Skip to main content

Williams, Julius, 1986 January 28 - 1987 March 3

 Item — Multiple Containers

Scope and Contents

Composer and conductor Julius Williams delivered lectures on 1/28/1986 (2015-0002/RR297) and 3/3/1987 (2015-0002/RR298). Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Lehman College, a master’s degree from the Hartt School of Music, and then went on to study orchestral conducting and composition at the Aspen School of Music in 1984. Since 1998, Williams has been on faculty at the Berklee School of Music where he teaches conducting and composition. He has held positions at Wesleyan University, The University of Hartford, and The University of Vermont. Williams has had visiting appoints at numerous colleges and universities throughout the US and abroad.

In addition to his dedicated career as an educator, Williams has also had an active conducting and composition career as well. Williams has conducted orchestras in Dallas, New Haven, Savannah, Hartford, Sacramento, Tulsa, Knoxville, Oklahoma, Vermont, Akron, Paducah, Norwalk, Wooster, Oberlin, Cleveland, Washington DC, Boston, and New York City. Williams serves as a cover conductor to the Boston Pops Orchestra as well as the Rhode Island Philharmonic. He has also performed and recorded with various orchestras in eastern-Europe.

In regard to his compositions, Williams has created pieces for opera, ballet, orchestra, chamber ensembles, chorus and solo voice, dance, musical theatre, and film. Although many orchestras have performed his works, the most notable was the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Zubin Mehta which premiered Williams’ piece, Norman Overture.

RR 297 Introduced by Leon Bailey, Mr. Williams begins with the statement that his whole being has been in the arts in some form or fashion. His talk continues on with examples from his life that support his opening statement.

RR 298 After a few announcements, Professor Leon Bailey introduces conductor/composer Julius Williams. Mr. Williams speaks a little about his background and his career, both classical and popular.


  • Creation: 1986 January 28 - 1987 March 3

Conditions Governing Access

Links to digitized content are included in the finding aid.

Biographical / Historical

Julius Penson Williams, born on June 22, 1954 (Bronx, NY), began playing drums at age eight, then picked up other instruments such as the piano. Williams was educated in the New York public school system and graduated in 1972 from Andrew Jackson High School, a performing arts school in Queens, New York. Williams attended Herbert Lehman College and Hartt School of Music where he received his, B.S. and M.M.E. respectively. He has an honorary doctorate from Keene State College in New Hampshire. While in Colorado, Williams studied orchestral conducting and composition at the Aspen Music School in 1984.

Williams is a frequent guest conductor, and has had several artist-in-residencies and teaching positions. He has received a number of awards for his music. He has studied, performed and taught abroad in countries such as Russia and China. Williams has written articles, edited an anthology, and submitted writings to journals on the music of African Americans. He is a Professor of Composition and Artistic Director of The Berklee Contemporary Symphony at Berklee College of Music. He teaches composition, conducting, theory, and also runs the Berklee International Composers Institute. He is also the conductor of the Great American Songbook Orchestra. In 2019, he was composer in residence for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He was the Music Director/Conductor of Trilogy: An Opera Company starting in 2009 and for ten seasons, was the Artistic Director of the New York State Summer School of the Arts.

An author of both instrumental and vocal music, Williams has served as the president of the International Conductors Guild (2019-2021), composed operas, symphonies, and chorus works for stage, concert hall, film, and television. Primarily a classically trained musician,Williams also writes in genres including gospel, jazz, and other contemporary forms.

Julius P. Williams is the recipient of awards for musical and academic achievement including Finalist for American Prize for Professional Orchestra conducting and The American Prize in Composition, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Keene State College in New Hampshire , The Detroit Symphony “Emerging Composer Award”, The Gracie Allen Documentary Award, The Distinguished Medal of Artistic Achievement of the Ecuador Youth Symphony Orchestra Foundation, The Honorary Distinguished Alumnus Award of Langston University, Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award 2017, The National Culture of the Arts Award of the Association of Foreign Language Teachers of New York, he has also received ASCAP Awards in Composition for the past forty years. Julius P. Williams has been featured on National Television as a feature artist profiled on CBS News Sunday Morning.

[ /]


2 Reels (Magnetic tape audio recordings ) : RR 297 1 reel, Side A-0:48:32, Side B-0:23:57; tape speed 3¾ IPS; track position ½-Track Mono; Substrate: Polyester. The recordings were combined for ease of listening. The combined run time of the digital recording is 1:12:24. RR 298 1 reel, 1:13:11; tape speed 3¾ IPS; track position ½-Track Mono; Substrate: Polyester.

Language of Materials

From the Series: English