After his 64-year-long career, beloved composer John Williams is ready to retire.
After 60 years of creating the soundtracks to our lives, legendary composer John Williams says that he might be ready to hang up his baton.
“At the moment I’m working on Indiana Jones 5, which Harrison Ford—who’s quite a bit younger than I am—I think has announced will be his last film,” Williams said. “So, I thought: If Harrison can do it, then perhaps I can, also.”
The 90-year-old composer is preparing to end his film career, although he plans to continue writing music specifically for the concert hall. Williams says that scoring a major film takes six months, which “at this point in life is a long commitment to me.”
Williams will be ending his career on a fitting note if Indiana Jones 5 is his retirement score. Steven Spielberg and Williams have been collaborating since 1975’s Jaws. Williams and Spielberg have gone on to produce many of the most iconic scores in film history, including Jurassic Park, Star Wars, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Catch Me If You Can, and the Indiana Jones franchise.
Retiring from composing film scores means that Williams’ final two films are Speilberg’s autobiographical look at his childhood and decision to become a filmmaker, and the final entry of one of the composer’s most beloved franchises. While Williams refused to definitively state if he would work on another film or not in the interview, he says that even if he never writes another score, he will have no regrets about the musical life he has led.
“It’s given me the ability to breathe, the ability to live and understand that there’s more to corporal life,” he said. “Without being religious, which I’m not especially, there is a spiritual life, an artistic life, a realm that’s above the mundanities of everyday realities. Music can raise one’s thinking to the level of poetry. We can reflect on how necessary music has been for humanity. I always like to speculate that music is older than language, that we were probably beating drums and blowing on reeds before we could speak. So it’s an essential part of our humanity.”
We can truly appreciate the work of Williams over his long and eventful career. Scoring most of Spielberg’s films and many of the films in the Star Wars franchises, including the theme for Obi-Wan Kenobi, Williams did create the soundtrack of our lives. His compositions transported us to worlds we have never wanted to leave, and we can't thank him enough for his contribution to film history.
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