Patrick Williams


Remarks from Dan Foliart’s introduction of Patrick Williams in the 2010 Ambassador Induction Ceremony.

When the name Pat Williams is mentioned, depending on whom you ask, you might get. Did you ever hear that great album Pat produced with Patti Austin, For Ella? Those charts he wrote and conducted and the song he wrote with Arthur Hamilton are absolutely amazing, and it was nominated in the Grammys for best jazz vocal album. If you ask someone else you might hear about his classic work in television and film that continues to this day. Someone else would point you toward his work for symphonic orchestra and yet another would talk about his work with the Mancini Institute. This only goes to say that there is no more talented or more versatile composer working in our profession today than Pat Williams.

I remember when I was first learning my craft (now this was before video cassettes were around). I would put the mic in front of the TV and record some of my favorite scores to analyze later. Without exception, Pat would deliver exceptional scores week after week for Newhart, the Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Streets of San Francisco. I learned so much about his unique and always well crafted approach to writing for television. Pat has scored countless episodes of television and television movies including themes to The Streets of San Francisco, Lou Grant, and The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd among many others. He has received an unprecedented twenty-two Emmy nominations. Samplings of his television movies include Hercules, The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story, When Angels Come To Town and Finding John Christmas starring Peter Falk.

When asked what some of my favorite scored scenes for motion pictures are, I always include the wonderful sailing sequence from Violets are Blue. His handling of the moment, catching the movement of the boats and the melody he incorporated is something that I’ve carried with me through the years. Pat has composed the scores for over sixty-five feature films including; That Old Feeling starring Bette Midler; The Grass Harp with Walter Matthau, and Jack Lemmon, All of Me with Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin; Swing Shift with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell and It’s My Turn starring Michael Douglas.

We just learned that the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has once again honored Pat with his sixteenth and seventeenth GRAMMY NOMINATIONS for Best instrumental composition and best instrumental arrangement from the album entitled Sidney Kimmel presents Patrick Williams, the Big Band, Aurora with soloists Eddie Daniels, Hubert Laws, Arturo Sandoval and Tom Scott. Frank Sinatra chose Pat to act as Musical Director/Arranger-Conductor for his final studio recordings, Duets and Duets II, which sold over six million copies. Among the singers or musicians for whom he has arranged for include Paul Anka, Natalie Cole, Neil Diamond, Gloria Estefan, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Billy Joel, Monica Mancini, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Brian Setzer, Sue Raney and Barbra Streisand.

Some of Pat’s big band recordings are considered classics of contemporary big band instrumentals, such as Threshold for which he received a GRAMMY in 1974; Too Hip for the Room, which received a GRAMMY nomination in 1983; Tenth Avenue which received a GRAMMY nomination in 1987 and Sinatraland, a big band tribute to Frank Sinatra for which he received a GRAMMY nomination in 1998. In 2006, he received two GRAMMY nominations for the album Elevation with Tom Scott and Eddie Daniels.

A command of the symphony orchestra as well as jazz bands has offered Pat an opportunity to create a wide variety of works. Among his critically acclaimed compositions are An American Concerto, a piece featuring a jazz quartet and symphony orchestra, for which he received a 1977 Pulitzer Prize nomination and Gulliver, featuring a symphony orchestra with narrator, for which he received a GRAMMY.

From 2001 through 2006 Pat served as Artistic Director for the Henry Mancini Institute. He helped to set composers and musicians on the right path as he ably guided this program. He has been a much sought after lecturer and composer-in residence throughout the country. He is the recipient of the prestigious Richard Kirk Award from BMI, ASMAC’s Golden Score Award and has been bestowed an honorary doctorate in fine arts from his alma mater, Duke University .We are most proud to have him as one of our advisory board members here in the SCL. We’re pleased to recognize Pat with our 2010 SCL Ambassador Award.