The American composer, Patrick Williams, was born in Missouri and grew up in Connecticut. He received a degree in history from Duke University. But music was always his first love, and when he went on to Columbia University to study music composition and conducting, his passion became his profession. He quickly became busy as an arranger in New York; he moved to California in 1968 to pursue work in the movie and television field while continuing to write and arrange jazz albums.
Patrick Williams is truly a composer for the 21st century. Over the past three decades, he has won acclaim in every realm of American music: jazz, popular, concert hall, film and television.
An American Concerto, composed in 1976, was one of the first - and still ranks as among the most successful - attempts to combine jazz elements with traditional symphonic writing. Nominated for the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for composing the groundbreaking orchestral work An American Concerto, he has won two GRAMMYs for his jazz arrangements, four Emmys for his television music, an Oscar nomination for film composition, and the prestigious Richard Kirk Award from BMI. One of Williams' proudest accomplishments is the 1986 orchestral tour-de-force Gulliver. He spent eight months writing the work, which was recorded by London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with narration by Larry Gelbart (based on Jonathon Swift's writings) read by Sir John Gielgud. For the concert premier, Williams conducted the Yale Philharmonia with Tony Randall narrating.
Critics have also praised Williams' numerous concert-hall works. In addition to An American Concerto, Gulliver, Romances, Earth Day, Adagio, and August, they have included Suite Memories for trombone and symphony orchestra, which won a 1986 GRAMMY; Spring Wings, a double concerto for piano and saxophone and symphony orchestra; Appalachian Morning, recorded by the Boston Pops Orchestra; Memento Mei for solo soprano and orchestra; The Prayer of St. Francis for flute and strings; and others.
Patrick Williams has scored more than 200 films, including Breaking Away, which received a 1978 Oscar nomination; All of Me, Swing Shift, Cuba, Casey's Shadow, and The Grass Harp. For television, his music has graced such classics as Columbo, Lou Grant, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Streets of San Francisco, and The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd. In addition to his 4 Emmys, he has received 23 nominations.
Several of Williams' recordings are considered contemporary big-band classics, including Threshold, which won a 1974 GRAMMY; Too Hip for the Room, a GRAMMY nominee in 1983; Tenth Avenue, a double GRAMMY nominee in 1987; and Sinatraland, a tribute to the singer which was GRAMMY-nominated in 1998. Williams has received 16 GRAMMY nominations for his compositions and arrangements.
Frank Sinatra asked Williams to arrange and conduct his two Duets albums. For clarinetist Eddie Daniels, Williams wrote A Concerto in Swing; for saxophonist Tom Scott, he penned Romances for Jazz Soloist and Orchestra. His Theme For Earth Day was recorded by John Williams and the Boston Pops. And his most recent compositions, Adagio for Orchestra and August are currently being programmed by orchestras in the USA and abroad.
Patrick Williams has also been a leader in the music-education field for many years. He served as the Artistic Director of the Henry Mancini Institute - one of the nation's premier training programs for young musicians seeking professional careers in music - for five years. He has been Visiting Professor and Composer-in-Residence at the University of Utah and the University of Colorado, which awarded him an honorary doctorate. He also holds an honorary doctorate from Duke University and has performed and/or lectured at such other institutions as the Berklee College of Music, Indiana University, Texas Christian University, UCLA, USC, and Yale University.