The Usual Suspects

Gio Washington-Wright's Top L.A. Studio Musicians Tribute Site


Photo Credit: Dan Goldwasser / scoringsessions.com
Donald J. Williams’ vast and varied career as a percussionist, composer, orchestrator and conductor spans popular and classical music while advancing musical education in both America and Europe.  His creative work has appeared on thousands of film and television soundtracks and popular music and original cast albums over the past four decades.  In fact, he’s been a part of the majority of the world’s biggest movies over the past  He has also performed with more than 45 different Broadway productions while also serving as a special instructor for prestigious universities.
 
A native of Los Angeles, Williams grew up in the suburban San Fernando Valley in a musical family that included his brothers John and Jerry and sister Joan. After graduating from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Williams attended the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia under a scholarship.  Studying with percussion teachers such as Fred Hinger and Gerry Carlyss, he also worked with Alan Abel and Billy Dorn to hone his skills.  Returning home to L.A. he continued his studies with noted TV composer Albert Harris, which led to work on stage, episodic television and major motion pictures, plus commercial jingles and other special media projects.  Williams has toured or recorded with Bob Hope, Tom Jones, The Supremes, Diana Ross, Sammy Davis Jr., Burt Bacharach and many other stars.
 
His impressive output in films includes “E.T,” the “Indiana Jones” film series, “Jurassic Park, “Close Encounters of a Third Kind” (in fact, in all Stephen Spielberg movies)  as well as other box office giants. He’s added his distinct musical accents to a vast array of animated releases in both film and television, including the acclaimed Batman animated series of the ‘90s and contributions to Disney projects.  His television credits are also staggering, with shows such as the Emmy-winning “Roots,” “Fantasy Island,” and “Lois & Clark” among the programs to which he’s brought his special touch. On Broadway, Williams’ extensive credits include smash stage shows such as “Cats,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Evita,” “A Chorus Line,” and many more.  
 
He’s also no stranger to the richly evocative world of classical music, including time spent with the Philadelphia Lyric Opera and Pennsylvania Ballet Company and for the past 30 years, he’s appeared with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Pasadena Symphony and Pacific Symphony.  He has also performed for the Kirov Ballet, Moscow Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre. Williams’ achievements also include conducting symphony orchestras in Europe, orchestration for Disney theme parks in California and Florida.
 
A ground-breaking educator as well, Williams has also taught at universities from Europe to his hometown of Los Angeles, while also providing private instruction to individuals and ensembles.   At the Henry Mancini Institute in Los Angeles, he’s guided a landmark Studio Film Scoring/Recording Clinic that actually includes hands-on studio sessions, offering students new insights into that experience.
 
Williams’ remarkable ability to adapt to all musical genres and media formats through both recorded and live performances have not merely made him an extraordinary in-demand talent, but also an encouraging mentor to younger musicians – a man who celebrates diversity and relishes sharing that gift with future generations.

 

2012     Men in Black 3 [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     Danny Elfman     Percussion
2012     The Amazing Spider-Man [Music from the Motion Picture]     James Horner     Timpani
2012     John Carter     Michael Giacchino     Timpani
2011     The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn [Music from the Motion Picture] Percussion
2011     War Horse [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]         Percussion
2009     Avatar     James Horner     Timpani
2009     Fast & Furious [Original Motion Picture Score]     Brian Tyler     Percussion
2009     Year One [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     Theodore Shapiro     Percussion
2008     Indiana Jones: The Complete Soundtracks Collection     John Williams     Xylophone
2008     The Curious Case of Benjamin Button [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     Timpani
2007     Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     Timpani
2007     Bridge to Terabithia         Percussion
2006     American Dreamz     Stephen Trask     Percussion
2006     Flags of our Fathers [Soundtrack]     Clint Eastwood     Percussion
2006     The Nativity Story [Original Motion Picture Score]     Mychael Danna     Percussion
2005     Dreamer [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     John Debney     Percussion
2005     King Kong [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]         Percussion
2005     Munich [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     John Williams     Timpani
2005     The Legend of Zorro [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     James Horner     Percussion
2005     Constantine [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     Brian Tyler     Percussion
2005     Dark Water [Original Score]     Angelo Badalamenti     Percussion
2005     Dreamer [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     John Debney     Percussion
2005     Elektra [Original Motion Picture Score]     Christophe Beck     Group Member, Percussion
2005     Fantastic 4 [Original Motion Picture Score]     John Ottman     Timpani
2005     Meet the Fockers [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     Randy Newman     Percussion
2005     Robots [Original Score]     John Powell     Percussion
2005     Timeline: Music Inspired by the Film     Jerry Goldsmith     Percussion
2005     War of the Worlds [Music from the Motion Picture]         Percussion
2004     Flight of the Phoenix [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     Marco Beltrami     Percussion
2004     The Terminal [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]         Percussion
2003     Elf [Original Motion Picture Score]     John Debney     Percussion
2003     Looney Tunes: Back in Action [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     Jerry Goldsmith     Percussion
2003     Peter Pan [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     James Newton Howard     Percussion
2002     Dragonfly [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     John Debney     Percussion
2002     Panic Room [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     Howard Shore     Percussion
2000     Diamonds [1999]     Joel Goldsmith     Orchestration, Percussion, Producer
1992     Grand Canyon [Original Soundtrack]     James Newton Howard     Percussion
1989     Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]     Xylophone
             People Like Us         Percussion

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