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Bernard Herrmann


HERRMANN, BERNARD (1911–1975), U.S. composer and conductor. Born in New York City, Herrmann studied at New York University and the Juilliard School of Music with Percy Grainger, Philip James, and Bernard Wagenaar. He composed music for radio, and became one of the world's most famous composers of film scores (40 scores between 1941 and 1966), notably for Orson Welles (Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons) and Alfred Hitchcock, including Psycho, in which he displayed new sensitivity and dramatic understanding of the medium. His other works include Moby Dick (1937), a dramatic cantata for male chorus, soloists, speakers, and large orchestra; the operas Wuthering Heights (1951), A Christmas Carol (1954), and A Child is Born (1955); a musical, The King of Schnorrers (1970); many orchestral works; and a string quartet, Echoes. As a conductor, Herrmann took special interest in little-known works (his championship of Charles Ives is noteworthy in this respect) and made many recordings. He spent the last 10 years of his life in England, continuing conducting and composing.

Sources:Grove online; E. Johnson: Bernard Herrmann: Hollywood's Music-Dramatist (1977); S.C. Smith: A Heart at Fire's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann (1991)

[Max Loppert /Israela Stein (2nd ed.)]

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