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A Lifetime with John Williams

If you want an idea of how prolific composer John Williams is, consider this: By the time he wrote the music for Star Wars in the mid ’70s, he had already composed scores for 45 films (11 had earned Academy Awards nominations, two had won Oscars). 

Now over 100 films, five Oscars and 17 Grammys deep, the Laureate Conductor of the Boston Pops shows no signs of coming to a full rest. He still writes music every day with his preferred pen and paper, including the upcoming film Lincoln directed by Steven Spielberg. Classic FM recently asked Williams, who turned 80 this year, if he plans to retire. Baffled, he replied, “No, no, no. I don’t know how you retire from music. It’s breathing. It’s eating. It’s functioning for probably all of us.” 

Cue a sigh of relief for all you music composition nerds and film geeks. Now prepare to freak out. Williams will be conducting many fan favorites this Saturday evening with the Eugene Symphony including scores from Star Wars, Superman, Harry Potter, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Audiences will also be privy to “equally amazing but perhaps less well-known music from films like Far and Away, a tango he arranged for Scent of a Woman and a truly fantastic violin solo from his first Oscar-winning score, Fiddler on the Roof, featuring Bing Wang, associate concertmaster of the LA Philharmonic,” Executive Director of the Eugene Symphony Association Scott Freck says.

This is hardly a tour Williams is only playing a handful of shows around the country. Colleague, flutist and local Eugene Symphony supporter Louise DiTullio suggested that he make a stop in Eugene. And one other thing hooked the world’s most successful composer. “John also has an affinity for having his concerts serve as fundraisers, particularly to support youth education programs,” Freck says. All proceeds from “An Evening with John Williams” will go to Eugene Symphony’s education programs.

John Williams plays with the Eugene Symphony 8 pm Saturday, Sept. 21, at Hult Center; $95-$125.