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date: 20 April 2021

Raksin, Davidlocked

  • 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 ...

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New Haven (CT), Yale University, Oral History Archive
Antiphonale monasticum pro diurnis horis (Tournai, 1934)
Washington, DC, Library of Congress, Music Division