Loewe, Frederick

Loewe, Frederick (“Fritz”)

(1904–88) composer; born in Vienna, Austria. Son of Edmund Loewe, an operetta tenor, at age 13 he was the youngest pianist to solo with the Berlin Symphony. At age 15 he composed "Katrina" (1919), which sold two million copies of sheet music in Europe. Although he had studied with great European masters of the piano, when he came to the U.S.A. in 1924 he failed as a piano virtuoso. He took up a series of odd jobs—prospecting for gold, professional boxing—but by the mid-1930s he had launched his career as a composer for the musical theater. Not until he teamed up with lyricist Alan Jay Lerner in 1942, however, did he find his true talent; their first big success was Brigadoon (1947) and this was followed by such classic stage and film musical scores as My Fair Lady (1956), Gigi (1958), and Camelot (1960). This last led to their falling-out and they did not collaborate again until in 1973 when they made a stage version of their film musical, Gigi. Their last collaboration was The Little Prince (1974), after which Loewe retired.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.