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[Lee In-hyun] Do you know Mr. John Williams?

When I was little, I frequently watched the movie “Home Alone” during the holiday season. The movie became a must-see for the holiday, just as “The Nutcracker” is an essential Christmastime performance. Although I watched “Home Alone” every year, it never got old. I cannot imagine spending Christmas without it.

When I was a graduate student in Boston, I was approached by my friend who asked me about John Williams. She had an extra ticket to a Williams concert and asked me if I wanted to tag along, but I had no clue who he was. She suggested I attend his concert. I told her I would think about it and began researching him when I got back home.

John Williams is a composer, conductor, music director and pianist. He is also a legend of film music in the United States. If Ennio Morricone is the big star in Italy, John Williams is the big star in the United States.

Whenever I had free time, I used to go to a movie theater in Boston Common. I liked to watch blockbuster movies like “Mission Impossible” or “The Avengers,” which never failed to impress me, especially musically. The music went so well with the scenes on screen. I always figured that the music that was used in films was from classic composers but I learned that the man behind a lot of my favorite movie soundtracks was John Williams. He made most of the movie music from iconic films like ‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘Indiana Jones,’ ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Superman,’ and ‘Home Alone.’

Since he studied classical music, he had a firm foundation in musical knowledge and theory. He made music using real orchestra sounds and not computerized digital sounds. His music is both popular and has artistic value. Williams analyzed and studied instruments and scenes, and mixed the unique sounds of instruments to maximize what was taking place on screen.

It is very complicated and difficult for a composer to make movie music but he is dedicated to the craft. This is why his music feels like classical music and the reason why many classical musicians perform his music at their concerts.

Additionally, people think he is not only a film music composer and pop music composer, but also a contemporary music composer of classical music because of his composing style.

Most people remember famous movie names, directors and actors. However, they do not remember the many others who work hard to put films together. I was one of them. If I had been looking for music directors after watching impressive movies, I would have known John Williams.

If you do not have any plans for Christmas, I highly recommend you watch “Home Alone” with your family or friends. If you have children, they will really enjoy it, and the adults will be immersed in childhood memories. And while you watch, be sure to pay extra attention to the music in the background. You will be surprised by what you hear.

Lee In-hyun
Lee In-hyun is a classical pianist and author of the award-winning book, “The Classic Class,” published in January 2021. She works both in Korea and the United States. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California. -- Ed.

By Korea Herald (
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