John McLaughlin Williams is a Grammy award-winning American orchestral conductor and violinist.
He attended the Boston University School of Music, the New England Conservatory and is a graduate of The Cleveland Institute of Music. His violin studies were with Dorothy DeLay, conducting with Carl Topilow and composition with Donald Erb and Margaret Brouwer. A relative newcomer to conducting, he has appeared as a guest conductor with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and many other ensembles, but at present he holds no permanent post. He has recorded several CDs for the Naxos Records label, all in their American Classics series, where he has shown a remarkable ability to uncover lost gems by American composers of the first half of the 20th century (such as Henry Hadley and John Alden Carpenter), and bring them vividly to life with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and the National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. The resurgence of interest in western American composer George Frederick McKay (1899-1970) can be attributed to William's pioneering Naxos recordings of McKay's music. As a violinist, he has appeared as soloist around the United States and was an active free-lancer in the Boston area, where he was assistant concertmaster of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra and played as a substitute with the Boston Symphony. Williams was also a member of the Houston Symphony, and was concertmaster of the Virginia Symphony. He was awarded a Grammy in 2007 for his recording of Olivier Messiaen's Oiseaux Exotiques, in which he conducted the Cleveland Chamber Symphony with pianist Angelin Chang, who also received a Grammy. Williams has received a total of four Grammy nominations, the most recent being awarded in 2010 and 2008. Williams has also served as assistant conductor of the Britt Festival in Oregon. His first solo violin recording will be released in 2016. It contains the complete violin music of Karl Weigl, and will appear on the prize-winning Sono Luminus label.