John Williams, 91, wins his 26th Grammy Award for ‘Indiana Jones’ theme

5 February 2024, 10:47 | Updated: 5 February 2024, 14:16

John Williams, 91, wins his 26th Grammy Award for ‘Indiana Jones’ theme
John Williams, 91, wins his 26th Grammy Award for ‘Indiana Jones’ theme. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

The Grammys honoured film composers John Williams and Ludwig Göransson, and star classical performers Gustavo Dudamel and Yuja Wang.

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At the 66th annual ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday night, John Williams was honoured with his 26th Grammy Award for a theme he wrote for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

‘Helena’s Theme’, which Williams composed to represent Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character in the fifth instalment of the franchise, won the gong for best instrumental composition.

The 91-year-old movie maestro previously described his theme as “lyrical, reminiscent of the ’40s and ’50s and old Hollywood”.

There are two versions of ‘Helena’s Theme’ on the film soundtrack, the second a violin arrangement played by German virtuoso Anne-Sophie Mutter, a close friend and musical collaborator of Williams’.

Steven Spielberg, who directed the first four Indiana Jones films, said recently of his film-making partner Williams: “In the end, I don’t recognise the movies as mine but as ours. Thank you, Johnny. My movies would not be the same without you.”

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Classical music was celebrated throughout the ceremony, with wins for conductors Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Gustavo Dudamel, and pianist Yuja Wang.

Nézet-Séguin earned his fourth Grammy by winning best opera recording for Terence Blanchard’s Champion, the composer and trumpeter’s first opera, about a closeted gay boxer, with the Met Opera. Nézet-Séguin thanked Blanchard in his speech, calling him one of the “voices of our time”.

Film composer Ludwig Göransson won the Best Score award for his soundtrack to the box office hit Oppenheimer.

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Venezuelan maestro Gustavo Dudamel won best orchestral performance for Thomas Adès’ Dante with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he is music director until 2026.

Star pianist Yuja Wang took home the best classical instrumental solo award for The American Project alongside conductor Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra.

Best classical solo vocal album went to first time Grammy winner, soprano Julia Bullock, and the Philharmonia Orchestra under Christian Reif, for Walking in the Dark, and composer Jessie Montgomery won best contemporary classical composition for her work Rounds.