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Bernard Herrmann

Composer

About this Artist

Born: 1911, New York City
Died: 1975, North Hollywood

“To orchestrate is like a thumbprint. I can’t understand having someone else do it. It would be like someone putting color to your paintings.”

Musically precocious, Bernard Herrmann won a composition prize at age 13, founded his own orchestra at age 20, and joined CBS as a staff conductor three years later, eventually becoming Chief Conductor of the CBS Symphony Orchestra. Through his work at CBS he met Orson Welles, writing or arranging music for Welles’ radio programs, and then following Welles into films; Citizen Kane was his first film score. Herrmann’s most famous relationship was with Alfred Hitchcock, for whom he scored seven films. His only Academy Award, however, came for William Dieterle’s The Devil and Daniel Webster. He was widely acclaimed for distinctive orchestration, such as the use of theremins in The Day the Earth Stood Still, or the string scoring for Psycho.

Further listening:

Taxi Driver: A Night-Piece for Orchestra (1975)
LA Phil, Salonen (Sony) 

Vertigo: Original Soundtrack (1958)
(Varèse Sarabande)