‘Indiana Jones 5’ May Be the Last Film Scored by John Williams

‘Indiana Jones 5’ May Be the Last Film Scored by John Williams

John Williams, one of the most prolific and beloved sound-track composers of all time, may finally be ready to set down his baton. The 90-year-old musician, now working on the score for Indiana Jones 5, has hinted this may be his last contribution to the film genre.

Williams recently had an interview with Associated Press that the demands of a Star Wars film requires six months of work, which is “at this point in life is a long commitment to me.” He acknowledges that “my younger colleagues are much faster than I am because they have electronic equipment and computers and synthesizers and so on.”

But the beloved artist is not abandoning music altogether. As an alternative, he is working on concert music, such as a piano concerto being written for Emanuel Ax.

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And he also recently released an album with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the New York Philharmonic. Entitled “A Gathering of Friends,” the recording brings together arrangements from the scores of films like Lincoln, Munich, and Schindler’s List. Paying tribute to his longtime friend, Ma recently said of Williams: “He’s lived through the better part of a century, and his music encompasses all of the events and changes of those times. He is one of the great American voices.”

In addition to his work as a film-score composer, Williams has many credentials in the classical music world, having led the Boston Pops from 1980 to 1993 and serving as a guest conductor for the New York, Berlin, and Vienna philharmonics.

But it is for his film scores that he is best known among general audiences.

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Williams has contributed scores to many of the blockbuster films of the past half century, including Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, and Star Wars. During these years, he racked up five Academy Awards and 52 Oscar nominations.

Steven Spielberg has called Williams “the single most significant contributor to my success as a filmmaker.” The two have made 30 films together, and Williams recently composed the score for Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical film The Fabelmans.

As he enters his ninth decade, Williams has reflected on the power of music over a long and productive career. “It’s given me the ability to breathe, the ability to live and understand that there’s more to corporal life. Without being religious, which I’m not especially, there is a spiritual life, an artistic life, a realm that’s above the mundanities of everyday realities. Music can raise one’s thinking to the level of poetry.

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We can reflect on how necessary music has been for humanity. I always like to speculate that music is older than language…I’d love to be around in 100 years to see what people are doing with film and sound and spatial, aural and visual effects. It has a tremendous future, I think.”

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