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David Z. Kushner

(b Richmond, VA, 6 Sept 1882; d Richmond, VA, 15 Aug 1963). Pianist and composer.

He attended the University of Virginia (BA 1901) and went on to study in Vienna, where his teachers included Theodor Leschetizky and Karel Navrátil. His early works, among them the Sonata Virginianesque (1906) for violin and piano, and the piano works In the South (1906), At the Fair (1907, a six-movement suite whose first and last movements are titled, respectively, “Hoochie-Coochie Dance” and “Banjo-picker”), and Sonate noble (1908) blend American folk material with traditional contrapuntal techniques, elements that remained important to his compositional style. He made his recital debut in Berlin in 1907 and subsequently performed in Paris, London, and Vienna to great critical acclaim. An interest in and admiration for German culture are manifest in Sonate psychologique (its title was originally in German) completed in ...

Article

Christopher Palmer

revised by Clifford McCarty, Martin Marks and Nathan Platte

(b New York, NY, 4 April 1922; d Ojai, CA, 18 Aug 2004). Composer and conductor. He was trained as a pianist but also studied composition with Israel Citkowitz, Roger Sessions, Ivan Langstroth and Stefan Wolpe. He attended New York University, then enlisted in the Army Air Corps (1942); he arranged and composed music for some 80 programs for the Armed Forces Radio Service and was a concert pianist for three years after his discharge. Norman Corwin then engaged him to score radio drama, which led to composition for films; Bernstein's third film, Sudden Fear (1952), attracted favorable attention. In 1955, despite suffering career difficulties due to McCarthyism (see Marmorstein), he rose to sudden prominence with his score for The Man with the Golden Arm. In this, as in several scores that followed (e.g. Walk on the Wild Side, 1962), he effectively blended jazz into a modern symphonic idiom to suit gritty stories and contemporary settings. He subsequently became known for his rousing scores for westerns and action films (notably ...

Article

Kate Daubney

(b New York, NY, 21 Nov 1896; d Beverly Hills, CA, 24 May 1960). Composer, arranger, orchestrator, and conductor. He studied the piano with Maurice Gould and Jeanne Franco and composition and orchestration with Frank Saddler. During the 1920s he worked as an arranger for Broadway musicals, including The Girlfriend, Manhattan Mary, and the Ziegfeld Follies of 1920 and 1921. He also wrote songs for the 1922 musical Glory. He established the De PackhEnsemble, which he conducted between 1928 and 1931, then in 1933 he went to Hollywood as an arranger and orchestrator. He worked first for MGM and smaller studios on films such as The Dancing Lady (1933) and Rip Tide (1934). He was also one of the team of five principal orchestrators who assisted composer Max Steiner with Gone with the Wind (1939), a score that exemplifies the richness of orchestral timbre and complexity of arrangement that were hallmarks of film music of the time. In the early 1940s he moved to Twentieth Century Fox, where he worked on a number of Betty Grable musicals, including ...

Article

Martin Marks

[Jerrald]

(b Los Angeles, CA, 10 Feb 1929; d Beverly Hills, CA, 21 July 2004). Composer and conductor. In the 1940s he studied the piano with Jakob Gimpel and theory and composition with Castelnuovo-Tedesco; he also attended Los Angeles City College, as well as Rózsa’s classes at the University of Southern California. In the 1950s he worked primarily for CBS, composing and conducting music first for radio, then for television. His television credits include numerous scores for such live dramatic programs as Climax! and Playhouse 90, as well as for episodes of long-running series such as Gunsmoke and The Twilight Zone. Although he continued to write for television with some frequency during the 1960s and 70s, after 1962 he mostly scored feature films. Over four decades he completed scores for more than 160 films and collaborated repeatedly with directors including Schaffner, Ridley Scott, Dante, Verhoeven and Schepisi. He worked closely with two outstanding orchestrators, Arthur Morton and Alexander Courage....

Article

James Wierzbicki

(Warren)

(b Cambridge, MA, 27 March 1920; D New York, 5 February 2014).. Conductor, arranger, harmonica player, and composer. He began his professional career in 1938 as a performer and arranger with the Borrah Minevitch Harmonica Rascals. His arrangements for this ensemble brought him to the attention of commercial musicians, and within a few years he was working as an orchestrator for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios on musical films that included Girl Crazy, Meet me in St. Louis, and As Thousands Cheer. After returning to Boston, where he was music director of the Vaughn Monroe Orchestra in the late 1940s, Hayman was named principal arranger for the Boston Pops Orchestra in 1950. In the decades that followed he served as music director for numerous leading entertainers, including Bob Hope, Johnny Cash, Red Skelton, Johnny Carson, Andy Williams, Pat Boone, Olivia Newton-John, and Bobby Vinton. His tune “Ruby” (from the soundtrack for the film ...

Article

David Cooper

(b New York, NY, 29 June 1911; d Los Angeles, CA, 24 Dec 1975). Composer and conductor. In 1929, while still a student at DeWitt Clinton High School, he enrolled for classes in composition and conducting at New York University. The subsequent year he followed his conducting teacher Albert Stoessel to the Juilliard School of Music, where he was taught composition by the Dutch émigré Bernard Wagenaar. He left the Juilliard School after less than two years, apparently because he found the institution too conservative, and returned informally to New York University during the academic year 1932–3 to attend a course in composition and orchestration given by Percy Grainger. Grainger's eclectic approach revealed to Herrmann the range and diversity of the musical materials available to the contemporary composer. Early in 1933 he formed the New Chamber Orchestra from a group of unemployed musicians as a vehicle for his talents as both conductor and composer. The orchestra's repertory brought together contemporary compositions (including those of Charles Ives, with whom Herrmann formed a lasting friendship) and works by English composers such as Henry Purcell and Edward Elgar, symptomatic of his anglophile tendencies....

Article

Mark Brill

(b Paris, France, 24 Feb 1932; d Paris, France, 26 Jan 2019). French composer, pianist, and arranger, son of the composer Raymond Legrand (b 1908) and brother of the singer Christiane Legrand (b 1930). A musical prodigy he enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 11. He attended from 1943 to 1950, studied conducting with Nadia Boulanger and harmony with Henri Chaland, and graduated as a first-prize winner in composition. A Dizzy Gillespie concert in Paris in 1947 awakened his passion for jazz. In the 1950s he became a popular bandleader, singer, and songwriter, and wrote and conducted ballets for Roland Petit. In 1954 he became the bandleader and conductor for Maurice Chevalier and traveled with him to New York. That same year he recorded the album I Love Paris. In the late 1950s his arrangements for the album Legrand Jazz (...

Article

Jon Pareles and Jennifer Matthews

[Randall Stuart]

(b Los Angeles, CA, 28 Nov 1943). Popular singer, songwriter, and pianist. He was born into a musical family: three of his uncles, Alfred, Lionel, and Emil, composed and conducted film scores in Hollywood (see Alfred Newman and Lionel Newman). His family lived in various Southern cities, then, when Newman was seven, they settled in Los Angeles where he began to take piano lessons. He had begun writing songs by the age of 15 and while still in high school he was hired by Metric Music in California as a staff songwriter for a salary of $50 a week. Newman attended UCLA, where he studied music composition but left before completing his degree.

While at Metric, Newman wrote songs that were performed by many artists including the Fleetwoods, Gene McDaniels, and the O’Jays. One of his first songs to be widely recognized is “I think it's going to rain today,” recorded by Judy Collins in ...

Article

Clifford McCarty and David Neumeyer

(b Chester, PA, 4 Dec 1910; d Los Angeles, CA, 8 Sept 1991). Composer and conductor.

After attending the Curtis Institute, where he studied the piano with George Frederick Boyle, he won a scholarship (1929) to the Juilliard School. He also studied on scholarship at the Moscow Conservatory (from 1933) and went on to serve as music director of the German Theatre Group and the Latvian State Theatre. He was the only American member of the Union of Soviet Composers, from which he received commissions for two choruses and a set of piano variations. In 1935 he returned to the United States and taught music for dance at Finch, Briarcliff, Sarah Lawrence, and Bennington colleges. In New York he studied composition with Aaron Copland and Ernst Toch and composed ballet scores for Martha Graham, Hanya Holm, and Agnes De Mille. In 1939 he went to Mexico as music director for Anna Sokolow's dance troupe, and while there he studied with ...

Article

Martin Marks

(b Philadelphia, PA, 4 Aug 1912; d Los Angeles, CA, 9 Aug 2004). Composer, arranger, conductor, and author.

He first learned about music from his father, who conducted an orchestra for silent films. While at school he studied several instruments and played professionally in dance bands; at the University of Pennsylvania he studied composition with Harl McDonald and developed a strong interest in jazz. He went to New York (1934), studied privately with Isadore Freed, and continued to play and arrange for bands; his arrangement of “I got rhythm” impressed Gershwin and won him a position as an arranger at Harms/Chappell.

In 1935 Raksin went to Hollywood to work with Charlie Chaplin on the music for Modern Times. This collaboration yielded one of the most effective original scores ever written for a silent film. He also met Alfred Newman, who nurtured his career as a film composer. Raksin settled permanently in Los Angeles in ...