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Watch: John Williams' 80th Birthday Celebration Includes Obama, Spielberg and Lucas (VIDEO)

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood August 22, 2012 at 2:44PM

Last Saturday octogenarian composer John Williams attended a gala tribute concert for his ongoing 80th birthday celebration at the Tanglewood music festival in Massachusetts. Steven Spielberg and James Taylor made surprise stage appearances, and both President Obama and George Lucas delivered video birthday greetings.
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John Williams

Last Saturday octogenarian composer John Williams attended a gala tribute concert for his ongoing 80th birthday celebration at the Tanglewood music festival in Massachusetts. Steven Spielberg and James Taylor made surprise stage appearances, and both President Obama and George Lucas delivered video birthday greetings.

"I have collaborated with John for half of his life," said Spielberg, who has had Williams score all but one of his 26 features. "He is this nation's greatest composer and one of the greatest friends I've ever had in my life." 

The Boston Pops orchestra, along with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, soprano Jessye Norman, violinist Gil Shaham, clarinetist Anthony McGill, pianist Gabriela Montero and the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, as well as conductors Keith Lockhart, Leonard Slatkin and Shi-Yeon Sung, all contributed to the program, which featured themes from Williams' most popular film scores, including "E.T.," "Star Wars," "Schindler's List" and the "Harry Potter" series.

Check out the Tanglewood video below:

This article is related to: John Williams, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Video


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.