At 90, John Williams says he may be finished focusing on film music

Legendary composer John Williams appears to be ready to hang up his baton — at least when it comes to film music.

The composer, 90, whose work also extended into TV, having composed various iterations of NBC News‘ “The Mission” theme as well as well-known tracks for the Olympics, is currently working on the latest Indiana Jones film, he told the Associated Press.

“I don’t want to be seen as categorically eliminating any activity,” Williams told the AP in an interview.

He noted that a “Star Wars” film, another franchise he’s well known for, can take about six months of work, which is a significant commitment “at this point in life.”

For now, Williams is focusing more on composing works for concerts. 

Williams wrote “The Mission” for NBC in 1985, though portions of it have been updated multiple times by both Williams and others since then.

The suite has four movements, “The Mission,” which is the foundation to the “NBC Nightly News” and other themes, “Fugue for Changing Times,” which is not actively used, “Scherzo for Today,” the “Today” theme until 1990, and “The Pulse of Events,” which the network uses for “Meet the Press” and in its special reports.


“The Mission” is best known for its fanfare-like signature and sweeping strings, while “Pulse,” is recognizable for its sections that use a repeating signature that’s more subtle and ideal for running under voiceovers or announces. 

Williams’ work for the Olympics is also heard every two years during the summer and winter games and has been included in a long string of coverage in part due to the long-term rights deal the International Olympic Committee has with NBC. 

“Olympic Fanfare and Theme” was originally created in 1984, with “The Olympic Spirit” following in 1988, “Summon the Heroes” created for 1996 and “Call of the Champions” in 2002.

He did not, however, write the official Olympic anthem or “hymn.”