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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 5 February 1902Warsaw, Poland, Russian Empire [now Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland]
Date of Death 26 April 1983Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (cancer)
Birth NameBronislaw Kaper

Mini Bio (1)

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. At twenty-one he graduated from The Chopin Music School. To continue his musical education he went to Berlin. In order to support himself during this period he began writing songs for a cabaret. Later he worked as an arranger and a composer for both stage and film productions. In 1933, as the Nazis rose to power in Germany, Kaper moved to Paris and worked in the French film industry. This phase of his career lasted only two years, for in 1935 MGM executive Louis B. Mayer was on vacation in Europe and happened to hear one of Kaper's songs. Mayer offered the composer a contract, and Kaper soon found himself working in Hollywood. One of his first efforts for MGM was the title tune for the film San Francisco (1936), a song which was so appealing to the American public that it became a standard. During his early years at MGM, the studio kept Kaper busy as a songwriter. But the composer looked for opportunities to write complete background scores. In the forties he did provide music for dramatic films such as Gaslight (1944), Green Dolphin Street (1947) and Act of Violence (1949). This last film, a disturbing thriller directed by Fred Zinneman, shows how sophisticated and daring Kaper's music could be. Drawing on his knowledge of modern composition, he was surprisingly successful at incorporating dissonant, abstract sounds into his film scores considering the conservative tastes that prevailed in Hollywood. But it is important to note that the composer always depended on others to orchestrate his work. Kaper wrote his scores at the piano. Then he would give what he'd written to an orchestrator and they would discuss how to expand on the piano reduction. In the fifties Kaper was given more opportunities to show his range. He created edgy, modern scores for films like Them! (1954) and rich, romantic scores for films like The Brothers Karamazov (1958), while still turning out catchy melodies for musicals like Lili (1953). By the end of the decade, though, it was clear that the Hollywood studios were in decline and that the days of in-house music departments were over. When the ax fell at MGM, Kaper went on working as a freelance film composer. One of his last major film assignments was Lord Jim (1965), an adaptation of the Conrad novel. To complement the epic scope of the film, Kaper used not only a large symphony orchestra but also many instruments indigenous to the story's Asian setting. Like most Hollywood composers of the studio era, Kaper found himself working on fewer movies during the sixties. His last credit on a theatrical release was A Flea in Her Ear (1968). Though he was later hired to work on The Salzburg Connection (1972), his score was discarded. Kaper died at his home in Los Angeles in 1983. by Casey Maddren Bibliography The Film Music of Bronislaw Kaper, notes by Tony Thomas, Delos Records, 1975 Variety, obituary, May 4, 1983 Interview with Pete Rugolo conducted by the author, 1998

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Casey Maddren

Trivia (1)

Born Bronislaw Kaper, his name was misread during his immigration years (the closing "w", hastily printed, was read as "u" by people not knowing the Slavic names). As a result, he is often, incorrectly, referred to as "Bronislau" Kaper - a name which does not exist and never has.

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