No ranking, just sorted First Name / Family Name.
Except Cole Porter who for sure was a great composer.
Personal favourites are almost impossible to choose since we have so many superb composers here.
Thanks for checking, enjoy.
Cole Porter was born June 9, 1891, at Peru, Indiana, the son of pharmacist Samuel Fenwick Porter and Kate Cole. Cole was raised on a 750-acre fruit ranch. Kate Cole married Samuel Porter in 1884 and had two children, Louis and Rachel, who both died in infancy. Porter's grandfather, J.G. Cole, was a multi-millionaire who made his fortune in the coal and western timber business...
Aaron Copland is an Academy Award-winning composer (The Heiress
), author, conductor, lecturer and educator. He was educated at public schools and was a music student of his sister and later Leopold Wolfson, Victor Wittgenstein, Clarence Adler, Rubin Goldmark and Nadia Boulanger
. In 1925, he received the first Guggenheim fellowship awarded to a composer...
London-born piano child prodigy Adolph Deutsch trained at the Royal Academy of Music from the age of eight and composed his first piece, a waltz for piano, entitled "La Charmeuse" two years later. He moved to the U.S. in 1910 and got his first job working for a publishing house, during which time he...
Alex North studied music at the Curtis Institute of Philadelphia, then won a scholarship to Juilliard in New York (1929) and the Moscow Conservatoire (1933), making him the first-ever American to become a member of the Union of Soviet Composers. In Europe, he worked as music director for the Latvian State Theatre...
Anton Karas was a mere entertainer in an Heurige (Viennese Wine Bar), but Carol Reed selected him as the musical director of "The Third Man" (1949). He was invited to London and lived with Reed. Reed treated him very well, but Karas was in a slump - then suddenly Reed rushed into Karas' room, and lay at full length on the floor...
Composer, conductor, arranger and music director. Trained Cologne, Berlin and London (at the Guildhall school of Music and Drama). From the age of seventeen, earned a living as a jazz fiddler, pianist and arranger in, among others, Carroll Gibbons' Savoy Orpheans and Henry Hall's BBC Dance Orchestra...
The man behind the low woodwinds that open Citizen Kane
, the shrieking violins of Psycho
, and the plaintive saxophone of Taxi Driver
was one of the most original and distinctive composers ever to work in film. He started early, winning a composition prize at the age of 13 and founding his own orchestra at the age of 20...
Russian-born pianist and film composer, who completed his training at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Damrosch Institute. He enjoyed his first success as half of the piano duo Shefter & Gould (with pianist Morton Gould
), arranging and interpreting classical music, from "Flight of the Bumble-Bee" (1933) to "Fantaisie-impromptu" (1934)...
Born: February 5, 1902 in Warsaw, Poland Died: April 25, 1983 in Los Angeles, California, USA Kaper displayed musical talent as early as the age of seven when his family acquired a piano. His inclination to music led him to study both piano and composition, while also taking courses in law to satisfy his father...
David Raksin's father Isidore, who both conducted and owned a music store, taught his son to play piano as well as woodwind instruments at an early age. He eventually studied music with Arnold Schönberg
, but became by-and-large a self-taught multi-instrumentalist (organ and percussion), as well as composer and arranger for radio and for his own jazz/dance combo which he led at the age of 12 ...
Dimitri Tiomkin was a Russian Jewish composer who emigrated to America and became one of the most distinguished and best-loved music writers of Hollywood. He won a hallowed place in the pantheon of the most successful and productive composers in American film history, earning himself four Oscars and sixteen Academy Awards nominations...
Elmer Bernstein was educated at the Walden School and New York University. He served in the US Army Air Corps in World War II. A prolific and respected film music composer, he was a protégé of Aaron Copland
, who studied music with Roger Sessions and Stefan Wolpe
. Bernstein worked in various artistic endeavors...
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Erich Wolfgang Korngold was the son of a well-known music critic. He was a child prodigy who composed his first orchestral piece at 14 and drew the attention of Richard Strauss
, Gustav Mahler
and many other prominent composers and conductors. He had begun a promising career as a serious composer of...
Award-winning composer/songwriter ("Exodus" [Grammy/Academy Awards, 1960] ). He joined ASCAP in 1957, and his other popular-song compositions include the title songs for "On the Beach" and "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World".
The author of the textbook "F.Skinner's Simplified Method for Modern Arranging" (published 1934) began his musical career as a pianist in vaudeville alongside his brother Carl. He then became a noted arranger for New York dance orchestras in the 1930's and was briefly active in the field of music publishing...
Franz Waxman (Wachsmann) pursued his dream of a career in music despite his family's misgivings. He worked for several years as a bank teller and paid for piano, harmony and composition lessons with his salary. He later moved to Berlin, where he continued his study and progress as a musician. He was able to support himself by playing and arranging for a popular German jazz band...
was the son of the composer Victor Hollaender, who composed shows in Berlin in the 1890s to 1910s. Frederick received early musical training, since 1913 he was student of opera composer Engelbert Humperdinck
(who composed Hänsel und Gretel). He started as repetitor at a theater in Prague, and became - inspite of his classical training...
Composer and pianist, educated at the Curtis Music Settlement School. He studied with Constantin von Sternberg, Ernest Bloch and Clark Smith under a Guggenheim Fellowship. In Europe, he gave piano recitals between 1921-1926. He wrote incidental music to the play "Oedipus". Besides his film music, his compositions include six symphonies...
George Duning was educated in Cincinnati, Ohio, and during his early 20s played trumpet and piano for the Kay Kyser
band, later arranging most of the music for Kyser's popular "Kollege of Musical Knowledge" radio program. It was during the Kyser band's appearance in Carolina Moon
that Duning's work was noticed, leading to a contract with Columbia Pictures.
He was born Jacob Gershowitz, 26 September 1898, in Brooklyn, New York, of Russian-Jewish immigrants. As a boy he could play popular and classical works on his brother Ira's piano by ear. In 1913 he quit school to study music and began composing for Tin Pan Alley; by 1919 he had his first hit "Swanee" and his first Broadway show "La...
At the least George Auric was a fine musician, having been a child prodigy, but he was much more in the musical world. He studied under Vincent D'Indy (a devotee of Cesar Franck and the German school of symphonic composition) and attended the Paris Conservatory (1920). By the time he was 20 he had orchestrated and written incidental music for ballets and the stage...
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, but brought up in Pennsylvania, where he played the flute in a local band, as a youth, before sending some arrangements to Benny Goodman
. Goodman offered him a job and, after serving in WWII, he joined the rearranged Glenn Miller
band. In 1952, he was given a two-week assignment...
Hugo Friedhofer -- how many times have you seen that name in the credits of 1930s and '40s movies for "orchestration" or "musical arranger" and thought -- Gee, what a busy guy! He was, and, ironically, much of that work went uncredited. He is not usually mentioned with the great film composers of early Hollywood...
Academy Award-winning composer (score, Pinocchio (1940), conductor, songwriter ("When You Wish Upon a Star" [Academy award, Best Song, 1940) and arranger Leigh Harine was educated at the University of Utah. He was a music student of J. Spencer Cornwall. He arranged the first transcontinental broadcast from Los Angeles in 1932...
Born in Northampton on 21st October 1921, Malcolm Arnold studied composition with Gordon Jacob and trumpet with Ernest Hall at the Royal College of Music. In 1941 he joined the trumpet section of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, becoming principal by 1943. After two years of war service and one season...
Austrian composer who achieved legendary status as the creator of hundreds of classic American film scores. As a child he was astonishingly musically gifted, composing complex works as a teenager and completing the course of study at Vienna's Hochschule fuer Musik und Darstellende Kunst in only one year...
'Miklos Rozsa' studied the violin from the age of five. In 1926, he began studying at the Leipzig Conservatory. In 1929, his violin concerto was performed there. While living in Paris from 1931, Rozsa had his 'Variations on a Hungarian Peasant Song' and his 'Symphony and Serenade for Small Orchestra' performed...
Paul J. Smith
Paul was the son of J.J. Smith, who was a professor at the College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho in the early 1900's. It was a very musical family. Father J J composed a number of songs for the College. Paul became music director for Disney. His brother Arthur also became a studio musician and played on films and TV shows.
Polish-born composer and violinist, under contract at RKO from 1938, initially writing music for serialised B-movies, including the 'Mexican Spitfire' and 'Falcon' series. In the 1940's, he free-lanced for several of the lesser studios, such as Eagle-Lion and Republic, before joining Universal in 1944...
Violinist and conductor Victor Young was a prolific composer and arranger, who worked on more than 300 film scores over a period of twenty years. He came from an impoverished, but musical background and was trained on the violin at the Warsaw Imperial Conservatory, later studying piano in Paris under the French master Isidor Philipp...
William Walton came from a musical family. He entered Christ Church, Oxford at the early age of sixteen but left without a degree in 1920. A fine musician, he was essentially self-taught as a composer, except some instruction from Hugh Allen, the cathedral organist. Through literary friends and other associations he became acquainted with the London music and cultural scene...