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Tanglewood celebrates John Williams’ 90th birthday


LENOX, M.A. (NEWS10) — Boston Pops Conductor Laureate John Williams turned 90 years old this year and Tanglewood is throwing him a party on Saturday night. The event is sold out; 18,000 people will gather to sing “Happy Birthday to You.”

Williams served as the Boston Pops conductor from 1980 to 1993. In the 1970s, Williams scored compositions for big-budget tragedy films including “The Poseidon Adventure,” “The Sugarland Express,” “Jaws,” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” He cemented a partnership with Steven Spielberg, composing music for “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” the “Indiana Jones” series, “The Lost World,” “Jurassic Park,” “Schindler’s List,” “Lincoln,” “Saving Private Ryan” and more.

Saturday’s event will feature selections from some of the iconic film composer’s most recognizable movie scores, including “Throne Room & Finale from Star Wars: A New Hope” and the “Superman March,” as well as many of Williams’ concert works with “Highwood’s Ghost,” a daunting and evocative work Williams composed. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s principal harpist, Jessica Zhou, will be on the stage.  

James Taylor, one of Tanglewood’s continuing guest artists, will perform “Getting to Know You” from “The King and I” and, with Yo-Yo Ma, “Sweet Baby James.” Jazz artist Branford Marsalis is joining the party to perform the saxophone solos in “Escapades” from Williams’ film score to “Catch Me If You Can,” also featuring Eric Revis and Will Hudgins.

Further, there will be musical tributes to Seiji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein, two monumental Tanglewood figures who played an inspiring role in Williams’ career. There might be some surprises on Saturday night; Williams could be gracing the stage to play some of his themes.


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