Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Music of Elmer Bernstein

Last time we looked at famous American composer, conductor, and educator Leonard Bernstein. Many believe he was related to composer Elmer Bernstein (1922–2004) but in fact, the two were good friends, but no relation. 

Elmer Bernstein was a child prodigy, first coming to music through the piano. He studied at Juilliard where he pursued both piano and composition studies. Though he hoped to develop a career as a concert pianist, his dreams were interrupted with the onset of WWII. During the war, he was able to keep himself in the music world by assisting in the arrangement of American songs for Glenn Miller and the Air Force Band. He also did work for the Armed Forces Radio programs, which developed his passion for composition.

Following the war, Bernstein received an invitation to go to Hollywood and write for film. Some of the films you may know him for are The Ten Commandments (1956), The Magnificent Seven (1960), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), and The Great Escape (1963). He even won an Oscar for his work as music director for Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967).

What’s your favorite Elmer Bernstein score?

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