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Max Steiner

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Biography

Max Steiner

Source: findagrave.com

Max Steiner (May 10, 1888 – December 28, 1971) was an Austrian American composer of music for theatre productions and films. He probably is known best for the score he composed for Gone with the Wind and for the score and theme song for the film A Summer Place.

Steiner was born Maximilian Raoul Steiner in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. Later on in his life he found out he had a half brother named James Owen, with whom he co-wrote the song Theme from A Summer Place. His paternal grandfather was Maximilian Steiner (1830-1880), the influential manager of Vienna's Theater an der Wien; his father was Gabor Steiner (1858-1944), Viennese impresario and carnival and exposition manager, responsible for the Ferris wheel in the Prater that would become the setting for a key scene of the film The Third Man (1949); his godfather was the composer Richard Strauss. A child prodigy in composing, Steiner received piano instruction from Johannes Brahms and, at the age of sixteen, enrolled at the Imperial Academy of Music (now known as the University of Music and Performing Arts), where he was taught by Gustav Mahler among others. His musical aptitudes enabled him to complete the school's four-year program in only two.

At the age of 16 Steiner wrote and conducted the operetta The Beautiful Greek Girl. At the start of World War I, he was working in London and was classified as an enemy alien but was befriended by the Duke of Westminster and given exit papers. He arrived in New York City in December 1914 with $32 to his name.

Steiner worked in New York for eleven years as a musical director, arranger, orchestrator, and conductor of Broadway operettas and musicals written by Victor Herbert, Jerome Kern, Vincent Youmans, and George Gershwin, among others. His credits included George White's Scandals (1922), Lady, Be Good (1924), and Rosalie (1928).

In 1929, Steiner went to Hollywood to orchestrate the European film version of the Florenz Ziegfield show Rio Rita for RKO. The score for King Kong (1933) made Steiner's reputation; it was one of the first American films to have an extensive musical score. He conducted the scores for several Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals, including Top Hat (1935) and Roberta (1935).

Steiner scored hundreds of Hollywood films, and was the most prominent composer in the music department at Warner Bros., where he wrote the famous fanfare that introduced most of the studio's films from 1937 to 1952, and was used most recently in 1984. It was also used as the fanfare for Warner Home Video from 1986 to 1997. Steiner continued to score Warner films until the mid 1960s. Until approximately 1943 he worked with noted orchestrator and composer Hugo Friedhofer; thereafter it was Murray Cutter. After his final contract with Warners ended in 1953, Steiner began to freelance, working for other studios, though he continued to return to Warners on a regular basis. His final original film score was the 1965 film Two on a Guillotine. He also wrote music for several of the television series produced by Warner Brothers.

Fact file

  • Born: Maximilian Raoul Steiner May 10, 1888
  • Died: December 28, 1971 (Aged 93)
  • Occupation: Composer

Read more about Max Steiner at Wikipedia or at the Internet Movie Database

In the news

chrislwillman
Variety, 2019-04-28 16:50:34
The city of Vienna will honor composer Gabriel Yared with the Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award as part of their Hollywood in Vienna gala Oct. 19, organizers of the annual event announced Sunday. The night before receiving the award, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning Yared is slated to perform selections ...

Hans Zimmer Named Recipient of Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award at Hollywood in Vienna
Billboard, 2018-04-21 21:57:43
Hans Zimmer will receive the Max Steiner Film Achievement Award during the annual Hollywood in Vienna gala on Oct. 19.  The gala, which is...

shalperinvar
Variety, 2018-04-21 15:50:51
Composer Hans Zimmer will receive the 2018 Max Steiner Award at the annual Hollywood in Vienna concert gala. The event is scheduled for Oct. 19 at the Konzerthaus in the Austrian capital, Hollywood in Vienna founder and CEO Sandra Tomek announced. “Hans Zimmer has had a close connection to Vienna ...

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