|Born||April 4, 1922|
New York City, U.S.
|Died||August 18, 2004 82) (aged|
Ojai, California, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Composer, conductor, songwriter|
Elmer Bernstein ( // BURN-steen ; April 4, 1922 –August 18, 2004) was an American composer and conductor. In a career that spanned over five decades, he composed "some of the most recognizable and memorable themes in Hollywood history", including over 150 original film scores, as well as scores for nearly 80 television productions. For his work he received an Academy Award for Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) and Primetime Emmy Award. He also received seven Golden Globe Awards, five Grammy Awards, and two Tony Award nominations.
He composed and arranged scores for over 100 film scores, including Sudden Fear (1952), The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), The Ten Commandments (1956), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), The Magnificent Seven (1960), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), The Great Escape (1963), Hud (1963), Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), True Grit (1969), My Left Foot (1989), The Grifters (1990), Cape Fear (1991), Twilight (1998), and Far from Heaven (2002). He is known for his work on the comedic films, Animal House (1978), Meatballs (1979), Airplane! (1980), The Blues Brothers (1980), Stripes (1981), Trading Places (1984), Ghostbusters (1984), Spies Like Us (1985), and Three Amigos (1986).
Bernstein was born to a Jewish familyin New York City, the son of Selma (née Feinstein, 1901–1991), from Ukraine, and Edward Bernstein (1896-1968), from Austria-Hungary.
He was not related to the celebrated composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, though they were friends.Within the world of professional music, they were distinguished from each other by the use of the nicknames Bernstein West (Elmer) and Bernstein East (Leonard), based on their bases of operation: East for New York City, West for Hollywood/Los Angeles. They also pronounced their surnames differently. Elmer pronounced his name "BERN-steen", and Leonard used "BERN-styne".
During his childhood, Bernstein performed professionally as a dancer and an actor, in the latter case playing the part of Caliban in The Tempest on Broadway, and he also won several prizes for his painting. He attended Manhattan's progressive Walden School and gravitated toward music. At the age of twelve, he was awarded a piano scholarship by Henriette Michelson, a Juilliard teacher who guided him throughout his entire career as a pianist. She took him to play some of his improvisations for composer Aaron Copland, who was encouraging and selected Israel Citkowitz as a teacher for the young boy.
Elmer was drafted into the United States Army Air Forces during the World War II era where he wrote music for the Armed Forces Radio.
Elmer Bernstein's music has some stylistic similarities to Copland's music, most notably in his western scores, particularly sections of Big Jake, in the Gregory Peck film Amazing Grace and Chuck , and in his spirited score for the 1958 film adaptation of Erskine Caldwell's novel God's Little Acre .
He had a lifelong enthusiasm for an even wider spectrum of the arts than his childhood interests would imply and, in 1959, when he was scoring The Story on Page One , he considered becoming a novelist and asked the film's screenwriter, Clifford Odets, to give him lessons in writing fiction.
|You may hear Elmer Bernstein's Theme Song for the movie The Magnificent Seven performed in 1960 Here on archive.org|
Bernstein wrote the theme songs or other music for more than 200 films and TV shows, including The Magnificent Seven , The Great Escape , The Ten Commandments (1956), True Grit , The Man with the Golden Arm , To Kill a Mockingbird , Robot Monster , Ghostbusters , Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965), and the fanfare used in the National Geographic television specials.
His theme for The Magnificent Seven is also familiar to television viewers, as it was used in commercials for Marlboro cigarettes. Bernstein also provided the score to many of the short films of Ray and Charles Eames.
In 1961 Bernstein co-founded Äva Records, an American record label based in Los Angeles together with Fred Astaire, Jackie Mills and Tommy Wolf.
In addition to his film music, Bernstein wrote the scores for two Broadway musicals, How Now, Dow Jones , with lyricist Carolyn Leigh, in 1967 and Merlin , with lyricist Don Black, in 1983.
One of Bernstein's tunes has since gained a lasting place in U.S. college sports culture. In 1968, University of South Carolina football head coach Paul Dietzel wrote new lyrics to "Step to the Rear", from How Now, Dow Jones. The South Carolina version of the tune, "The Fighting Gamecocks Lead the Way", has been the school's fight song ever since.
Along with many other artists in Hollywood, Bernstein faced censure during the McCarthy era of the early 1950s. Bernstein was called by the House Un-American Activities Committee when it was discovered that he had written some music reviews for a Communist newspaper. After he refused to name names, pointing out that he had never attended a Communist Party meeting, he found himself composing music for movies such as Robot Monster and Cat-Women of the Moon , a step down from his earlier Sudden Fear and Saturday's Hero .
John Landis grew up near Bernstein, and befriended him through his children. Years later, he requested that Bernstein compose the music for National Lampoon's Animal House , over the studio's objections. He explained to Bernstein that he thought that Bernstein's score, playing it straight as if the comedic Delta frat characters were actual heroes, would emphasize the comedy further.
The opening theme of the film is based upon a slight inversion of a secondary theme from Brahms's Academic Festival Overture . Bernstein accepted the job, and it sparked a second wave in his career, where he continued to compose music for high-profile comedies such as Ghostbusters , Stripes , Airplane! and The Blues Brothers , as well as most of Landis's films for the next 15 years, including An American Werewolf in London , Trading Places , and the music video to the Michael Jackson song "Thriller".
|You may hear Elmer Bernstein's music for the movie The Age of Innocence performed by the London Philharmonic in 1993 Here on archive.org|
When Martin Scorsese announced that he was re-making Cape Fear , Bernstein adapted Bernard Herrmann's original score to the new film. Bernstein leapt at the opportunity to work with Scorsese, as well as to pay homage to Herrmann.Scorsese and Bernstein subsequently worked together on two more films, The Age of Innocence (1993) and Bringing Out the Dead (1999). Bernstein had previously conducted Herrmann's original unused score for Alfred Hitchcock's 1966 Torn Curtain .
Having studied composition under Aaron Copland, Roger Sessions, and Stefan Wolpe, Bernstein also performed as a concert pianist between 1939 and 1950 and wrote numerous classical compositions, including three orchestral suites, two song cycles, various compositions for viola and piano and for solo piano, and a string quartet.
As president of the Young Musicians Foundation, Bernstein became acquainted with classical guitarist Christopher Parkening and wrote a Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra, which Parkening recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra under Bernstein's baton for the Angel label in 1999. In addition, Bernstein was a professor at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music and conductor of the San Fernando Valley Symphony in the early 1970s.
Bernstein was married three times, first to Rhoda Federgreen. Their marriage lasted from 1942 to 1946.Bernstein's second wife was Pearl Glusman, whom he wed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on December 21, 1946. After the couple's divorce in 1965, Bernstein married Eve Adamson. They remained together for 39 years, until his death.
In the 1960s, Bernstein was an owner in the Triad Stable Thoroughbred racing partnership, named for a music term. His partners included his assistant, Robert Helfer, and the wife of the Triad Stable's trainer Morton Lipton.
The Bernsteins in the 1990s resided in Hope Ranch, a suburb of Santa Barbara, California.Later, they moved to a home in Ojai, California, where Bernstein died of cancer on August 18, 2004. His publicist Cathy Mouton simply stated at the time that Bernstein had died following a lengthy illness. He was survived by his wife Eve and their two daughters, Emilie and Elizabeth; by his two sons, Peter and Gregory Bernstein, from his earlier marriage to Pearl Glusman; and by five grandchildren.
Bernstein considered these artists as influences on his work: Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Dimitri Tiomkin, Duke Ellington, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Franz Waxman, Miklós Rózsa, Jimmie Lunceford, Max Steiner, Victor Young, Aaron Copland, Bernard Herrmann, Nino Rota, Roger Sessions, Stefan Wolpe.
Those who consider Bernstein a legacy on their careers include Alan Silvestri, Georges Delerue, Howard Shore, James Newton Howard, John Barry, Lalo Schifrin, Dick Hyman, Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Trevor Jones, Mark Isham, Bear McCreary, Ennio Morricone, Danny Elfman, Alan Menken, Randy Newman, and Randy Edelman.[ citation needed ]
Over the course of his career, Bernstein won an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and two Golden Globe Awards.In addition, he was nominated for the Tony Award three times and a Grammy Award five times. He received 14 Academy Award nominations and was nominated at least once per decade from the 1950s until the 2000s, but his only win was for Thoroughly Modern Millie for Best Original Music Score. Bernstein was recognized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association with Golden Globes for his scores for To Kill a Mockingbird and Hawaii . In 1963, he won the Primetime Emmy Award for his score of The Making of The President 1960. He is the recipient of Western Heritage Awards for The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Hallelujah Trail (1965).
Additional honors included lifetime achievement awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the Society for the Preservation of Film Music, the US, Woodstock, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach and Flanders International Film Festivals and the Foundation for a Creative America. In 1996, Bernstein was honored with a star on Hollywood Boulevard. [ citation needed ]In 1999, he received an honorary Doctorate of Music from Five Towns College in New York and was honored by the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Bernstein again was honored by ASCAP with its marquee Founders Award in 2001 and with the NARAS Governors Award in June 2004. Bernstein was the subject of This Is Your Life in 2003 when he was surprised by Michael Aspel at London's Royal Albert Hall, after conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as part of his 80th year celebrations.
His scores for The Magnificent Seven and To Kill a Mockingbird were ranked by the American Film Institute as the eighth and seventeenth greatest American film scores of all time, respectively, on the list of AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores. Bernstein, Bernard Herrmann, Max Steiner, and Jerry Goldsmith are the only composers to have two scores listed, and are therefore in second place for the most scores on the list, behind John Williams, who has three. Other Bernstein film scores nominated for the list are as follows: The Age of Innocence (1993), Far from Heaven (2002), The Great Escape (1963), Hawaii (1966), The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), Summer and Smoke (1961), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), The Ten Commandments (1956), and Walk on the Wild Side (1962).
The Magnificent Seven is a 1960 American Western film directed by John Sturges. The screenplay by William Roberts is a remake – in an Old West–style – of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai. The ensemble cast includes Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn, and Horst Buchholz as a group of seven gunfighters, and Eli Wallach as their main antagonist. The seven title characters are hired to protect a small village in Mexico from a group of marauding bandits, led by Wallach.
The Academy Award for Best Original Score is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to the best substantial body of music in the form of dramatic underscoring written specifically for the film by the submitting composer. Some pre-existing music is allowed, though, but a contending film must include a minimum of original music. This minimum since 2021 is established in 35% of the music, which is raised to 80% for sequels and franchise films. Fifteen scores are shortlisted before nominations are announced.
John Towner Williams is an American composer, conductor and pianist. In a career that has spanned seven decades, he has composed some of the most popular, recognizable and critically acclaimed film scores in cinematic history. Williams has won 25 Grammy Awards, seven British Academy Film Awards, five Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. With 52 Academy Award nominations, he is the second most-nominated individual, after Walt Disney. His compositions are considered the epitome of film music and he is considered among the greatest composers in the history of cinema.
Bernard Herrmann was an American composer and conductor best known for his work in composing for films. As a conductor, he championed the music of lesser-known composers. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest film composers.
Howard Leslie Shore is a Canadian composer and conductor noted for his film scores. He has composed the scores for over 80 films, most notably the scores for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies. He won three Academy Awards for his work on The Lord of the Rings, with one being for the song "Into the West", an award he shared with Eurythmics lead vocalist Annie Lennox and writer/producer Fran Walsh, who wrote the lyrics. He is also a consistent collaborator with director David Cronenberg, having scored all but one of his films since 1979.
James Roy Horner was an American composer, conductor, and orchestrator of film scores. He was known for the integration of choral and electronic elements, and for his frequent use of motifs associated with Celtic music.
Jerome Moross was an American composer best known for his music for film and television. He also composed works for symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, soloists and musical theater, as well as orchestrating scores for other composers.
The Age of Innocence is a 1993 American historical romantic drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. The screenplay, an adaptation of the 1920 novel The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, was written by Scorsese and Jay Cocks. The film stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder and Miriam Margolyes, and was released by Columbia Pictures. The film recounts the courtship and marriage of Newland Archer (Day-Lewis), a wealthy New York society attorney, to May Welland (Ryder); Archer then encounters and legally represents Countess Olenska (Pfeiffer) prior to unexpected romantic entanglements.
The Hollywood Symphony Orchestra ®(HSO) is a large scale American symphony orchestra based in Los Angeles, California. Its founder was John Scott and its current Principal Conductor and consulting producer is John Beal The HSO is dedicated to performing classic, contemporary and world premiere media scores, and comprises recording musicians from the Hollywood movie studios and the Los Angeles concert scene.
Charles Harold Bernstein is an American composer of film and television scores. He is a Daytime Emmy Award winner, and a two-time Primetime Emmy Award nominee. Since 1995, he has been a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Music Branch, and is a member of the Board of Directors for both the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and the Society of Composers & Lyricists.
Jonathan Goldstein was an English composer of music for film, television, advertising, theatre, and live events. His work encompassed a range of contemporary classical styles with orchestral, jazz, electro-acoustic and world influences.
Peter Bernstein is an American film score composer, and is the son of Academy Award-winning composer and conductor Elmer Bernstein, with whom he frequently collaborated.
Jubilant Sykes is an American baritone.
The Golden State Pops Orchestra (GSPO) is an American symphony pops orchestra located in the San Pedro district of Los Angeles, California in the United States of America. The GSPO is the resident orchestra of the Warner Grand Theatre, an Art Deco movie palace built by Warner Brothers Studios in 1931. The orchestra performs a wide variety of musical repertoire, including classical, Broadway, pop music and even video game soundtracks. However, the primary focus of the GSPO remains film music, a specialty of the orchestra since its founding in 2002. The Golden State Pops Orchestra is composed of professional freelance musicians from around the Los Angeles area.
Jazz in Film is a studio album by American tumpeter Terence Blanchard released on March 2, 1999 via Sony Records.
Christopher Francis Palmer was an English composer, arranger and orchestrator; biographer of composers, champion of lesser-known composers and writer on film music and other musical subjects; record producer; and lecturer. He was involved in a very wide range of projects and his output was prodigious. He came to be regarded as one of the finest symphonic orchestrators of his generation. He was dedicated to the conservation, recording and promotion of classic film scores by composers such as Bernard Herrmann, Dimitri Tiomkin, Franz Waxman, Miklós Rózsa, Elmer Bernstein and others. He wrote full biographies as well as sleeve notes, radio scripts, reviews and articles, on composers such as Benjamin Britten, Frederick Delius, Karol Szymanowski, Arthur Bliss, George Dyson, Herbert Howells, Maurice Ravel, Nikolai Tcherepnin and others.
Ghostbusters: Original Soundtrack Album is the soundtrack album for the 1984 film of the same name, released by Arista Records on June 8, 1984. The soundtrack includes the Billboard Hot 100 number one hit "Ghostbusters", written and performed by Ray Parker Jr. The film score, Ghostbusters: Original Motion Picture Score, is composed by Elmer Bernstein. Since the release of the film in 1984, the film score remained unreleased until March 16, 2006, released by Varèse Sarabande.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the soundtrack album for the film of the same name, released by Sony Classical Records on November 19, 2021. The film score includes new material composed by Rob Simonsen, as well as utilizing material originally written by Elmer Bernstein for the original film.
Elmer Bernstein, pronounced 'Burn-steen'...