Jerome Kern

Jerome David Kern ( born January 27, 1885 in New York; † November 11, 1945 ) was an American composer.


Jerome Kern was born in Sutton Place District of New York City the light of day. His parents were Jews who had emigrated from Germany to the United States. The musicality of the boy had inherited from his mother Fanny, who was a piano teacher. Jerome's father Henry was only an employee, but made later automatically when the family had moved to Newark, New Jersey. He acted with furniture and pianos. Henry Kern would have liked it if his son Jerry would be entered with him into the business; but nothing came of it. The boy wanted to take a job that has to do with music.

After high school graduation, he studied at the New York College of Music. His teachers have included Alexander Lambert, Austin Pierce and Paolo Gallico. Later he continued his studies in Heidelberg. In 1904 he returned to his homeland. From 1905 on, he has made repeated visits to extended periods in London. There he met Eva Leale, whom he married in 1910.

Although core had completed his studies with a degree of "Master of Music", he began his musical career with subordinate work, hired him to eventually one of the many Broadway theaters as samples pianist. There was a time in which many operettas from Europe on Broadway were applauded by the audience. Again and again he had to play the same tunes, until they had memorized the singer. Once he made ​​it to a joke by smuggled own melody in a European operetta song. Thus, a director and a theater producer to the young talent were attentive. The new fresh melody liked them better than the known. New songs by Jerome Kern in the European operettas Henceforth installed.

After the 1911 incurred Extravaganza " La Belle Paree ", for which he co-wrote with Frank Tours music, he spent one year later, his first of it alone composed the operetta " The Red Petticoat ". The success was low. After two months, the play closed. In 1914 he was awarded the contract to rebuild the English operetta " The Girl From Utah " for American needs and to expand their own songs. Now the first real success came for him. The notes of his song " They Did not Believe Me ", the big hit song of this piece were sold in millions of copies. In the next quarter-century core composed the music to 33 stage works. The most successful were "Sally" (1920 ) and " Sunny" (1925 ). In this case, more and more elements of European -sounding operetta were in favor of elements that are typical for the genus "Musical Comedy" were later, in the background.

The year 1927 brought Jerome Kern the height of his fame: In collaboration with librettist Oscar Hammerstein II the worldwide success " Show Boat " was born. The premiere took place on December 27, 1927 at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York and became a triumphant success. For the first time in a purely American stage work no longer lined up mere musical numbers, but rebuilt several times whole scenes musically dramatic.

Over the next decades, Jerome Kern often operated as a film composer, among other things, by many of his musicals for the booming genre in Hollywood " film music " worked. Twice he won the Oscar in the category " Best Song " in 1936 for "The Way You Look Tonight" from "Swing Time" and 1941 for " The Last Time I Saw Paris " from " Lady Be Good ".

On November 5, 1945 Jerome strolled core on Park Avenue in New York. He suffered a heart attack and fell unconscious on the street. Less than a week later he died.

Works (selection)



Film scores

Orchestral works


  • All the Things You Are
  • The Way You Look Tonight
  • The Folks who Live on the Hill
  • Make Believe
  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
  • Look for the Silver Lining
  • I'm Old Fashioned