John Williams was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1941 and moved to London with his family in 1952. He was taught the guitar by his father from the age of five, afterwards attending summer courses with Segovia at the Academia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy and studying music at the Royal College of Music in London from 1956-59. Having already played in London, Paris and Madrid he toured Russia in 1962 and in 1963 began regular tours of Japan and the United States. Since then he has toured widely, both solo and with orchestra and is heard often on radio and television. The complete collection of his 58 CD’s (and one DVD) for Sony/CBS was issued in 2016. In 2007 he was presented with an Edison lifetime achievement award.
John Williams has collaborated with many musicians including Julian Bream, Itzak Perlman, Andre Previn, Cleo Laine, John Dankworth and Daniel Barenboim. Other musical activities have included the group Sky, collaborations with Richard Harvey, a duo with John Etheridge and the music of Latin America and Africa. He recently performed and recorded a DVD with the Palestinian duo Sabil: this is an example of the particular importance to him of the role of the guitar outside the confines of the purely European tradition.
In 2010 he started his own label, JCW Recordings, beginning with the CD “From a Bird” and this was followed by “Stepping Stones”, “Concerto” and his latest release “On the Wing”.
01 Apr 11 Recital April 2011 Cork School of MusicMore info“The best has just got better. Two years ago, guitar legend John Williams treated Cork to a performance of otherworldly genius. Last Thursday, he somehow went one further….[the] Villa Lobos and Brouwer pieces were technically stunning, notably Williams’ rendition of Brouwer’s Valley of Echoes while the Latin-focused second half was all about emotions. They could hardly have run any higher.”
Irish Examiner, 12th April 2011.
01 Feb 10 Concert February 2010 English Chamber OrchestraMore info“He is the consummate technician and a master of his instrument…in Leo Brouwer’s Guitar Concerto no 6 he made it deceptively simple. He displayed unhurried technique. He gave an impeccable account of Cavatina – the Deer Hunter.”
Birmingham Express & Star, 25 February 2010
01 May 09 Recital August 2008 Kilkenny Arts Festival, IrelandMore info“The impression was very much of a man who wants to put the music first, and that’s the impression that was made by his actual playing, too. Williams has the skills of a teller of tales who can draw his listeners in with a few compelling images. He sets the tone and he delivers what he promises, whether it be 18th-century music reimagined for guitar …, the kind of guitar-infused Spanish piano music …, or his own easy-listening pieces, which he delivers with lyrical freedom.
The Irish Times, August 2008
6 Hands: John Williams, John Etheridge & Gary Ryan, guitars
After many years of playing together John Williams and John Etheridge are joined by classical guitarist and composer Gary Ryan in a colourful and varied programme of solos, duos and trios. Williams and Etheridge will play some of their most popular pieces together and own compositions and Gary Ryan will play his own “Benga Beat”. The programme will also feature duos played by Ryan and Williams, by Ryan and Etheridge and trio pieces “Malinke Guitars” and “Triangular Situations”. All pieces will be introduced by the players.