John McLaughlin Williams
2007 Grammy Award
"Best Instrumental Solo with Orchestra"
1999 Geraldine Ford Award
for American Conductors
...he exhibited a big, luscious tone with lots of oomph..."
Richard Buell - Boston Globe, Boston, MA
John McLaughlin Williams, a graduate of the Cleveland Institute Of Music, conducts vibrant performances. He invests energy where it is needed and emphasizes the tenderness that pervades many pages of Carpenter’s scores."
Donald Rosenberg - The Plain Dealer, Cleveland OH
To be honest, we were hesitant to order this CD when it first came out, as we had been underwhelmed by some of this orchestra's earlier recordings. However, since Maestro Williams made his Naxos recording debut with the orchestra in June of 1999, its sound has improved considerably. Whatever he's doing, we hope it continues."
John McGrody - Network Chicago
2007 Grammy Award winning conductor John McLaughlin Williams has been critically acclaimed for his outstanding interpretive abilities and engaging podium presence.
2007 Grammy Award-winner John McLaughlin Williams (the first African-American conductor to win a Grammy) has been critically acclaimed for his outstanding interpretive abilities and engaging podium presence. Equally at home with the standard literature and the great romantic and early modern music written by American composers, it was with the release of his acclaimed recordings on the Naxos label, that his conducting became familiar to listeners on both sides of the Atlantic. With the National Symphony and Radio Orchestras of Ukraine, Williams has made world-premiere recordings of orchestral works by American composers both well-known and neglected for the Naxos label’s celebrated “American Classics” series. He has been critically hailed in international publications, among them Fanfare, Gramophone, Classic FM, International Record Review, American Record Guide, and the French recording journal Diapason. His recordings appear on the Naxos, TNC, Artek, Cambria, and Afka labels. His most recent release, Quincy Porter: Complete Viola Works, recorded with Eliesha Nelson, appears on the Dorian label.
Additional recognition came from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2009 when he was awarded a second Grammy nomination for his conducting in recordings of concerti by Ernest Bloch and Benjamin Lees with violinist Elmar Oliveira. In 1999 Mr. Williams received the Geraldine C. & Emory M. Ford Award for American Conductors.
Williams’s conducting experience includes work with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Kiev Philharmonic, Boston Lyric Opera/Opera New England, Boulder Philharmonic, the Cayman Arts Festival, Greenville Symphony, and East Texas Symphony. Williams holds a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from the Cleveland Institute of Music. There he studied conducting with Carl Topilow, Music Director of the National Repertory Orchestra and the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, and composition with Donald Erb and Margaret Brouwer.
As comfortable with popular material as he is with the classics, Mr. Williams has conducted for Platypus Theatre and served as music director for R&B superstars Al Jarreau, Brian McKnight, and The Winans for “Christmas Glory 2005,” a gospel Christmas concert for the FOX and UPN television networks that was broadcast Christmas Day.
Williams is an active violin soloist, pianist, and chamber musician. He began violin studies at age 10 in a Washington, D.C. public school. At age 14 he appeared as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Williams studied with Dorothy Delay (teacher of Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham, Nigel Kennedy, and Midori, among others) at the New England Conservatory. As violin soloist, Williams has appeared with many orchestras, including the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, South Carolina Philharmonic, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, and the Portland Symphony Orchestra.
Williams served as Concertmaster of the Virginia Symphony and was a member of the Houston Symphony. As guest concertmaster he has appeared with the Bolshoi Ballet, Kirov Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Pennsylvania Ballet, Youngstown Symphony, the Opera Company of North Carolina, and the Portland Symphony Orchestra. He also has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops Orchestra, and was Assistant Concertmaster of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra.
Williams has recorded chamber music for the Afka label and jazz with the Max Roach Double Quartet. His composition credits include work with Michael Kamen (Lethal Weapon, Die Hard) for the soundtrack to Mr. Dreyfuss Goes to Washington, a documentary for the History Channel.
John McLaughlin Williams is represented exclusively by GKW Creative Management.