The New York Philharmonic

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Spring Gala: Celebrating John Williams

Apr 25

Limited Availability

For more than six decades, John Williams has created the soundtrack of our lives. On April 25, Ken-David Masur conducts the New York Philharmonic in a night of Williams’s most popular music, with the composer himself sharing the podium. The evening will include music from his most memorable films, ranging from Superman and E.T. to Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List. Special guest Steven Spielberg presents some of the iconic scores from their many films together, featuring a selection of clips projected in the Wu Tsai Theater at David Geffen Hall.

Enhance your experience: Celebrate John Williams’s iconic work at our Spring Gala. Join us for a pre-concert reception, receive prime concert seating, and enjoy a festive dinner with the artists on the Leon and Norma Hess Grand Promenade. Contact to support the Spring Gala.

Spring Gala: Celebrating John Williams


7:30 PM





Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall


  • John Williams


    In a career spanning more than six decades, John Williams has become one of America’s most accomplished and successful composers for film and for the concert stage, and he remains one of our nation’s most distinguished and contributive musical voices. He has composed the music and served as music director for more than 100 films, including all nine Star Wars films, the first three Harry Potter films, Superman, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, Memoirs of a Geisha, Far and Away, The Accidental Tourist, Home Alone, and The Book Thief. His 50-year artistic partnership with director Steven Spielberg has resulted in many of Hollywood’s most acclaimed and successful films, including Schindler’s List, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Indiana Jones films, Munich, Saving Private Ryan, The Adventures of Tintin, War Horse, Lincoln, The BFG, The Post, and The Fabelmans. Williams’s contributions to television music include scores for more than 200 television films for the groundbreaking, early anthology series Alcoa Theatre, Kraft Television Theatre, Chrysler Theatre, and Playhouse 90, as well as themes for NBC Nightly News (“The Mission”), NBC’s Meet the Press, and the PBS arts showcase Great Performances. He also composed themes for the 1984, 1988, and 1996 Summer Olympic Games and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

    John Williams has received five Academy Awards and fifty-three Oscar nominations, making him the Academy’s most nominated living person and the second-most nominated person in the history of the Oscars. He has received seven British Academy Awards (BAFTA), twenty-five Grammys, four Golden Globes, five Emmys, and numerous gold and platinum records. In 2003 his contributions to the Olympic movement were recognized when he received the Olympic Order (the IOC’s highest honor). He received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors in December 2004. In 2009 Williams was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and he received the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the US Government. In 2016 he received the 44th Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute — the first time that this honor was bestowed upon a composer. In 2020 he received Spain’s Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts as well as the Gold Medal from the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society in the UK, and in 2022 he was awarded an honorary knighthood of the British Empire as one of the final awards approved by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

    In January 1980 John Williams was named 19th music director of the Boston Pops Orchestra, succeeding the legendary Arthur Fiedler. He currently holds the title of Boston Pops laureate conductor, which he assumed following his retirement in December 1993 after 14 highly successful seasons. He also holds the title of artist-in-residence at Tanglewood. Williams has composed numerous works for the concert stage, among them two symphonies, and concertos commissioned by several of the world’s leading orchestras, including a bassoon concerto for the New York Philharmonic (commissioned to mark the Orchestra’s 150th anniversary), a cello concerto for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a trumpet concerto for The Cleveland Orchestra, and a horn concerto for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 2009 the Boston Symphony premiered his concerto for harp and orchestra titled On Willows and Birches, and he composed and arranged Air and Simple Gifts especially for the first inaugural ceremony of President Barack Obama. In 2021 Williams premiered his second violin concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood along with soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter, for whom he composed the work.

  • Ken-David Masur


    Noted for his keen musical intelligence, imaginative programming, and unmistakable charisma, Ken-David Masur is in his fourth season as music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO). In the 2022–23 season, their programming explores the natural world and its relationship to humanity. He conducts major works, including Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, and continues the second year of an MSO artistic partnership with pianist Aaron Diehl. As principal conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the academy orchestra of the Chicago Symphony, Masur leads concerts in Orchestra Hall and throughout Chicago, including in an annual Bach Marathon.

    In the 2021–22 season Masur made debuts with the San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota, Baltimore Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, and Kristiansand Symphony orchestras. Following the gala opening of Milwaukee’s newly restored Bradley Symphony Center, which was telecast nationally on PBS, MSO season highlights included an original, staged production of Grieg’s Peer Gynt in partnership with director Bill Barclay. In the summer of 2022 Masur made his debut at Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, and returned to Tanglewood to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Branford Marsalis, and James Taylor in a 90th birthday celebration of John Williams. 

    Ken David Masur has conducted distinguished orchestras around the world, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago and Detroit Symphony Orchestras, Orchestre National de France, and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony in Tokyo. He has also appeared regularly at Ravinia, Tanglewood, the Hollywood Bowl, and at international festivals such as Verbier. Passionate about contemporary music, Masur has conducted and commissioned dozens of new works, many of which were premiered at the Chelsea Music Festival, an annual summer music festival in New York City founded and directed by Masur and his wife, pianist Melinda Lee Masur, which is frequently featured among The New York Times’s best classical picks of the season. 

    Masur’s past posts include associate conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where he led numerous concerts at Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood; principal guest conductor of the Munich Symphony; associate conductor of the San Diego Symphony; and resident conductor of the San Antonio Symphony. 

    Learn more about Ken-David Masur
  • Steven Spielberg

    Special Guest

    Steven Spielberg is one of the world’s most successful and influential filmmakers, and is currently chairman of Amblin Partners, a corporate descendent of DreamWorks, SKG, which he co-founded in 1994. Among a host of career accolades, he is a three-time Academy Award winner, a Kennedy Center Honoree, a recipient of the Irving G. Thalberg Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 from President Barack Obama. 

    Learn more about Steven Spielberg

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