Composer John Williams Embodies The Art Of Musical Borrowing | WABE 90.1 FM

Composer John Williams Embodies The Art Of Musical Borrowing

Sep 16, 2015


Hollywood film composer John Williams has also served as conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra.
Credit Chris Devers /

If some of the sounds and musical suspense from the “Star Wars” films seem familiar to classical fans, there’s a good reason for that.

John Williams, who revolutionized contemporary Hollywood film music and helped catapult the career of director Steven Spielberg, drew heavily from a wide range of classical composers as the “Star Wars” series began in the late 1970s.

Those influences have continued during the long career of Williams, who is now in his 80s.

“City Lights” contributor Scott Stewart maintains that “all music came from somewhere, and clever composers find tons of methods to rework and re-create ideas, gestures and sometimes even full-blown melodies in soundtracks and concert music.”

He and host Lois Reitzes discussed the many works that Williams has “borrowed” from and from an impressive collection of composers: Antonin Dvorak, Gustav Holst, Peter Tchaikovsky, Bela Bartok, Sir Edward Elgar and more.