Williams: Damage 'devastating'

Saturday, December 09
LENOX — John Williams, the iconic film-score composer and frequent Tanglewood visitor as conductor of the popular Boston Pops Film night event, said yesterday that he finds the storm damage to parts of the summer music festival campus "just devastating."

"It's hard to imagine a force so powerful," said Williams by phone from the Lenox-area inn where he is spending several weeks composing film scores. Williams compared the impact of the hurricane-force winds that tore through parts of Lenox last Friday night with "General Sherman's march through Georgia" during the Civil War.

Williams, who preceded Keith Lockhart as conductor of the Boston Pops from 1980 to 1996, said he is hoping that a relief effort can be organized to help the Boston Symphony defray the cost of restoring the grounds in time for next summer's music festival.

Damage has been estimated at about $250,000 by BSO officials. Only the reported $100,000 cost of repairing downed power lines is expected to be covered by insurance.

Williams, who returned to the Berkshires earlier this week after attending Sunday's Kennedy Center Awards ceremonies in Washington, indicated that he may participate in whatever relief efforts may be organized.

Williams described this year's honorees as a "particularly strong class" — the group includes his close collaborator, friend and frequent visitor to Tanglewood, film director Steven Spielberg. Others included singer Dolly Parton, conductor Zubin Mehta, musical-theater composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and Motown soul star Smokey Robinson.

The ceremony will be telecast Dec. 26 on CBS.


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