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Julius P. Williams, Jr.

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Information about Julius P. Williams, Jr.

Profile image of Julius P. Williams, Jr.

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Music Professor
Conductor
Music Composer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Red
Favorite Food:
Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Europe, Aruba
Favorite Quote:
I'm a Black man with dreams and aspirations.

Birthplace

Born:
6/22/1954
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Music Professor
Conductor
Music Composer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Red
Favorite Food:
Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Europe, Aruba
Favorite Quote:
I'm a Black man with dreams and aspirations.

Birthplace

Born:
6/22/1954
Birth Location:
New York
See how Julius P. Williams, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Julius P. Williams is a nationally and internationally known conductor and a professor of composition and conducting at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. A prolific composer, Williams has penned operas and works for orchestras and chamber ensembles and for dance, chorus, musical theatre and film. While he is a classical pianist and composer-conductor, Williams is also a master of jazz, gospel and popular music forms.

Williams was born in Bronx, New York on June 22, 1954. He started playing the drums at age eight, but when his parents begged him to choose another instrument he took up the piano instead. Other instruments, like violin, flute, clarinet, and organ soon followed. He attended public schools in New York City, including the High School for the Performing Arts, from which he graduated in 1972. It was in high school that his musical career blossomed as he took part in the All-City Concert Choir program and studied under masters like jazz drummer Max Roach and French composer-conductor Pierre Boulez. By age 20, he was playing keyboards on tour with the pop group The 5th Dimension.

Williams earned his B.S. degree in music from Herbert Lehman College in 1977 and his M.M.E. degree from the Hartt School of Music. He studied composition with African American musical giants Ulysses Kay and Coleridge Taylor Perkinson. In 1978, he attended the Aspen Music School in Colorado and composed scores for musical theatre productions for the Henry Street Settlement for the Arts in New York.

Williams has conducting experience at venues throughout the United States and the world. While he was music director and conductor of the Washington Symphony Orchestra, he conducted performances at foreign embassies, the National Cathedral and the White House. He opened the 20th annual Tri-C JazzFest in Cleveland by conducting a performance of Duke Ellington's Sacred Music. He debuted at Carnegie Hall when he conducted the inaugural concerts of the Symphony Saint Paulia.

His compositions, which include In Memoriam, September 11, 2001, have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony. Williams, who was once profiled nationally on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt, is also an accomplished music educator, well-regarded for his informal teaching method. He also co-founded VIDEMUS, a non-profit group which produces and releases the music of under-represented artists and composers.

Williams and his wife Lenora Williams, a doctor, live in Ellington, Connecticut with their three children.

See how Julius P. Williams, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Julius Williams interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Julius Williams lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Julius Williams talks about his mother and maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Julius Williams discusses his father and his parents' views on his being a musician
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Julius Williams shares stories of his father's upbringing in Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Julius Williams talks about his brother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Julius Williams talks about his earliest memories and his religious upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Julius Williams recalls his elementary school education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Julius Williams reflects on his childhood growing up in Queens, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Julius Williams recalls his early family life in Queens, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Julius Williams reflects on his first exposure to music and his junior high school experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Julius Williams talks about his boyhood influences in music
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Julius Williams discusses his early musical gigs while in high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Julius Williams recalls his high school experiences in Queens, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Julius Williams talks about the sights, smells and sounds of his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Julius Williams talks about entering college and the teachers that influenced him
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Julius Williams talks about his music mentors in college
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Julius Williams discusses his marriage and post-graduate studies
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Julius Williams details his music conducting experiences in Aspen, Colorado
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Julius Williams details what it takes to be a music conductor
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Julius Williams talks about where he's conducted and where his music was performed
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Julius Williams discusses music arrangement and conducting Duke Ellington's Sacred Service in 1999
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Julius Williams talks about his CD 'Symphonic Brotherhood' featuring African American symphonic music
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Julius Williams discusses the music organization VIDEMUS
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Julius Williams talks about his teaching positions and other highlights in his music career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Julius Williams discusses his current career interests in the Boston area
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Julius Williams talks about his children and their interests
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Julius Williams reflects on the difficulties of being a symphonic conductor
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Julius Williams talks about film scores he's written and awards he's won
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Julius Williams reflects on his life and advice to African American youth
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Julius Williams considers his artistic goals for future work
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Julius Williams hopes for greater unity in the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Julius Williams considers his values and how he hopes to be remembered