"Music is not really a job, it’s something that the more you practice in it and work in it, the more interesting it becomes. My activities are the result of my good fortune of working in a field that you become more in love with as you go along through the years." - John Williams
I, like most people, have had a lifelong relationship with the music of John Williams. Widely regarded as the greatest film composer of all time, Williams has written more than 100 scores for film and TV, receiving more than 50 Oscar and 70 Grammy nominations in the process. His soaring, neo-romantic music is so iconic and has reached so many millions of people, he is without question the most recognizable composer alive.
In addition to his work as a composer Williams, now 88, has enjoyed a long career as a conductor, having led the Boston Pops from 1980-93 and returning to conduct them every season at both Boston Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, where I saw him amidst an overflow crowd in 2017.
But even Williams was floored when the Vienna Philharmonic invited him to conduct a pair of concerts of his own music at the legendary Musikverein in Vienna, right before the world shut down due to COVID-19. "One of the greatest honors of my life,” Williams said at the time.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to be there in person to witness it - the two concerts sold out within hours - but Deutsche Grammophon captured it on both audio and video, both of which are now available for purchase and streaming.