Famed Composer John Williams Performs in Japan for 1st Time in 30 Years

©Michiharu Okubo/2023 OMF
John Williams, right, holds hands with Seiji Ozawa after performing at the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, on Saturday.

MATSUMOTO, Nagano — World famous composer John Williams conducted his own scores at the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival in Nagano Prefecture on Saturday.

The 91-year-old music maestro, known for his music work on movies such as “Jurassic Park,” performed with the Saito Kinen Orchestra after he was invited to perform by longtime friend Seiji Ozawa, who also serves as the director of the festival. It was the first time in 30 years that Williams had performed in Japan.

French conductor Stephane Deneve, 51, lead the first half of the program. The preceding half saw Williams energetically swinging a baton to conduct various masterpieces he had composed for movies such as “Harry Potter,” “Schindler’s List” and “Star Wars.”

After the performance, Ozawa appeared on stage in a wheelchair and joyfully held hands with Williams, who told the audience that he came to honor Ozawa, whom he respects sincerely. The pair received a big round of applause from the audience of about 1,900 attendees.

Ozawa commented after the performance, “Thank you John for coming to Matsumoto.”