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Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany
Died in Marylebone, London, England, UK  (heart attack)
Birth NameKurt Kaiser

Mini Bio (1)

Kurt Kaiser was born into a family of German-Peruvian descent in Leipzig, Germany on 3 November 1906. At first he pursued an engineering career in Berlin, but in 1927 he joined the German-Jewish showband The Weintraub Syncopators, and enjoyed considerable success. Kurt played trombone, clarinet and saxophone, and did the musical arrangements. The group's most memorable assignment was accompanying Marlene Dietrich on screen in Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel, 1930). Owing to the anti-Jewish political climate, the Syncopators left Germany in 1933 to embark on a world tour. After performing in Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Italy, Scandinavia, Russia, China and Japan, the group decided to settle in Australia. Kurt took up residence in Sydney, and changed his name by deed poll to Sydney John Kay in honour of his adopted city. Unfortunately, when war broke out in 1939 he and the other Syncopators were interned as enemy aliens, and the group disbanded.

When eventually released Kay became musical director for the Colgate-Palmolive radio unit, and this led to film score composing for a number of Australian features and documentaries. For the stage Kay ran Sydney's Theatre for Children (1944-45), then became co-director (with young actor Peter Finch) of the Mercury Theatre based at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. On opening night, 16 July 1946, Kay directed and scored Gogol's Diamond Cut Diamond, and later he managed the Mercury Mobile Players who brought classic comedy to rural audiences, usually playing in little halls and factories at lunch time. In 1952 Kay ran the Mercury Theatre from St James Hall in Sydney, but financial problems led to its closure in late 1953. Kay's other musical works included songs such as Love Me Sailor (1948) and Come to Me (1952), two 1947 piano suites Lament and Comedia Espanol, and his orchestral Fantasy in D Minor which was premiered by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 1944. For the Borovansky Australian Ballet he composed a Romeo and Juliet suite in 1947, then wrote an opera Natasha and the Wolves.

After scoring the Australian-made television series Long John Silver in 1955, Kay decided to re-locate to England where he scored a number of British television series such as William Tell (1958) and The Invisible Man (1958). He continued to work as a freelance composer and arranger, sometimes using the name John Kurt Kay. His comic opera Strategy, based on the adventures of Casanova, was published in London in 1969. Sadly, the following year Kay suffered a heart attack at his Wimbledon home and died at the Middlesex Hospital, St. Marylebone on 24 May 1970, aged 63. His manuscripts and scores, however are preserved at the National Library of Australia in Canberra.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Marshall

Spouse (1)

Kathleen Lois Kay (? - 24 May 1970) ( his death)

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