Air and Simple Gifts Now Available Exclusively at iTunes
New John Williams Composition Performed at President Obama's Inauguration by Yo-Yo Ma, Anthony McGill, Gabriela Montero and Itzhak Perlman
Now Available Exclusively at iTunes
"Air and Simple Gifts" is a classical quartet written by American composer John Williams for the January 20, 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States. The piece was first heard by the public in Washington, DC, and on simultaneous broadcasts around the world in a performance by Anthony McGill (clarinet), Itzhak Perlman (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello) and Gabriela Montero (piano). The premiere of Air and Simple Gifts came immediately before the oath of office. Barack Obama officially became the President at noon, as stipulated by the United States Constitution, while the piece was being heard.
John Williams based the piece on the familiar nineteenth-century Shaker hymn Simple Gifts by Joseph Brackett. The source piece is famous for its appearance in Aaron Copland's score for the ballet Appalachian Spring. Williams chose the selection knowing that Copland is one of President Obama's favorite classical composers.
Click to hear an excerpt from “Air and Simple Gifts.”