John Williams, Chaconne – complete

Guitarist John Williams performing Bach’s Chaconne. Recorded live at the MacMillan Theatre, University of Toronto, 1987

John Williams live concert in Cordoba, 1986
Background information
Born 24 April 1941 (age 71)
Melbourne, Australia
Genres Classical musicRock Music
Occupations Guitaristarranger and composer.
Instruments Guitar
Years active fl. ca. 1958 – present
Labels Sony Records
Notable instruments
Smallman guitarPaulino Bernabe II, Ignacio Fleta, Hernandez y Aguado, Gibson Les Paul, Didgeridoo




John Williams was born on 24 April 1941 in Melbourne, Australia to an English father, Len Williams, who was later the founder of the London Guitar School, and Malaan (née Ah Ket), an Australian-Chinese mother (a daughter of Melbourne barrister William Ah Ket). In 1952, the family relocated to England. Williams was taught initially by his father and educated at the Friern Barnet Grammar School, London.[1] From the age of eleven he attended summer courses with Andrés Segovia at the Academia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy. Later, he attended the Royal College of Music in London from 1956 to 1959, studying piano because the school did not have a guitar department at the time. Upon graduation, he was offered the opportunity to create such a department. He took the opportunity and ran the department for its first two years. Williams has maintained links with the college (and with the Royal Northern College of Music[2] in Manchester) ever since.


Classical guitarist


Williams’s first professional performance was at the Wigmore Hall in London on 6 November 1958. Since then, he has been performing throughout the world and has made regular appearances on radio and TV. He has recorded almost the entire repertoire for the guitar and has extended it by commissioning guitar concertos from composers such as Stephen DodgsonAndré PrevinPatrick GowersRichard Harvey and Steve Gray. He has recorded albums of duets with fellow guitarists Julian Bream and Paco Peña.


Williams is a visiting professor and honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music[3] in London.


Williams mostly uses Greg Smallman guitars after using Spanish Fleta during the 1970s [4] He also plays a guitar by Paulino Bernabe II.[5]

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