John Williams conducts new Star-Spangled Banner arrangement: video

7 July 2014, 12:13

John Williams has premiered a brand new arrangement of the USA's national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner, at a special 4th of July celebration in Washington.

After a brief spoken introduction by the composer himself, Williams took up the baton and directed the National Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the Joint Armed Forces Chorus and the Choral Arts Society of Washington, as well as some cannon-fire.

It was accompanied by footage of the American flag being raised in times of conflict and seemed to be received rapturously by the assembled crowds. 

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The performance was part of the 'A Capitol Fourth' celebrations of Independence Day, and will be televised in America later in the week.

It's the first major composition or arrangement work that Williams has performed or recorded since last year's Oscar-nominated score for The Book Thief. Williams' next project will be the much-anticipated new score for Star Wars Episode VII.

The American national anthem is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year.