Composer John Williams Walks Back His Own Retirement Talk At 91 – Deadline

Revered composer John Williams has walked back his retirement talk, saying of previous reports that he’d put down his baton for the final time, “I don’t care much for grand pronunciamentos, statements that are firm and finished and surrounded by closed doors. If I made one without putting it in context then I withdraw it.”

Williams, 91, told The Times newspaper: “If a film came along that I was greatly interested in, with a schedule that I could cope with, then I wouldn’t want to rule anything out. Everything is possible. All is before us. Only our limitations are holding us back. Or, to put it more simply: I like to keep an open mind.”

If Williams is planning to score movies a little less, and compose his own material a little more, his diary is already full for 2024. He will conduct his own Second Violin Concerto with London’s Philharmonic Orchestra in January, and also conduct in Vienna. And he already has a conducting booking in Berlin for 2025.

Of his extraordinary career, Williams mused on the bridge that he has seen built between the commercial world and the classical music world. He said:

“Thirty or 40 years ago, when I would take a programme of film music to one of our big orchestras, there might be condescension. I understood it; I understand the value of things made in the commercial world and their place in the art world. But now things are different. I’d love to come back in 50 years’ time and see what cinema is contributing to the development of new music, because I think young composers will want to work across both.”

As the composer for dozens of movie scores, including the heralded Jaws theme, Star Wars, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park and Harry Potter, Williams is often asked if there is a uniting theme to his music. He told The Times:

“Film requires you to adapt your style to every project that comes along: Home Alone can’t be in the same idiom as Saving Private Ryan or Jurassic Park, but perhaps we all have many parts to our characters. Somewhere in all of my film scores there must be some kind of ‘me’. But I leave that to others to identify.”

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