John Williams In Vienna, featuring the legendary composer’s debut concert with the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, has become the best-selling orchestral album of 2020. The chart-topping album, released in August, has sold 100,000 copies and received over 150 million streams. A new live edition double-CD including six bonus tracks, featuring a selection of John Williams’ new arrangements for star guest violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, and on-stage commentary from Williams, will be released on 5 February 2021 to coincide with the composer’s 89th birthday three days later. He told the audience that the invitation to work with the world-famous orchestra was “one of the greatest honours of my life”.
Anne-Sophie Mutter performed a selection of virtuosic arrangements written specially for her by John Williams
In January 2020 John Williams conducted his debut concert with the Vienna Philharmonic, at Vienna’s Musikverein, just weeks before his 88th birthday. They played iconic themes from cinematic landmarks, including Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park, and were joined by virtuoso violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter who performed a selection of arrangements written specially for her by Williams including ‘Hedwig’s Theme’ from Harry Potter and ‘Devil’s Dance’ from The Witches Of Eastwick.
“Anne-Sophie Mutter is many things,” Williams said, as he introduced her. “She is one of the world’s greatest violinists; she is a wonderful mother; she brings honour to her country. And in going to Australia, Asia, South America, North America, Europe, she’s indeed a very great world citizen.”
The conductor and the violinist formed their artistic partnership last year for their album Across The Stars, featuring many new arrangements of John Williams’ iconic movie themes for violin and orchestra.
“Performing my music with the brilliant Vienna Philharmonic truly was the dream of a lifetime”
John Williams In Vienna reached the Top 10 of the pop charts in Germany, Austria and Japan, topped the classical charts in the US, the UK, Japan and Australia and became the composer’s best-selling album of recent years.
John Williams said, “I feel enormously gratified by the reception that this special concert recording has received. Performing my music with the brilliant Vienna Philharmonic truly was the dream of a lifetime, and the opportunity to share this experience with so many people through Deutsche Grammophon’s outstanding recording has been a particular joy for me.”
“At different points in its history the Vienna Philharmonic has been conducted by the most important composers of the day,” noted Michael Bladerer, CEO of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. “As one of the leading composers of our time, John Williams has continued this tradition and I’m very happy that his extraordinary concert will live on thanks to the recording made last January.”
Dr Clemens Trautmann, President of Deutsche Grammophon, added, “Millions have grown up with the soundtracks of John Williams. We’ve been thrilled and enchanted by his music and moved by his extraordinary gift for writing melodies that stay with us forever. I’m delighted by the response to John Williams In Vienna and by the deep rapport that he, Anne-Sophie Mutter and the musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic developed. The new Live Edition captures even more of the special energy of their relationship and the magic they created together at the Musikverein.”
John Williams’ movie soundtracks are among the best-loved of all time and have received countless prestigious awards, including five Oscars, five Emmys, four Golden Globes and twenty-five Grammys.
In addition to the success of John Williams In Vienna the composer has enjoyed several career highlights this year. He was awarded Spain’s Premio Princesa de Asturias de las Artes 2020, the Record Academy Project Award from Japan’s Record Geijutsu magazine, as well as the coveted Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal which he received from his good friend, film director Steven Spielberg.
“Just close your eyes and dream”
John Williams In Vienna has been critically acclaimed worldwide. “The music swoons, marches and goes to war with Williams’ usual combination of sparkling swagger and lyrical finesse,” observed The Times (London). “Just close your eyes and dream.”
John Williams Live In Vienna will be released on 5 February 2021 and can be pre-ordered here.