John Williams has not only had a successful career in Film scoring and music for the concert stage, but he is also known as the official composer for the Olympic Games. He has composed for four of the Olympic games ranging from 1984- 2002. These pieces to this day are still performed and celebrated for the Olympics.
In 1984, John Williams had already become a household name. He had just completed scoring for the Star Wars Original Trilogy. He’s done the first of the Indiana Jones installments, The Superman motion picture, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Jaws (which started his career in the spotlight). The Olympic committee for the Los Angeles Games decided to choose a local composer to create the official music. Who else would be the better choice than John Williams? He composed a piece titled Olympic Fanfare and Theme. There are also two recordings of the piece. One of which was recorded with the Los Angeles Studio Orchestra and the second with the Boston Pops Orchestra. The second continues to be available both on CD and Digital Downloads.
NBC covered the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. John Williams was called upon again and commissioned to compose the official music for these Olympic Games. The pieces titled Olympic Spirit was created for the event. It was recorded by Williams with a television studio orchestra for the official Olympics CD and later recorded with the Boston Pops for the Summon The Heroes CD recording on Sony Classical.
1996 marked the Centennial Anniversary of the Olympic Games and once again held in the United States. For the Atlanta games in 1996, John Williams was committed to once again compose an original piece. Summon The Heroes was composed and performed at the Summer Olympics. As this was a huge anniversary for the Olympic Games with celebrations. Opera singer, Jennifer Larmore, a local of Atlanta, was joined in on the closing ceremonies along with John Williams. The piece was recored on the Sony Classical label of the same name. The first several 100 recordings were sold at Tower Records with a souvenir T-Shirt for the celebration. During the beginning of that summer seasons, John Williams and Jennifer Larmore also performed in celebration for the Olympics at the Hollywood Bowl.
in 2002, John Williams was once again called in to compose for the Olympics. This time it was for the Winter Games held once again in the United States in Salt Lake City, Utah. The piece he composed for these games was titled Call of the Champions and was once again recorded under the Sony Classical label. The recording also has a second performance of Summon The Heroes along with many of other John Williams’ Fanfares and March themes.
John Williams is a true composer of many facets. His style of composing ranges in all aspects. The Olympic music shines in brilliance in his biggest strength, the brass instruments. In particular the French Horn. He loves to compose for these instruments which makes a true Olympic sound world. There was no other choice than John Williams to compose for these games. All of these pieces are still available to listen on the internet, purchase as a digital download or as a CD. I highly recommend them to those who would be interested in knowing more about his music outside of the film world.