Composer Notes /Reviews/Performance History

Cover of Syphony For The Sons of Nam

Composers Notes

Remembering the past can provide images that a composer can best express through music. 

With Symphony For the Sons of Nam, I have formed musical interpretations which reflect my experience as a soldier in Viet Nam. 

Initially written for string quartet, Symphony For the Sons of Nam was expanded to full orchestra in 1992.

The score is broken down into four chapters with individual "events" representing snapshots of my most vivid images from the war. 

In 1986, after marching in the "Chicago Welcome Home Parade" for Viet Nam Veterans, I felt a desire to finally confront the emotions from my own time in Viet Nam. 

Symphony For the Sons of Nam, along with other compositions, is a musical recollection of memories from my service in Viet Nam and represents my personal catharsis. 

Events leading to my arrival in Viet Nam in 1970 and my departure eleven months later are represented here as Chapters 1 and 2. Chapters 3 and 4 are yet to be completed.


"the opening passage is a stirring one ", "with a touch of American Jazz, folk melodies, country music and asiactic themes,
basically seems that you caught all of them"

Studs Terkle 

"the score has an appealing

The Chicago Tribune

"A gifted melodist with great ideas
and a clear sense of what works and what does'nt---
His Symphony has abundant popular appeal"

The Detroit Free Press

"The composer has a superb
ear for instrumental color and orchestration"

American Record Guide

"tuneful music with lots of popular appeal

St Petersburg Times

"immediately accessible"

The Chicago SunTimes

"Williams' classical training and rock music experience are evident in his effective use of rhythm, percussion and instrumental color"

The Lincoln Journal

"impressive talent at work"

The Sacramento Bee

"hansomely balanced and lovely to hear--- the crowd liked it"

The Lincoln Star

"he has a unique gift for composing a modern work that audiences crave to hear again and again"

The Chicago Defender

"has a lack of pretension that sustains interest"

Buffalo News

"His use of the orchestra showed a palate of extrordinary colors"

Northwest Arkansas Times

"His powerful Symphony bristles with bold rhythmic vitality and his treatment of themes seems to reflect influences ranging from native American song to Leonard Bernstein".

The Atlanta Journal

"Williams' orchestration is lavish and his style cinematic. The result is alluring The writing for unusal instruments often produces dramatic,dynamic music. This is vivid, vital music"

The Delaware News Journal

Performance History

Rome Symphony Orchestra, GA. - Jeffrey Dokken, conductor (November 2018)

Vanguard School of The Arts Orchestra - Frank Fyock, conductor (May 2017)
The Chicago Sinfonietta (Chapter II) - Mei-Ann Chen, conductor (June 2015)
Nova Vista Symphony - Anthony Quartuccio, conductor (October 2015)
United States Air Force Band of Flight (Dayton Ohio) Wind Ensemble - Michael Mench, conductor (November 2012)
Denver School of The Arts Orchestra - Frank Fyock, conductor (December 2007)
Denver School of The Arts Orchestra - Frank Fyock, conductor (March 2004)
Charlotte North Carolina Symphony Orchestra - Alan Yamamoto, conductor (January 2004)
Ho Chi Minh City Symphony Orchestra - James McDonald, conductor (September 2001)
The Rockford Symphony Orchestra - Stephen Locke, conductor (March 2001)

The Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra - Stephen Locke, conductor (October 1999)
Lancaster Symphony - Stephen Gunthenhauser, conductor (March 1999)
Philadelphia Orchestra - Andre Smith, conductor (January 1999)
Indianapolis Symphony - Paul Freeman, conductor (February 1998)
Atlanta Symphony - Andre Smith, conductor (January 1998)
Winona Symphony - Paul Vance, conductor (March 1997)
Delaware Symphony Orchestra - Stephen Gunzenhauser, conductor (March 1997)
Chicago Sinfonietta - Paul Freeman, conductor (January 1996)
North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra - Carlton Woods, conductor (March 1995)

Chicago Sinfonietta - Paul Freeman, conductor (November 1994) (revised version)
Sacramento Symphony - Jeremy Swerley, conductor (April 1994)
Lincoln Symphony Orchestra - Yong Yan Hu, conductor (November 1993)
Chicago Sinfonietta - Yong Yan Hu, conductor (April 1993)
Detroit Symphony Orchestra - Leslie Dunner, conductor (April 1993)
Savannah Symphony Orchestra - Phillip Greenberg, conductor (February 1992)

Recorded by the St Petersburg Russian Symphony on the CD titled "Buffalo Soldiers" and released on LBM Records 2006