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About Patrick Williams

Musician/Composer/Educator

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Having composed the music for over 65 featured films, 100 television films, 25 television series, as well as 18 albums and 30 concert works, Patrick Williams has established himself as one of the most accomplished and prolific composers in the music indutry today. He has received four Emmy awards with twenty-two nominations and two Grammy awards with nineteen nominations. He has also been nominated for both an Academy Award and the Pulitzer Prize in music. He is a recipient of the Richard Kirk Award from the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers. Born in Missouri, Williams grew up in Connecticut and received a degree in history from Duke University. His first love, however, was always music, and when he went on to Columbia to study music composition and conducting, his passion became his profession. He quickly became busy as an arranger in New York, and then in 1968, he moved to California to pursue work in the film and television industry while continuing to write and arrange jazz albums.

Proficiency in composing for symphony orchestras as well as jazz bands has offered Williams an opportunity to create a wide variety of works. Among his critically acclaimed compositions are An American Concerto, a piece featuring a jazz quartet and symphony orchestra, for which he received a 1977 Pullitzer Prize nomination; Gulliver, featuring a symphony orchestra with narrator, for which he received a Grammy nomination (narration by Larry Gelbart and performed by Sir John Gielgud); Suite Memories, which features a solo trombone with symphony orchestra and won a Grammy award; Theme for Earth Day, an overture, recorded by the Boston Pops; Spring Wings, a double concerto written by saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and pianist Dave Grusin with symphony orchestra; Romances, a concerto for jazz saxophonist Tom Scott and orchestra; A Concerto in Swing for big band and clarinet, which was dedicated to and premiered by Eddie Daniels; Adagio for Orchestra composed in 2004; and August composed in 2005. He recently completed a ballet, Ziji, with choreographer Edgar Zendejas to honor the 60th Anniversary of the College of the Fine Arts at the University of Utah.

Some of Williams’ big band recordings are considered classics of contemporary big band instrumentals, such as Threshold for which he received a Grammy in 1974; Too Hip for the Room, for which he received a Grammy nomination in 1983; Tenth Avenue which received a Grammy nomination in 1987 and Sinatraland, a big band tribute to Frank Sinatra for which he received a Grammy nomination in 1998. In 2006, he received two Grammy nominations for the album Elevation with Tom Scott and Eddie Daniels.

In September 2001, he won an Emmy for his song, “A Dream That Only I Can Know,” from the film, Yesterday’s Children. In 2002, he received an Emmy nomination for his score for “We Were The Mulvaneys” and a Grammy nomination for “The Theme from Blonde” from the sountrack album for the TV miniseries Blonde, a portrait of Marilyn Monroe. In 1992, Williams won the Emmy for the mini-series “Jewels”. He has composed and arranged themes and scores for television series including The Streets of San Francisco, Lou Grant, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, the Mary Tyler Moore Show, the Bob Newhart Show, Columbo, Slap Maxwell, The Tony Randall Show, and the Magician. Recent television projects include Hercules, starring Sean Astin, The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story; When Angels Come To Town and Finding John Christmas starring Peter Falk; James Patterson’s First to Die; Power and Beauty;The Thin Blue Lie; The Three Stooges with Michael Chiklis and A Cooler Climate starring Sally Field and Judy Davis. Of the 65 plus films Williams has scored in his career, a few include Breaking Away, for which he received a 1978 Oscar nomination; All of Me, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Swing Shift, Cuba, Violet’s Are Blue, Casey’s Shadow, The Cutting Edge, Cry-Baby, and The Glass Harp.

Williams is also an accomplished arranger with extensive credits. The album, For Ella featuring Patti Austin, which he co-produced and arranged, was nominated for a 2003 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal album. He was chosen by Frank Sinatra to act as Musical Director/ Arranger- Conductor for his final studio recordings, Duets and Duets II. He has arranged recordings for Paul Anka, Peter Cincotti, Natalie Cole, Neil Diamond, Gloria Estefan, Michael Feinstein, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Thomas Hampson, Barry Hay, Monica Mancini, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, John Pizzarelli, Brian Setzer, Barbara Streisand, Traincha, and Russell Watson.

Williams has been a leader in the music education field for many years, holding posts as Visiting Professor and Composer in Residence at the University of Utah and the University of Colorado, which awarded him an Honorary Doctoral Degree. He has performed and/or lectured at many colleges including Berkeley College of Music, Duke University, Indiana University, Texas Christian University, (1993 Green Honors Professor), UCLA, USC, and Yale University. In May 2001. he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Duke University. He served as Art Director of the Henri Mancini Institute from 2001 to 2006.

Reviews

  • THRESHOLD REVIEW- REVIEWED BY GENE LEES
    To gain an insight into what’s happening, it would be well to listen to a new album on Capital called “Pat Williams: Threshold”. One is tempted to call it a jazz album, because it swings. But so elegantly are the elements of jazz and “legit” music interfused that the definition collapses on any serious reflection. Nor is it only Pat’s writing that makes it: He has assembled a twenty-seven man orchestra of musicians of comparable ambidextrous persuasion. They can function in either world, and in this album they are required to function in both, alternately or simultaneously. This, in my opinion, is one of the most important albums of the last ten years… But it is the new musical direction that Williams suggests to us that makes the album so overwhelmingly important.

    …A section called On The Sixth Day is one of the most dazzling fanfares for brass you’ve ever heard; it promptly dissolves into a powerful jazz swing. In another section called The Witch, he uses a string quarter over a rhythm section. And he makes that string section- the violinists are Jerry Vinci and Jake Krachmalnick, the former concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra-swing.

    Williams is working to setup up an orchestra that is built for such younger men: players at university level or just beyond it, who are so far beyond the capabilities of the generations preceding them..This is the best instrumental album of the year. And it is very important.

    HIGH FIDELITY MAGAZINE – GENE LEES
    HIGH FIDELITY MAGAZINE
  • The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association presented the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra in an exciting Mother’s Day Event at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This Sounds About Town matinees performance features eight stunning musical compositions written and arranged by several of America’s most revered composers…Dr. Williams’ original piece, “Bird From Missouri,” was a four-minute musical experience that involved the fusion of jazz and country fiddling. The “hoe-down” ambience coupled with the exciting jazz elements was remarkable…
    Dr. Patrick Williams beautifully conducted “Mood Indigo” and “Suite From Porgy and Bess.” His stellar command of two rarely heard arrangements by Morton Gould and Robert Farnon, respectively, showed why Dr. Williams is one of the most beloved leaders in the music education field today. “Mood Indigo”, adapted here for a large orchestra showed the awesome compositional integrity of Ellington especially since this composition was originally composed for a seven-member ensemble. The jazz/folk opera “Porgy and Bess” continues to reveal Gershwin’s incredible skills as songwriter but this particular version offered more use of jazz inflections than the symphonic versions. Again, Dr. Williams’ charm and distinction as a conductor shone brilliantly and was honored by a standing ovation.

    SOUNDS OF TIMELESS JAZZ – Disney Concert Hall-Music Review- Mon, May 15, 2006
    SOUNDS OF TIMELESS JAZZ
  • Throughout most of the 1960s, Patrick Williams was one of the many composers/arrangers kicking around the NYC studio music scene. In the late 60′s he arranged/composed several Muzak-molder LP’s that only occasionally hinted at the ebullience and brilliance unleashed on his 1974 Grammy Award winning album THRESHOLD. Perhaps due to his nationally successful composing/arranging credits for both The Mary Tyler Morre Show and The Bob Newhart Show, he was able to compose/ arrange and finance Threshold, his pet project, that featured big band jazz/rock/ classical compositions and stellar soloists that swung like mad.

    The album’s instrumentation augmented the typical big band setting(saxes, trumpets, trombones plus rhythm section) of the day with inclusion of (Frence) horns and a full string section including the harp. Essentially two main soloists were featured- Tom Scott (woodwinds) and Marvin Stamm(trumpet)…Williams composed and arranged all of the music, didn’t do any pop covers, wasn’t suffering from “road weariness” and he hand picked exceptional soloists and players specifically for this project. What resulted was some of the fresh, propulsive, exciting, spirited and original music of that or any following eras in big band music history.

    Threshold is an experience all its own. For those who do not have it, there is a hole in your bucket.

    THRESHOLD- ALL ABOUT JAZZ – Reviewed by Eric Pettine- December 30, 2004
    THRESHOLD- ALL ABOUT JAZZ

Awards

breakingawayaward1979 Academy Award Nomination

BEST MUSIC/ORIGINAL SCORE
AND ITS ADAPTATION
Directed and Produced by Peter Yates
Written by Peter Tisch
Composed by Patrick Williams

CABLE ACE AWARDS

1994- Geronimo

CABLE ACE NOMINATIONS

1995- Kingfish
1994- Zelda

EMMY AWARDS

2001-”A Dream That Only I Can Know” From Yesterday’s Children
1993-Danielle Steele’s “Jewels”
1982- The Princess and the Cabbie
1980- The Lou Grant Show

EMMY NOMINATIONS

1997- After Jimmy
1995- Kingfish
1994- Geronimo
1994- The Corpse had a Familiar Face
1993- Blind Spot

1991- Decoration Day
1990- FM
1989- Columbo
1988- The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd
1987- The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd
1985- Seduced
1984- Mr. Smith
1982- The Lou Grant Show
1981- The Lou Grant Show
1980- The Lou Grant Show
1979- The Lou Grant Show
1978- Columbo
1978- The Streets of San Francisco

GRAMMY AWARDS

1986- Best Instumental Arrangement “Suite Memories” Track From the Album “Someplace Else” Bill Watrous with Patrick Williams
1974- Best Instrumental Arrangement “Threshold” Track from the Album “Threshold” by Patrick Williams

GRAMMY AWARD ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

1987- Best Spoken Word “Gulliver” Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir John Gielgud Narrator
1978- Best Arrangement/ Record of the Year, Billy Joel, “The Stranger”

GRAMMY NOMINATIONS

2006- Best Instrumental Composition A Concerto in Swing-Elevation(The Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra and Big Band)
2006- Best Instrumental Arrangement Tom & Eddie- Elevation(The Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra and Big Band)
2002- Best Instrumental Composition “The Theme From Blonde”-Blonde
1998-Best Instrumental Arrangement with Vocal “Breath of Heaven”-Breath of Heaven (Vince Gill)
1994- Best Instrumental Arrangement with Vocal “I’ve Got a Crush on You”- Frank Sinatra Duets

1987- Best Instrumental Performance/Big Band “Patrick Williams’ New York Band- 10th Avenue
1987- Best Instrumental Arrangement “Jive Samba”- Track from 10th Avenue
1986- Best Instrumental Arrangement “Suite Memories”- Track from Someplace Else
1983- Best Instrumental Arrangement “Too Hip for the Room”- Track from Dreams and Themes
1980- Best Instrumental Composition- An American Concerto
1974-Best Instrumental Arrangement “Threshold”- Track from Threshold
1974- Best Jazz Performance by a Big Band- Threshold
1971- Best Arrangement “Long Ago Tomorrow”-BJ Thomas

EDUCATION/PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, Duke University, 2001
BMI Richard Kirk Achievement Award, 1997
Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Univ of Colorado 1983
Academy Award Nomination, 1980- Breaking Away
Pulitzer Prize Nomination, 1977- An American Concerto
Duke University, BA 1961
Columbia University, Composition and Orchestration

ACADEMIC CONTRIBUTIONS

DUKE UNIVERSITY, Guest Lecturer
YALE UNIVERSITY, Lecturer, Composer, Conductor

TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY, Green Honors Professsor
USC, Visiting Facility, Film Music Program
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH, Visiting Professor/ Composer In Residence
BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC, Guest Lecturer
INDIANA UNIVERSITY, Guest Lecturer
ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS & SCIENCES, “Music for Motion Pictures,” Seminar Lecture series, Chair
CANADIAN MOTION PICTURE AND TELEVISION WORKSHOP, GL
BATTLE OF THE BANDS, Hollywood Bowl, Judge
BROADWAY FILM FESTIVAL, Judge
ORANGE COAST COLLEGE JAZZ ENSEMBLE FESTIVAL, Judge
DOWNBEAT/KENNEDY FOUNDATION COLLEGE
COMPETIONS, Judge, Big Band
NATIONAL COLLEGE JAZZ FESTIVAL, West Coast Judge

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

BMI Foundation, Advisory Board
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Music Branch Executive Committee
Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
The Recording Academy, Board Member, Los Angeles Chapter
Society of Composers & Lyricists, Advisory Board
The Hollywood Symphony Orchestra, Advisory Board
Songwriters Guild of America
The Dramatists Guild, Inc.
Broadcast Music, Inc.

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