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Article

Christopher Palmer and Sergio Miceli

(Alexandrovich)

(b St Petersburg, Russia, 16/29 Oct 1901; d Rome, Italy, 7 June 1983). Italian composer and conductor of Russian origin. A grandson of the composer Nikolay Sokolov and a brother of the cellist Massimo Amfitheatrof, he studied with Vītols in St. Petersburg and Křička in Prague, but the greater part of his training was undertaken in Rome, where he studied composition with Respighi at the Conservatorio di S Cecilia (diploma 1924) and the organ at the Pontifical Academy of Sacred Music. He was engaged as a pianist, organist, and chorus assistant at the Augusteo (1924–9), also conducting the orchestra under Molinari's supervision. Thereafter he was artistic director of the Genoa and Trieste radio stations and conductor and manager for Italian radio in Turin; he also conducted elsewhere in Europe. In 1937 he went to the United States as associate conductor of the Minneapolis SO, and in ...

Article

Mark Brill

(Alexis)

(b Lyons, France, 13 Sept 1924; d Malibu, CA, 28 March 2009). French composer. He studied engineering at the University of Lyons and at the Sorbonne, then attended the Paris Conservatoire, studying percussion with Passerone and composition with Honegger and Joseph Martenot, inventor of the ondes martenot. He served in the army during World War II, and in the late 1940s played percussion in the navy band, with the Orchestre Radio-Symphonique, and with the Compagnie Renaud-Barrault, where he became friends with Boulez and Delerue. When Jean Vilar became director of the Théâtre National Populaire, he made Jarre his musical director, resident composer, and conductor. In 1952 Georges Franju asked him to write the score for Hôtel des invalides. The film went on to become a minor classic, and Jarre turned henceforth almost exclusively to film music, writing scores for many French directors, including Jacques Demy, Alain Resnais, and Jean-Paul Rappeneau. His score for ...

Article

Leonidas Economou

(b Trikala, Greece, April 7, 1922; d Athens, Greece, April 8, 1990). Greek composer and lyricist. He was of middle-class origin and finished high school in 1941. He became fascinated with rebetiko and the music of the refugees from Asia Minor, and he was also influenced by religious Byzantine and folk music. From 1941 until 1947 he worked as a bouzouki player in taverns and nightclubs in Trikala and especially Thessaloniki. He was lauded for his first recorded compositions, made in 1947 and including the emblematic laïko song Nychtose choris fengari (‘The Night Fell with No Moon’), which were invested with various social and political meanings as a result of the civil war. In the following years he cooperated with several important laïko creators, and had dozens of hits in the late rebetiko style with singers like Haskil, Tsaousakis, and Bellou, and in grieving or Indian style with singers like Kazantzidis, Gavalas, Angelopoulos, Menidiatis, and Lydia. From ...

Article

Christopher Palmer and Randall D. Larson

[Bronislau]

(b Warsaw, Poland, 5 Feb 1902; d Los Angeles, CA, 26 April 1983). Composer of Polish birth. He was educated at the Warsaw Conservatory and was active as composer and pianist in Warsaw, Berlin, Vienna, London, and Paris before settling in Hollywood and joining the staff of MGM in 1940. He was one of a number of versatile musicians of European origin and orientation who helped to create Hollywood music. He composed a number of popular songs besides his articulate and closely knit film scores. His best work dates from the 1960s: Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) and Lord Jim (1965) reveal a pronounced flair for musical depiction of the sea and tropical landscapes. Kaper's theme from Green Dolphin Street (1947) became popularized when recorded in a jazz idiom by Miles Davis; his theme for Invitation (1952) was also widely recorded. Kaper's dramatic score for the science fiction film ...

Article

Claire Levy

(b Yambol, 30 March 1933; d Plovdiv, 12 April 2014). Bulgarian composer and music educator, famous for his work in different genres but mostly for his distinctive contribution to the field of film music. He graduated from the Bulgarian State Conservatory in 1961 under Pancho Vladigerov (composition) and Assen Dimitrov (conducting). Author of the music for over 120 cartoons and more than 40 feature films, Karadimchev also wrote songs for rock bands, marked usually by laconic yet highly attractive melodic lines. His lyrical Byala tishina (‘White Silence’), performed by Georgi Minchev and The Shturtzite, made a particular breakthrough for Bulgarian rock music on the national level by winning the first prize at The Golden Orpheus Pop Music Festival in 1967. And his close collaboration with The Tangra in the early 1980s developed ‘the melodic style of rock’ in songs such as Bogatstvo (‘Fortune’) and Nashiat grad (‘Our Town’). Some of his title songs written for movies such as the ...

Article

(b Milwaukee, WI, 5 April 1899; d Baden-Baden, Germany, 3 Jan 1980). German composer of American birth, son of Hugo Kaun. Largely self-taught as a composer, he was tutored by his father, and studied violin and piano while attending Gymnasium in Berlin. During World War I he served in the German army, playing clarinet in a military band. After the war he arranged and conducted for RCA Victor in Berlin for several years. In 1924 he moved to the United States, where he worked as a music copyist in New York, conducted at the Alhambra Theater, Milwaukee (1924), and taught at the Eastman School of Music (1925–8). Recognized particularly for his orchestrations, he arranged music from Richard Wagner's music dramas for the New York release of Fritz Lang's film Siegfried and orchestrated Howard Hanson's Legend of Beowulf and Organ Concerto.

In 1930 Kaun was invited to Hollywood by Heinz Roemheld, music director of Universal Studios. Over the following decade he worked for both Warner Bros. and Paramount, composing music for over 170 films; his first assignments included the first full-length score for a sound film (...

Article

Brendan G. Carroll

(b Brno, Moravia [now Czech Republic], 29 May 1897; d Hollywood, CA, 29 Nov 1957). Austrian composer. The second son of the eminent music critic Julius Korngold (1860–1945), he was a remarkable child prodigy composer. In 1906 he played his cantata Gold to Gustav Mahler, who pronounced him a genius and recommended that he be sent to Zemlinsky for tuition. At age 11 he composed the ballet Der Schneemann, a sensation when it was first performed at the Vienna Court Opera (1910); he followed this with a Piano Trio and a Piano Sonata in E that so impressed Artur Schnabel that he championed the work all over Europe. Richard Strauss remarked: “One's first reaction that these compositions are by a child are those of awe and concern that so precocious a genius should follow its normal development. … This assurance of style, this mastery of form, this characteristic expressiveness, this bold harmony, are truly astonishing!” Giacomo Puccini, Jean Sibelius, Bruno Walter, Arthur Nikisch, Engelbert Humperdinck, Karl Goldmark, and many others were similarly impressed....

Article

Mark Brill

(b Paris, France, 24 Feb 1932). 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 (1958, Col.) featured the playing of ...

Article

Sergio Miceli

(b Rome, Italy, 10 Nov 1928). Italian composer. A favorite pupil of the distinguished Italian composer Goffredo Petrassi, he also substituted discreetly for his trumpeter father in a light music orchestra. He thus developed two distinct sides to his musical personality: one of these led him to embrace serialism (e.g., in Distanze and Musica per 11 violini, 1958) and the experimental work of the improvisation group Nuova Consonanza (from 1965); the other gained him a leading role, principally as an arranger, in all types of popular music, including songs for radio, radio and television plays, and the first successful television variety shows. In the early days of the record industry his innovative contribution played a decisive part in the success of the first Italian singer-songwriters (“cantautori”).

After many minor cinematic collaborations, Morricone achieved wider recognition with Sergio Leone's series of four Westerns, beginning with Per un pugno di dollari...

Article

David Kershaw and Nathan Platte

(Mary Berkeley)

(b Haslemere, England, 11 Dec 1960). English composer. She studied music at Worcester College, Oxford, and composition with Roger Steptoe; she also composed for productions at the Oxford Playhouse and scored a student film, Privileged, which was sold to the BBC. Her first professional film scoring commission came from David Puttnam in 1982 with Experience Preferred … But Not Essential. Her early television scores included The Storyteller (1986–8 and 1990), a series by Jim Henson, for which she was awarded the British Film Institute's Young Composer of the Year Award in 1988. In 1991 she composed for Mike Leigh's Life is Sweet (1990), her first feature film score. Since 1992 she has been in demand for Hollywood productions, and remains one of the few female composers to have achieved significant success at this level. With Emma (1996) she became the first female composer to receive an Academy Award....

Article

Hugh Davies

Electronic composition machine (not a synthesizer in the current sense of the word), developed by Helmut Klein and W. Schaaf at Siemens & Halske in Munich between 1956 and 1959. It was designed for and was the chief component of the Studio für Elektronische Musik in Munich, which Siemens began planning in 1955, initially to produce the soundtrack for a one-hour publicity film; it was linked to all the other equipment in the studio. A second model was installed in 1964. The director of the studio and the composer most closely involved with the Siemens Synthesizer was Josef Anton Riedl; others who used the machine included the composers Mauricio Kagel, Bengt Hambraeus, Milko Kelemen, and Ernst Krenek, and the sound poet Ferdinand Kriwet. The studio was taken over by a foundation in 1963, and its equipment was moved to Ulm in 1967; it was later acquired by the Deutsches Museum in Munich....

Article

Kate Daubney and William Rosar

(b Kremenchuk, Ukraine, 10 May 1894; d London, England, 11 Nov 1979). Composer and pianist of Ukrainian birth. He studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory under Blumenfeld and Alexander Glazunov and later in Berlin under Egon Petri, Michael Zadora, and Ferruccio Busoni. He made his debut as a concert pianist in Berlin after World War I and gave the European premiere of George Gershwin's Concerto in F at the Paris Opéra in 1928. In 1929 he accompanied his first wife (the choreographer Albertina Rasch) to Hollywood, where the success of his music for Lost Horizon led to a busy career as a film composer. During World War II he worked mainly on war documentaries, but in 1952 won great renown with his song-based score for High Noon. When he left Hollywood (1968) to settle in London he had worked on approximately 140 films and been nominated 23 times for Academy Awards for both original scoring and songs: he won the award for Best Score for ...

Article

Karel Steinmetz

[Plekancová-Vondráčková, Lucie]

(b Prague, 8 March 1980). Czech pop singer and actress. Her family was one of musicians (her father, Jiří Vondráček, is an actor and singer, her mother, Hana Sorrosová-Vondráčková, writes lyrics, and her aunt, Helena Vondráčková, is also a singer). Lucie was trained in music and drama at the Prague Conservatory and later obtained the doctorate in the Arts Faculty at Prague University (2006). From early childhood she appeared in films and TV serials for children; in 1992 she became a presenter of children’s programmes on TV, and in 1993 she issued her first record album. There have been more than 10 of these, and all have been enthusiastically received by her public in sales; she regularly features as one of the most popular Czech singers. As an actress, she often plays major roles in Czech films, stage plays, and musicals.

Article

Brendan G. Carroll

(b Königshütte, Germany, 24 Dec 1906; d Los Angeles, CA, 24 Feb 1967). Composer of German birth. After pursuing a career in banking for two years, he completed his musical studies in Dresden and Berlin. While a student, he supported himself by playing the piano in nightclubs, especially with the Weintraub Syncopators. It was this employment that led him, in 1929, to UFA, Germany's leading film studio, where he was hired to arrange and conduct Frederick Holländer's score for The Blue Angel. The success of that film produced additional film work, ultimately leading to his immigration to Los Angeles in 1934.

Waxman's arrival in Hollywood was timely; film music was just developing into a major art form and his fluent, highly Romantic style, coupled with a gift for melodic writing, was ideally suited to the medium. He quickly took his place as one of the most important composers of Hollywood's golden age. His first original film score, ...