This article needs additional citations for verification . (July 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Bernstein guest conducting the U.S. Air Force Band in 1981
|Born||April 4, 1922|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||August 18, 2004 82) (aged|
Ojai, California, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Composer, conductor, songwriter|
Elmer Bernstein (April 4, 1922 –August 18, 2004) was an American composer and conductor known for his film scores. In a career that spanned more than five decades, he composed "some of the most recognizable and memorable themes in Hollywood history", including over 150 original movie scores, as well as scores for nearly 80 television productions. Examples of his widely popular and critically acclaimed works are scores to The Ten Commandments (1956), The Magnificent Seven (1960), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), The Great Escape (1963), The Rookies (1972-76), Animal House (1978), Airplane! (1980), Heavy Metal (1981), Ghostbusters (1984), The Black Cauldron (1985), Cape Fear (1991), The Age of Innocence (1993), Wild Wild West (1999) and Far from Heaven (2002).
A composer is a musician who is an author of music in any form, including vocal music, instrumental music, electronic music, and music which combines multiple forms. A composer may create music in any music genre, including, for example, classical music, musical theatre, blues, folk music, jazz, and popular music. Composers often express their works in a written musical score using musical notation.
A film score is original music written specifically to accompany a film for the actors. The score forms part of the film's soundtrack, which also usually includes pre-existing music, dialogue and sound effects, and comprises a number of orchestral, instrumental, or choral pieces called cues, which are timed to begin and end at specific points during the film in order to enhance the dramatic narrative and the emotional impact of the scene in question. Scores are written by one or more composers, under the guidance of, or in collaboration with, the film's director or producer and are then usually performed by an ensemble of musicians – most often comprising an orchestra or band, instrumental soloists, and choir or vocalists – known as playback singers and recorded by a sound engineer.
The Ten Commandments is a 1956 American epic religious drama film produced, directed, and narrated by Cecil B. DeMille, shot in VistaVision, and released by Paramount Pictures. The film is based on Prince of Egypt by Dorothy Clarke Wilson, Pillar of Fire by J.H. Ingraham, On Eagle's Wings by A.E. Southon, and the Book of Exodus. The Ten Commandments dramatizes the biblical story of the life of Moses, an adopted Egyptian prince who becomes the deliverer of his real brethren, the enslaved Hebrews, and therefore leads the Exodus to Mount Sinai, where he receives, from God, the Ten Commandments. The film stars Charlton Heston in the lead role, Yul Brynner as Rameses, Anne Baxter as Nefretiri, Edward G. Robinson as Dathan, Yvonne De Carlo as Sephora, Debra Paget as Lilia, and John Derek as Joshua; and features Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Sethi, Nina Foch as Bithiah, Martha Scott as Yochabel, Judith Anderson as Memnet, and Vincent Price as Baka, among others.
Bernstein won an Oscar for his score to Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) and was nominated for 14 Oscars in total. He also won two Golden Globe Awards, an Emmy Award, and was nominated for two Grammy Awards.
Thoroughly Modern Millie is a 1967 American musical-romantic comedy film directed by George Roy Hill and starring Julie Andrews. The screenplay by Richard Morris, focuses on a naive young woman who finds herself in the midst of a series of madcap adventures when she sets her sights on marrying her wealthy boss. The film also stars Mary Tyler Moore, James Fox, John Gavin, Carol Channing, and Beatrice Lillie.
An Emmy Award, or simply Emmy, is an American award that recognizes excellence in the television industry, and is the equivalent of an Academy Award, the Tony Award, and the Grammy Award. The Emmy statuette depicts a winged woman holding an atom.
A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The trophy depicts a gilded gramophone. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.
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.
Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.
Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy in Central and Eastern Europe between 1867 and 1918. It was formed when the Austrian Empire adopted a new constitution; as a result Austria (Cisleithania) and Hungary (Transleithania) were placed on equal footing. It dissolved into several new states at the end of the First World War.
Contrary to popular assumption, he was not related to the celebrated composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, but the two men 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). They also pronounced their surnames differently. Elmer pronounced his "BERN-steen", and Leonard used "BERN-stine".
Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the US to receive worldwide acclaim. According to music critic Donal Henahan, he was "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history."
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, at which time he was given a scholarship in piano 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.
Caliban, son of the witch Sycorax, is an important character in William Shakespeare's play The Tempest.
The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, probably written in 1610–1611, and thought to be one of the last plays that Shakespeare wrote alone. After the first scene, which takes place on a ship at sea during a tempest, the rest of the story is set on a remote island, where the sorcerer Prospero, a complex and contradictory character, lives with his daughter Miranda, and his two servants — Caliban, a savage monster figure, and Ariel, an airy spirit. The play contains music and songs that evoke the spirit of enchantment on the island. It explores many themes including magic, betrayal, revenge, and family. In act four, a wedding masque serves as a play-within-the play, and contributes spectacle, allegory, and elevated language. Though The Tempest is listed in the First Folio as the first of Shakespeare’s comedies, it deals with both tragic and comic themes, and modern criticism has created a category of romance for this and others of Shakespeare’s late plays. The Tempest has been put to varied interpretations—from those that see it as a fable of art and creation, with Prospero representing Shakespeare, and Prospero’s renunciation of magic signaling Shakespeare's farewell to the stage, to interpretations that consider it an allegory of Europeans colonizing foreign lands.
Broadway theatre, also known simply as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.
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 .
Amazing Grace and Chuck is a 1987 American sports drama film starring William Petersen, Jamie Lee Curtis and Gregory Peck. The film was directed by Mike Newell. It was released on VHS in the UK as Silent Voice.
Erskine Preston Caldwell was an American novelist and short story writer. His writings about poverty, racism and social problems in his native Southern United States, in novels such as Tobacco Road (1932) and God's Little Acre (1933) won him critical acclaim, but his advocacy of eugenics and the sterilization of Georgia's poor whites became less popular following World War II.
God's Little Acre is a 1933 novel by Erskine Caldwell about a dysfunctional farming family in Georgia obsessed with sex and wealth. The novel's sexual themes were so controversial that the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice asked a New York state court to censor it. Although controversial, the novel became an international best seller with over 10 million copies sold, and was published as an Armed Services Edition during WWII. God's Little Acre is Caldwell's most popular novel, although his reputation is often tied to his 1932 novel Tobacco Road, which was listed in the Modern Library 100 Best Novels. God's Little Acre was later adapted as a 1958 film starring Robert Ryan.
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.
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 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 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 to the movie 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 the famed music video to the Michael Jackson song "Thriller".
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.
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 Emmy for Excellence in Television for his score of the documentary The Making of The President 1960. He is the recipient of Western Heritage Awards for The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Hallelujah Trail (1965).
He received five Grammy Award nominations from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and garnered two Tony Award nominations for the Broadway musicals How Now Dow Jones and Merlin .
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.In 1999, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Five Towns College in New York City 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.
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:
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.
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 Elmer died from cancer on August 18, 2004, at age 82. 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.
He influenced 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, Danny Elfman, Alan Menken, and Randy Newman.[ citation needed ]
On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Elmer Bernstein among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.
The Magnificent Seven is a 1960 American Western film directed by John Sturges and starring Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn and Horst Buchholz. The film is an Old West–style remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai. Brynner, McQueen, Bronson, Vaughn, Dexter, Coburn and Buchholz portray the title characters, a group of seven gunfighters hired to protect a small village in Mexico from a group of marauding bandits. The film's musical score was composed by Elmer Bernstein. In 2013, the film was selected for the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
John Towner Williams is an American composer, conductor, and pianist. Widely regarded as one of the greatest American composers of all time, he has composed some of the most popular, recognizable, and critically acclaimed film scores in cinematic history in a career spanning over six decades. Williams has composed for many critically acclaimed and popular movies, including the Star Wars series, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones series, the first two Home Alone films, Hook, the first two Jurassic Park films, Schindler's List, and the first three Harry Potter films. He has been associated with director Steven Spielberg since 1974, composing music for all but five of his feature films––Duel, The Color Purple, Bridge of Spies, Ready Player One, and West Side Story. Other works by Williams include theme music for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, NBC Sunday Night Football, "The Mission" theme used by NBC News and Seven News in Australia, the television series Lost in Space and Land of the Giants, and the incidental music for the first season of Gilligan's Island.
Bernard Herrmann was an American composer best known for his work in composing for motion pictures. As a conductor, he championed the music of lesser-known composers.
John Barry Prendergast, was an English composer and conductor of film music. He composed the scores for 11 of the James Bond films between 1963 and 1987, and also arranged and performed the "James Bond Theme" to the first film in the series, 1962's Dr. No. He wrote the Grammy- and Academy Award-winning scores to the films Dances with Wolves and Out of Africa, as well as the theme for the British television cult series The Persuaders!, in a career spanning over 50 years. In 1999, he was appointed OBE for services to music.
Alex North was an American composer best known for his many film scores, including A Streetcar Named Desire, Viva Zapata!, Spartacus, Cleopatra, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? He was the first composer to receive an Honorary Academy Award but never won a competitive Oscar despite fourteen nominations.
Miklós Rózsa was a Hungarian-American composer trained in Germany (1925–1931), and active in France (1931–1935), the United Kingdom (1935–1940), and the United States (1940–1995), with extensive sojourns in Italy from 1953. Best known for his nearly one hundred film scores, he nevertheless maintained a steadfast allegiance to absolute concert music throughout what he called his "double life."
John Mervyn Addison was a British composer best known for his film scores.
Alf Heiberg Clausen is an American film and television composer. He is best known for his work scoring many episodes of The Simpsons, of which he had been the sole composer between 1990 and 2017. Clausen has scored or orchestrated music for more than 30 films and television shows, including Moonlighting, The Naked Gun, ALF and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Clausen received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in 1996.
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge is a television film directed by Martha Coolidge. Filmed over a span of a few weeks in early 1998, the film was aired in the United States on August 21, 1999. The teleplay is drawn exclusively from the biography of Dorothy Dandridge by Earl Mills. The original music score was composed by Elmer Bernstein, who had known Dandridge and Otto Preminger. The film is marketed with the tagline: "Right woman. Right place. Wrong time."
Connotations is a classical music composition for symphony orchestra written by American composer Aaron Copland. Commissioned by Leonard Bernstein in 1962 to commemorate the opening of Philharmonic Hall in New York City, United States, this piece marks a departure from Copland's populist period, which began with El Salón México in 1936 and includes the works he is most famous for such as Appalachian Spring, Lincoln Portrait and Rodeo. It represents a return to a more dissonant style of composition in which Copland wrote from the end of his studies with French pedagogue Nadia Boulanger and return from Europe in 1924 until the Great Depression. It was also Copland's first dodecaphonic work for orchestra, a style he had disparaged until he heard the music of French composer Pierre Boulez and adapted the method for himself in his Piano Quartet of 1950. While the composer had produced other orchestral works contemporary to Connotations, it was his first purely symphonic work since his Third Symphony, written in 1947.
Jerome Moross was an American composer. He composed works for symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, soloists and musical theatre. He also orchestrated motion picture scores for other composers. He is best known for his music for film and television.
Frank Denny De Vol was an American actor, and using the name De Vol was an arranger and composer. As a composer he was nominated for four Academy Awards.
Hugo Wilhelm Friedhofer was an American composer and cellist best known for his motion picture scores.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1962 American drama film directed by Robert Mulligan. The screenplay by Horton Foote is based on Harper Lee's 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. It stars Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch and Mary Badham as Scout. To Kill a Mockingbird marked the film debuts of Robert Duvall, William Windom, and Alice Ghostley.
George Duning was an American musician and film composer. He was born in Richmond, Indiana and educated in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, where his mentor was Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.
Irwin Kostal was an American musical arranger of films and an orchestrator of Broadway musicals.
Jack Wilton Marshall was an American guitarist, composer, arranger, and conductor. He was the father of producer-director Frank Marshall and composer Phil Marshall. He was also the cousin of classical guitarist Christopher Parkening.
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 Board of Directors for both the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and the Society of Composers & Lyricists.
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.
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.