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ROZSA, Miklos

ROZSA, Miklos
Miklos Rozsa

Miklos Rozsa was born in Budapest in 1907 and from an early age demonstrated his mother's same affinity for music. (His mother had trained as a pianist at the Liszt Academy.) He learned the violin, the viola and the piano and was publicly performing Mozart at the age of 7. A musical career awaited, and he was inspired by Bartok, Kodaly and Liszt among others, and shared their liking for Hungarian folk music. He studied formally at the University of Leipzig and there he composed a number of classical works including his first Violin Concerto. He continued composing after moving to Paris and won the attention of Richard Strauss and Dohnanyi. He studied further in London's Trinity College and his first film music was for European films by directors Jacques Feyder and Alexander Korda. When war broke out in Europe, Rozsa moved to the U.S. where his music for "The Thief of Bagdad" brought him instant attention and an oscar nomination. He continued his work in hollywood with a distinguished and prolific career scoring numerous well-known movies. Among these are several examples of classic "Film Noir" before he carved out a new reputation with several notable scores for historical and/or biblical epics such as Ben-Hur, "Quo Vadis" and "El Cid". He was also a music tutor to Jerry Goldsmith.

Throughout his years in film music, Rozsa continued to consider opportunities to create music for the concert hall. He composed another Violin Concerto for Jascha Heifetz in 1953 for example, and his "Sinfonia Concertante" for Violin, Cello and orchestra is essentially a double concerto for Heitetz and Gregor Piatigorsky. He later wrote a full Cello Concerto for Janos Starker, and his concert version of his music for "Spellbound" is very much in the form of a Piano Concerto. His health declined in later years and one project to create Choral Suites from the Biblical Epics was interrupted by his death in 1995, though completed by friends and pupils of the composer

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