John Williams was forced to pull out of three performances after hospitalization due to illness. The 86-year old Star Wars composer was scheduled to appear with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall this Friday, October 26th, but he has canceled. Concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on November 3rd and 4th will also be affected. Williams' long-time friend Maestro Dirk Brossé will be conducting the concerts while Williams recovers in the hospital. The Royal Albert Hall had this to say in a statement.
"John is so sorry that an illness prevents him from conducting Friday's concert, and he's grateful to his friend Maestro Dirk Brass for taking the podium in his place. He so wishes he could be with everyone, and the knowledge that 5,000 of his friends will be joining together to celebrate his music is a great comfort to him as he recovers. He wishes everyone a very joyous evening of music."
The illness that John Williams is suffering from has not been made public knowledge as of this writing. Williams is one of the most iconic composers alive today, having scored both Star Wars trilogies as well as the The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Williams also helped score the theme for Solo: A Star Wars Story and is attached to score the upcoming Star Wars 9 as well.
In addition to his work in the Star Wars universe, John Williams has written many other well-known scores. Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones franchise, the first two Home Alone films, Hook, the first two Jurassic Park films, Schindler's List, and the first three Harry Potter movies all contain scores from Williams. His long career started back in the 1950s, when he was known as Johnny Williams.
John Williams has also been recognized for his work a lot over the years, and is the second most-nominated individual in Academy Awards history, just behind Walt Disney. The composer has been nominated 51 times for an Academy Award and has won 5 times. Additionally, Williams has won 24 Grammy Awards, seven British Academy Film Awards, and four Golden Globe Awards. The American Film Institute has named his 1977 Star Wars score "the greatest American film score of all time."
Recently, John Williams announced that he is going to retire from the Star Wars universe after he completes work on J.J. Abrams' Star Wars 9. The composer wants to be able to work on other projects, which is completely understandable. It's amazing that Lucasfilm has worked with the icon as much as they have. As for Disney and Lucasfilm continuing on without him, Williams doesn't seem to mind, stating that "they will probably continue on to do Star Wars for decades. So I think it's all good." You can check out the announcement below, thanks to the Royal Albert Hall Twitter account. In the meantime, let's all wish John Williams a speedy recovery.