NEW MUSIC TUESDAY | John Williams' New Violin Concerto No. 2

The composer's newest concerto was dedicated to and world premiered by violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter at the Tanglewood Music Center on July 25, 2021



The piece was performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and conducted by the 89-year-old composer himself.

John Williams is known for the film scores of "Star Wars," "Indiana Jones," "Schindler's List," and "Harry Potter." He has won 25 Grammy Awards, seven British Academy Film Awards, five Academy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards — and has 52 Oscar nominations.

He collaborated many times with the four-time Grammy Award winner violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. In 2017, Mutter premiered "Markings" for solo violin, string orchestra, and harp — a new work that Williams composed exclusively for her.

In 2019, the pair released "Across the Stars," an album of arrangements of Williams’ famous movie themes for solo violin and orchestra. They also collaborated on a double CD entitled "John Williams Live in Vienna" with the Vienna Philharmonic in February 2021.

For the newest project, Violin Concerto No. 2, Williams took his inspiration and energy directly from Mutter.

"I can only think of this piece as being about Anne-Sophie Mutter, and the violin itself — an instrument that is the unsurpassed product of the luthier’s art," Williams said in the program notes. "While writing, I recalled her flair for an infectious rhythmic swagger that is particularly her own."

"At one point you will hear harmonies reminiscent of Debussy, but I ask you to reflect on another Claude… In this case, Claude Thornhill, a very early hero of mine who, it can be justly said, was the musical godfather of the Gil Evans/Miles Davis collaboration."

"I’ve always believed that in the end, the music ought to be free to be interpreted through the prism of every listener’s own personal history, prior exposures, and cultural background."