lesson Plans for John Williams

John Williams | Composer of the Month Music Lesson Bundle
Star Wars Rap | Music Lesson Plan and Worksheet
Meet John Williams | Composer Biography for Kids (Video)
John Williams | Homeschool Music Lesson Plans