Ernest Gold (composer)

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Ernest Gold
BornErnst Sigmund Goldner
(1921-07-13)July 13, 1921
Vienna, Austria
Died March 17, 1999(1999-03-17) (aged 77)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Occupation Composer
Marni Nixon
(m. 1950;div. 1969)

Jan Keller
(m. 1975;his death 1999)
Children 3, including Andrew Gold

Ernst Sigmund Goldner (July 13, 1921 – March 17, 1999), known professionally as Ernest Gold, was an Austrian-born American composer. He is most noted for his work on the film Exodus produced in 1960.

Composer person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition

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.

<i>Exodus</i> (1960 film) 1960 film by Otto Preminger

Exodus is a 1960 American epic film on the founding of the modern State of Israel. It was made by Alpha and Carlyle Productions and distributed by United Artists. Produced and directed by Otto Preminger, the film was based on the 1958 novel Exodus by Leon Uris. The screenplay was written by Dalton Trumbo. The film features an ensemble cast, and its celebrated soundtrack music was written by Ernest Gold.


Early life

Gold was born in 1921 in Vienna, the son of Elisabeth (Stransky) and Gustav Goldner. [1] [2] Gold came from a musical family. His father played the violin, and his mother sang. [3] His father also studied under Richard Heuberger. [4] Gold said that he learned to read music before he had learned to read words. [4] He studied the violin and the piano when he was only 6 years old and began composing music at 8. By age 13, he had written an entire opera. [1] As a child, he said he wanted to go to Hollywood and be a composer. [5] :24 Gold would go to movie theaters as a teenager not only to watch the films but also to listen to the musical score. Among prominent film composers of the time he admired Max Steiner. [4] In 1938, Gold attended the Viennese Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst, but he moved to the U.S. after the Anschluss of Austria, because of the family's Jewish heritage. [1] In the United States, Gold earned money by working as an accompanist and writing popular songs in New York City. He also studied with Otto Cesana and Leon Barzin at the National Orchestra Association. [4]

Vienna Capital city and state in Austria

Vienna is the federal capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

Richard Heuberger Austrian composer

Richard Franz Joseph Heuberger was an Austrian composer of operas and operettas, a music critic, and teacher.

Hollywood Neighborhood of Los Angeles in California, United States

Hollywood is a neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California, notable as the home of the U.S. film industry including several of its historic studios. Its name has come to be a shorthand reference for the industry and the people associated with it.


NBC Orchestra performed Gold's first symphony in 1939, only a year after he moved to the United States. [1] In 1941, he composed a symphony that was later played at Carnegie Hall in 1945. [4] Gold moved to Hollywood in the same year to work with Columbia Pictures, his first significant role being the score for the melodrama Girl of the Limberlost (1945). After this opportunity, Gold wrote scores for other minor films. [1] For the next ten years, he continued to work on B movies, mainly orchestrating and arranging music for western movies and melodramas. [3]

Carnegie Hall concert hall in New York City

Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east side of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park.

Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film studio, production company and film distributor that is a member of the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, a division of Sony Entertainment's Sony Pictures subsidiary of the Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony Corporation.

He was asked by Stanley Kramer to orchestrate Not as a Stranger (1955). The music for the film was written by George Antheil. This production opened the door for Gold to work with other scores written by Antheil and to orchestrate more of Kramer's films. [1] Gold worked on almost every film Kramer made, including A Child Is Waiting and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World . [3]

Stanley Kramer American film director and producer

Stanley Earl Kramer was an American film director and producer, responsible for making many of Hollywood's most famous "message films". As an independent producer and director, he brought attention to topical social issues that most studios avoided. Among the subjects covered in his films were racism, nuclear war, greed, creationism vs. evolution and the causes and effects of fascism. His other notable films included High Noon, The Caine Mutiny, and Ship of Fools (1965).

<i>Not as a Stranger</i> 1955 film by Stanley Kramer

Not as a Stranger is a 1955 American film noir drama film produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, starring Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum, and Frank Sinatra, and based on the 1954 novel of the same name by Morton Thompson. The romantic melodrama novel was widely popular, topping that year's list of bestselling novels in the United States.

George Antheil American avant-garde composer, pianist, author and inventor

George Antheil was an American avant-garde composer, pianist, author, and inventor whose modernist musical compositions explored the modern sounds – musical, industrial, and mechanical – of the early 20th century.

Gold produced his first original film score in 1958 for Too Much, Too Soon. His big break came in 1959, when he was asked to score On the Beach after Antheil became ill and he recommended Gold for the job. [4]

<i>Too Much, Too Soon</i> 1958 film by Art Napoleon

Too Much, Too Soon is a 1958 biographical film produced by Warner Bros. It was directed by Art Napoleon and produced by Henry Blanke from a screenplay by Art Napoleon and Jo Napoleon, based on the autobiography by Diana Barrymore and Gerold Frank. The music score was by Ernest Gold and the cinematography by Carl E. Guthrie. Diana died in 1960, two years after the release of this film.

<i>On the Beach</i> (1959 film) 1959 film by Stanley Kramer

On the Beach is a 1959 American post-apocalyptic science fiction drama film from United Artists, produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, that stars Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, and Anthony Perkins. This black-and-white film is based on Nevil Shute's 1957 novel of the same name depicting the aftermath of a nuclear war. Unlike the novel, no one is assigned blame for starting the war; the film hints that the threat of annihilation may have arisen from an accident or misjudgment.

Gold is most widely recognized for his work on Exodus (1960). [1] He was contracted by Otto Preminger and, atypically, was able to watch the filming of the movie. [3] Gold spent time in Israel to write the score. [5] :26

Otto Preminger American director, producer, actor

Otto Ludwig Preminger was an American theatre and film director, originally from Austria-Hungary.

Israel country in the Middle East

Israel, officially the State of Israel, is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, and Egypt to the southwest. The country contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel's economic and technological center is Tel Aviv, while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem, although the state's sovereignty over Jerusalem has only partial recognition.

In 1968, Gold wrote a Broadway musical [1] called I'm Solomon . [6] He also wrote music for television. [3] In his later life, Gold was the musical director of the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra. He also founded the Los Angeles Senior Citizens Orchestra. [1]

His concert works include a piano concerto, a string quartet, and a piano sonata. Ernest Gold's "Fight for Survival" from Exodus was sampled by Moby in his song Porcelain. [7]


Gold's contributions were recognized with Academy Award nominations and Golden Globe nominations. He won a Golden Globe in 1960 for Best Motion Picture Score for 1959's On the Beach. This film was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture that same year. In 1960, Gold's Exodus was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Original Score category. [8] The film won an Academy Award for Best Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture and a Grammy for Best Soundtrack Album. [9] For his contributions, Gold had his name engraved in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was the first composer to receive this honor. [10]

Personal life

Gold was married to singer and actress Marni Nixon from 19501969. They had three children: musician Andrew Gold (composer of "Lonely Boy" and "Thank You for Being a Friend"), Martha Gold Carr, and Melanie Gold. [8] [11] Gold's marriage after Nixon [12] :62 was to Jan Keller Gold (from 1975 until his death). [13]

Ernest Gold died on March 17, 1999, in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 77 from complications following a stroke. [1] [14]

Selected filmography

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Obituary: Ernest Gold". The Independent. 1999-03-30. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  2. Gruber, Orpheus Trust, Dr. Primavera. "Orpheus Trust - Verein zur Erforschung und Veröffentlichung vertriebener und vergessener Kunst".
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Eder, Bruce. "Artist Biography". All Music. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Thomas, Tony (March 1992). Film Score. Riverwood Press. pp. 47&ndash, 55. ISBN   9781880756010.
  5. 1 2 Thomas, Tony (October 1997). Music for the Movies. Silman-James Pr. ISBN   9781879505377.
  6. "I'm Solomon". Playbill. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  7. "Moby's 'Porcelain' - Discover the Sample Source". WhoSampled. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  8. 1 2 "Biography". Ernest Gold. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  9. "Exodus (1960) Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  10. "Gold, Ernest". Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  11. Cross, Lucy. "Marni Nixon". Masterworks Broadway. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  12. Nixon, Marni (Sep 2006). I Could Have Sung All Night: My Story. Billboard Books. ISBN   9780823083657 . Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  13. "Ernest Gold". Monstrous Movie Music. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  14. "Ernest Gold, 77, Oscar-Winning Composer". The New York Times . 1999-03-21. Retrieved 2013-12-17.