Happy 70th birthday, John Williams!
This Sunday, Australian guitarist John WIlliams turns 70. Colorado Public Radio celebrates the veteran ambassador of guitar with Classic Williams. Born in Melbourne, Williams picked up his first guitar at age four, his father his first teacher. He studied with the great Spanish guitarist, Andres Segovia, and at the Royal College of Music in London. After his Wigmore Hall debut at age 17, Williams met demand around the world performing in Paris, Madrid, Japan and the USA. Before long, he began collaborating with a Who's Who list of performers: Julian Bream, Cleo Laine, Paco Peña, Itzhak Perlman, Daniel Barenboim and André Previn. He has inspired new works from composers like Previn, Leo Brouwer and Richard Harvey and sparked a revival of music by Paraguayan guitarist and composer, Augustin Barrios (Classic Williams includes Barrios' Una Limosna por el Amor de Dios (Alms for the Love of God).
John Williams' ability to brilliantly illuminate various styles throughout his career are evident on Classic Williams, from Frenchmen Gabriel Faure and Erik Satie to Baroque masters Bach and Scarlatti, to the sounds of Spain (including that zenith of guitar music - the slow movement of Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez).
Williams created his own ensembles that have successfully toured over the decades, and he touched the hearts of millions with his performance in Stanley Myer's film music for "The Deer Hunter," also found on Classic Williams.
Williams has mentored and encouraged countless young guitarists, including the stunningly talented Chinese guitarist, Xue-fei Yang, the first from mainland China to launch an international career.
Living in London, Williams claims to be bad at tennis, average at badminton, "quite good" at chess and yet better at ping pong. Still, none of his other skills hold a thing on his guitar wizzardry and its impact on the music world for over half a century.