Korngold, Erich Wolfgang

Korngold, Erich Wolfgang,

1897–1957, American composer of film and concert music and opera, b. Brünn, Austria-Hungary (now Brno, Czech Republic). He began composing ballet music and operas in his teens, and his opera Die tote Stadt (The Dead City, 1920) was acclaimed in Europe. He subsequently revived the operettas of Johann Strauss the younger and Offenbach, and collaborated with producer-director Max ReinhardtReinhardt, Max,
1873–1943, Austrian theatrical producer and director, originally named Max Goldmann. After acting under Otto Brahm at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, he managed (1902–5) his own theater, where he produced more than 50 plays.
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. In the mid-1930s, beginning with his arrangement of Mendelssohn's music for Hollywood's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), he began dividing his time between Europe and the United States. His scores for the films Anthony Adverse (1936) and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) won Academy Awards. Through his use of theme motifs and leitmotifs for the characters in his film scores, Korngold became a major influence on modern film composers. His other compositions include the operas Der Ring des Polykrates (1914), Violanta (1916), and Das Wunder der Heliane (1927), the frequently performed Violin Concerto (1937, rev. 1945), and his only symphonic work, Symphony in F-Sharp, which draws from his film scores.


See biography by B. G. Carroll (1997); D. Goldmark and K. Karnes, eds., Korngold and His World (2019).

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Korngold, Erich Wolfgang

(1897–1957) composer; born in Brno, Moravia. A famous composer in Germany from his teens, he went on to considerable acclaim for such operas as Die tote Stadt (1920). He emigrated to Hollywood in 1934 and became one of the finest of screen composers, with scores including Robin Hood (1938) and The Sea Hawk (1940). After World War II he returned to composing serious concert music.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.