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Boston Pops conductor seeks Parton

By ANDY DABILIS

BOSTON -- John Williams says his only regret during the past two years as conductor of the Boston Pops is that he hasn't been able to get Dolly Parton out on the stage. But he now has two more years to try.

The Pops announced Monday that Williams, 49, has renewed his contract with the century-old orchestra for an additional two seasons.

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'After that, we'll see. But right now I'm very pleased,' he said.

Terms of the agreement were not announced.

Williams, best known for his musical scores for hit movies such as 'Star Wars' and 'Jaws,' took over the Pops in January 1980, soon after the death of the legendary Arthur Fiedler. The 'Maestro' led the Pops through 50 years of concerts at Symphony Hall and on the banks of the Charles River.

The contract renewal came amidst speculation the New York-born conductor -- who has notched 15 Academy Award nominations, winning three, and logged 10 Grammies -- would leave to devote more time to the film scores which made him famous.

In his first two years with the Pops, Williams has added a number of new works to the 12-week summer schedule and to the cherished Christmas specials. He has also attracted a string of famous guest performers, such as world-famed violinist Itzhak Perlman.

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But there has been one disappointment for Williams:

'We haven't been able to get Dolly Parton,' he said of the buxom country singer.

Williams said he has dreams of leading the 103-piece orchestra in a film score, although he admits that's something of a challenge because of scheduling.

Pops backup conductor Harry Ellis Dickson said Williams has won the respect of the entire orchestra. 'There's never been an ovation as there was when it was announced John was staying,' he said.

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