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Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Lodève, Hérault, France
Died in Paris, France
Birth NameGeorges Abel Louis Auric

Mini Bio (1)

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. With some interest in the avant garde, he became a friend of Erik Satie and playwright Jean Cocteau and joined their friends, the musical group "Les Six", whose members were impressive: Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Arthur Honegger, Germaine Tailleferre (the only woman member), and Louis Durey. Auric moved into music criticism for a short time and then began composing for poetic and other textual formats from his Les Six associations. But his stylistic development would prove to be very classical in sympathy.

He especially continued his association with Cocteau who finally turned to films, and Auric turned to writing film scores. Their first collaboration was Cocteau's Blood of the Poet (1930). But Auric did the scores of many small format movies with other French directors through the 1930s and the war years. He was also interested in what the British were doing in film work. His first UK score was for Dead of Night (1945), a stylish horror film. The same year he also scored the Bernard Shaw comedic Caesar and Cleopatra (1945) with Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh. The next year he scored perhaps his most famous musical partnership with Cocteau, Beauty and the Beast (1946). Auric's haunting, subdued music for the movie would be typical of his inventive style of transparent orchestration in which he might use only a few instruments at a time in a particular passage but eventually employ all the usual orchestral instrumentation in this progression to convey the whole of his score. Auric's music (here Stravinsky-like) provided the perfect atmospheric score for the eerie British horror classic The Queen of Spades (1949).

Auric's first American score very much displayed his depth in conveying the nuances of mood change in a story musically. This was the wonderful, bittersweet comedy Roman Holiday (1953), directed by William Wyler and introducing a vivacious Audrey Hepburn to the silver screen. On through the 1950s and into the 1960s Auric was very busy with scores predominately of French films but some notable British and American efforts as well. Among several for the English language were the charming American war drama Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957) with Deborah Kerr and - with Kerr again - the spooky 'Henry James' novel ("Turn of the Screw") UK adaptation The Innocents (1961). For the remainder of the 1960s and sporadically in the mid 1970s, Auric did some additional scoring, mostly French TV, but he was busy elsewhere as of 1962 being director of Paris Opera. Providing a unique finesse to film music, George Auric contributed nearly 130 scores, placing him along side some of the most prolific of the contemporary Hollywood film composers.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: William McPeak

Spouse (2)

Michèle Battaïni (9 June 1982 - 23 July 1983) ( his death)
Eléonore Vilter (27 October 1930 - 30 March 1982) ( her death)

Trivia (2)

Member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1972
Member of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1960

See also

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