These are the questions I get asked most often, the answers to most of which are contained elsewhere on this site. There are two sections: one about this site and its author, and another about John Williams. Most other information you may want is probably available in either the detailed biography or discography.
About this site
- Who are you and are you associated with John Williams?
My name is Richard, and I have no connection with John Williams' activities. I am just a fan, albeit one with an extensive John Williams record collection and two thick volumes of articles, interviews, concert programmes, etc., collected over 25 years (plus another volume relating to Sky). More information about me can be seen on my personal website, a link to which appears in the copyright notice at the bottom of every page on this site (and which is sorely in need of an update). Although I've met John Williams on several occasions and he knows about this site, my name certainly doesn't mean much to him.
- Do you play the guitar?
No. As several people in my life with a right to make such statements have had reason to tell me, I am particularly untalented in active music-making. In fact, I have been told that I have musical anti-talent. Some others insist that this is the only reason why I could possibly admire John Williams (there are those who consider that John Williams has as little intrinsic musical talent as myself).
- Why John Williams rather than any other guitarist?
Given the above statements about my own musical limitations, I am not in a position to comment on John Williams' abilities as a musician. The short answer is that I admire the sheer scope and variety of his repertoire, both on record and on stage. As can be inferred from my links page, I also listen to and admire several other guitarists.
- Why so long between updates to this site and why do you not reply to emails?
Regrettably (both for visitors to this site and for myself), maintaining this site is a part-time hobby and over the last few years, I have been in very short supply of spare time. I have also had more immeidate personal interests and have, to a degree, lost some of my passion in updating this site. I have some relevant news which I currently need to keep secret but hope to do some serious site work this summer (2012).
- John Williams plays music. Where's the music on this site?
I respect copyright laws (and expect my own copyrights to be respected) and I will therefore never present complete sound recordings in any format on this site. I will also never present scores, neither in musical notation nor tab. The purpose of this site is to provide information about John Williams and to voice my enthusiasm for his work. I am currently reviewing my options and plan to include some music clips in due course, but have to create them first, as for various reasons I don't want to re-use the Real Audio files which I used on the old version. In any event, clips from most of John Williams' active catalogue are available either on the Sony Classical website or from online retailers, such as Amazon, and I probably won't be including those. I am far more interested in including clips from pieces which have never been issued on CD.
- Who wrote all the stuff on this site?
As implied by the copyright notice at the bottom of every page, any comments on this site not specifically attributed to anyone else are mine and I alone am responsible for all the text. All the photographs on this site are my own scans from records, magazines or concert programmes; copyright in the original work remains with the individual owners (mainly Sony Classical). I hope to go through the site and identify ownership of all the photographs and pictures, but that will take some time, and I don't want to delay any more.
About John Williams
- Where's the stuff about Star Wars/Harry Potter/Superman, etc., etc?
Wrong John Williams, I'm afraid. There are many sites devoted to the film composer of that name. The best place to start is The John Williams Fan Network. I really don't see why people (including the staff in record shops) confuse these two musicians all the time.
- How can I contact John Williams? Can you help?
Second part: No, I am not in a position to help you contact John Williams. And no, I don't have his e-mail address - as far as I know, he doesn't even have one (I know for a fact that he's not someone who likes computers...).
First part: You can contact him through his agents, Askonas Holt, by e-mail if necessary, but preferably by postal mail. All the details are on their site.
- When will John Williams next play in my area?
As stated above, I do not have access to John Williams or his staff, and do not receive advance knowledge of his performances. I depend on concert promoters and fans letting me know things. There used to be a Latest News page on this site, but to make life easier for everyone, that is now a topic on the Discussion Board. If you know of an upcoming event, please do tell us about it - there is no need to register to use the Board.
- Where can I buy John Williams sheet music?
As a rule, John Williams does not publish his transcriptions, arrangements or compositions. I'm not entirely sure why. A few items have been published (to the extent that John Williams was employed as a music editor for Boosey & Hawkes's Guitar Department) in the early 1970s,
but to the best of my knowledge all of this material is currently out of print. I am aware, though, of a guitar magazine including his arrangement of Cavatina about five years ago, and Fingerstyle Magazine (USA) included his arrangement of Francis Bebey's The Magic Box in their June 2002 issue.
- Where can I buy [whatever] John Williams recording?
I used to have links to individual items for sale at CD Now, but they became a part of Amazon.com and the links stopped working. I hope to include links to Amazon for all in print items but that's going to need a lot of extra work which I hope to complete by Christmas. For copyright reasons, I'm not prepared to make copies of my own collection of out-of-print items, so please don't bother asking.
- What can I expect at a John Williams concert?
Regardless of whether it's a solo recital or an appearance with his Friends, the first word which springs to my mind is informality, particularly in terms of what he wears - usually a fairly tight-fitting collarless top without buttons for obvious reasons. Whether or not a printed programme is made available, John Williams always introduces what he is about to play from the stage: a few words about the composer and his life, and anything noteworthy about the piece. Sometimes he'll launch into an anecdote about previous performances. (Concerto appearances are of course different, and usually the atmosphere is more formal and depends on the orchestra and conductor.)
It is usually possible to meet John Williams after any performance - just ask the venue staff where to go, but you may have to wait a while. I should mention, though, that John Williams does not like being photographed in these circumstances, although when asked politely, I have never witnessed him to refuse. He has a standard phrase: "I am a musician, not a model". Some people have taken this as a sign of rudeness, but I tend to disagree: having just played what may have been a long concert, he is tired and doesn't consider himself to look at his best. He's also probably already thinking of packing up to move to the next venue. I respect his wishes and this is one reason why although I've spoken to him on several occasions, I don't have any photographs.
Similarly, I have never seen him refuse to sign autographs - I have a few in my collection, including several CDs. Here's my dedicated From a Bird disc.