Legendary Composer John Williams to Pay Tribute to National Anthem on PBS' A CAPITOL FOURTH

This Independence Day, PBS' A CAPITOL FOURTH, the all-star salute broadcast live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, will celebrate the 200th anniversary of our National Anthem. Legendary five-time Academy Award-winning and twenty-one-time Grammy Award-winning film composer John Williams will conduct his special new arrangement for orchestra and chorus of "The Star-Spangled Banner" with the National Symphony Orchestra, The Joint Armed Forces Chorus, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets and the Armed Forces Color Guard. Inspired by the sight of the nation's flag waving majestically above Fort McHenry in the early morning of September 14, 1814 following a 25-hour British bombardment, Francis Scott Key wrote the stirring words that would become our national anthem.

"It's a privilege to celebrate the birthday of our National Anthem, which has brought such great strength and inspiration to the American Experience for 200 years," said Williams.

A CAPITOL FOURTH airs on PBS Friday, July 4, 2014 from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. ET before a concert audience of hundreds of thousands, millions more at home, as well as to our troops serving around the world on the American Forces Network. The program can also be heard live over NPR member stations nationwide.

Hosted by two-time Emmy Award-winning television personality Tom Bergeron (DANCING WITH THE STARS), A Capitol Fourth will also feature performances by: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Frankie Valli; Grammy Award-winning music legend Patti LaBelle; platinum recording artist and songwriter Phillip Phillips; multi-platinum recording artist and actress Jordin Sparks; five-time Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Michael McDonald; country music superstar Sara Evans; singer-songwriter Kendall Schmidt from Big Time Rush and HEFFRON DRIVE; and five-time Tony Award nominee and Broadway star Kelli O'Hara; with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly. And, as a special treat for the entire family, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy - stars of the recent release of MUPPETS MOST WANTED - will be on hand to celebrate America's 238th birthday, and performing the Oscar-nominated song "Rainbow Connection" with the National Symphony Orchestra.

In a career spanning five decades, John Williams has become one of America's most accomplished and successful composers for film and for the concert stage, and he remains one of our nation's most distinguished and contributive musical voices. He has composed the music and served as music director for more than one hundred films, including all six STAR WARS films, the first three HARRY POTTER FILMS, SUPERMAN, JFK, FAR AND AWAY, HOME ALONE and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. His 40-year artistic partnership with director Steven Spielberg has resulted in many of Hollywood's most acclaimed and successful films, including SCHINDLER'S LIST, E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, JAWS, JURASSIC PARK, Close Encounters OF THE THIRD KIND, the INDIANA JONES films, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and LINCOLN. In addition to his five Academy Awards, he has also received forty-nine Oscar nominations, making him the Academy's most-nominated living person and the second-most nominated person in the history of the Oscars. Williams also has received seven British Academy Awards (BAFTA), twenty-one Grammys, four Golden Globes, five Emmys, and numerous gold and platinum records.

Capital Concerts is the production force behind two of television's longest-running and highest-rated live programs commemorating America's most important holidays. THE NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT, the nation's tribute to our men and women in uniform, and A CAPITOL FOURTH, our country's biggest birthday party, have become American traditions that have consistently ranked among the highest rated programs on PBS over the past decade. The holiday specials have been honored with over 70 awards including the New York Film Festival Award, the Telly Award, the Golden Cine Award, the Videographer Award, the National Education Association Award, the Aurora Award, the Christopher Award, the Communicator's Award, the AXIEM Award, the Omni Award and the Writer's Guild of America Award.

A CAPITOL FOURTH is made possible by grants from The Boeing Company, the National Park Service, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Department of the Army, PBS and public television stations nationwide. Air travel is provided by American Airlines.

SOURCE Capital Concerts

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