Alfred Newman (composer)

Alfred Newman ( born March 17, 1901 in New Haven, Connecticut, † February 17, 1970 in Hollywood) was one of the most influential figures in the American film music and worked mostly as a film composer and conductor - as well as an influential music director at 20th Century Fox.

Life and work

Newman showed talent as a child to play the piano. He came from a poor family and had nine siblings (including Emil and Lionel Newman, also composers, as well as the medical Irving Newman), but using different sides made ​​it possible that his talent was promoted continuously. In a Broadway theater he was presented as a piano prodigy. The most he learned from the Polish composer and pianist Sigismond Stojowski. Through his teachings, he won two times in a row, a music competition.

His professional career began as a musical conductor. In 1930 he left New York City to Hollywood to direct the music for a film and remained at coaxing the producer Samuel Goldwyn. For twenty years he worked at 20th Century Fox as head of the music department and coined thanks to its great influence to the music and aesthetic design of the films of this studio. Many great composers such as Bernard Herrmann, Hugo Friedhofer, Alex North and David Raksin owed ​​him again and again new orders. Newman also experimented already in his forties with new recording techniques and took for the Mercury label to multiple records, which were considered to be sound technical references.

Newman's work as a manager and conductor ran to his work as a composer always parallel. From 1960 until his death in 1970 he was working freelance. In over 40 years, Newman has provided more than 250 films with music. With 45 nominations, he has won nine Academy Awards, of which only one of his own compositions, eight for compiled and edited soundtracks.

The best-known composition is the Newman fanfare by 20th Century Fox. When his most important film scores Wuthering Heights, The Song of Bernadette, The Robe, The West Was Won, The Greatest Story Ever Told and Airport apply.

In 1939 he stood for the film music for life ( They Shall Have Music), whose music Newman was nominated for an Oscar in 1940, even before the camera. He plays a slightly unworldly, kind of a music school and conductor who has the musical education of poorer children prescribed. Its economically hopeless position is hedged at the end by a concert with violinist Jascha Heifetz and its financial support.

Alfred's sons Thomas Newman and David Newman have risen even to highly sought after film composers. His nephew Randy Newman operated for decades both as a singer / songwriter and as a composer for film and television productions.

The comic character Alfred E. Neumann from the MAD magazine is named after Alfred Newman be (see links).

Filmography (selection)


Conducted (selection)