Sicklist: John Williams cancels the Vienna Philharmonic

Sicklist: John Williams cancels the Vienna Philharmonic


norman lebrecht

October 25, 2018

The film composer John Williams has called off two concerts conducting the Vienna Philharmonic on November 3 and 4 for reasons of ill health. Williams is 86.

The concerts have been cancelled altogether and ticket holders are being refunded.

There’s only one John Williams?

UPDATE: Apparently not. The London Symphony Orchestra are going ahead with his concert at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday with Dirk Brossé conducting highlights from Williams’s soundtracks.



  • Brian says:

    “There’s only one John Williams.”

    Not quite. Ever seen “Dial M for Murder”? Another great John Williams played Chief Inspector Hubbard!

  • Nessie1 says:

    Well actually there’s the guitarist (hope the composer/conductor gets better soon though!)

  • Alan says:

    A lot of very unhappy people on the Vienna Phil’s social media accounts. People travelling from afar and spending a lot of money and now no concert. Made worse by the fact that the London one is going ahead. I very nearly made plans to travel from Dublin. Would have been put out with Williams not there but illness is illness. But to cancel altogether would ave left me raging!

    • operacentric says:

      Last I saw on LSO website, London is on but not with JW who was in hospital.

      • Una says:

        Well, London has a wealth of talented people who could take over and keep the concert going. Very rarely would something get cancelled in London like that in Vienna or any major British city as the show must simply go on. There is a paying audience to consider as well as everything else.

  • aj says:

    One can only wish him a quick return to good health,
    were the concerts to feature his work ?

  • Ben says:

    Vienna audience’s big loss. Hope he feels better soon. Fantastic musician yet humble and friendly. Very hard to imagine a man of his achievements is so approachable, when I got lucky to meet him backstage an year+ ago in Philly.

    P.S. His Vienna date shows his tremendous respect to the orchestra (even if it’s cancelled): He rarely conducts an whole concert for years. Not at LA, Philly, Boston nor Tanglewood.

    • Paul says:

      He conducted an entire concert with the Cleveland Orchestra last year. It was one of
      the best received concerts in the last five years.

  • MacroV says:

    I’m a great admirer of John Williams, but I’m surprised – and actually rather impressed – that the august Weiner Philharmoniker was going to do a subscription program of Williams’ film music, in the hallowed Musikverein, no less. Might have been a nice touch if he’d included some film music from another son of Vienna – Korngold.

  • Hector Berlioz says:

    Who cares? Is John Williams such a big deal as a conductor. Anyway he wrote some excellent filmscores….