Today we have some exciting news to share about one of our favorite composers, John Williams. As we briefly mentioned earlier in the week, John is now 80 years old.  He celebrated this occasion on August 18th John Williams with some of his closest celebrity friends with a memorable concert at Tanglewood, an estate and music venue in Massachusetts. According to the press release we’ve been sent:

Tanglewood had the honor of presenting the only official celebration of John Williams’s 80th birthday attended by the composer himself, with a gala tribute concert on Saturday, August 18 at 8:30 p.m., featuring performances by stars of the music world, along with surprise stage appearances and video messages from luminaries of the world of arts and culture. Steven Spielberg and James Taylor made surprise stage appearances and President Barack Obama, The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton, George Lucas, Brian Williams, Seiji Ozawa, and Gustavo Dudamel were featured in video birthday greetings to Mr. Williams throughout the evening.

In what was a spectacular evening of some of Mr. Williams’s most popular works for film and the concert stage, the program featured the Boston Pops Orchestra, cellist Yo-Yo Ma; soprano Jessye Norman; violinist Gil Shaham; clarinetist Anthony McGill; pianist Gabriela Montero; and the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, as well as conductors Keith Lockhart, Leonard Slatkin, and Shi-Yeon Sung. James Taylor, accompanied by BSO cellist Owen Young, performed “You’ve Got a Friend.” Maestro Williams (brief bio below), who holds the titles of Boston Pops Laureate Conductor and Tanglewood Artist in Residence, and the audience heard beloved themes from his film scores to E.T., Harry Potter, and Star Wars, Schindler’s List, Memoirs of a Geisha, as well as his Air and Simple Gifts, a work composed by John Williams for the inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama.

Thanks to Tanglewood we have some photos and a video from the event that you can see below.

Filed Under: Exclusive, John Williams