The film industry’s most respected composer, Elmer Bernstein, celebrates his 80th birthday at a very special concert at the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday 9 October 2002.
Accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernstein will conduct the music from his many film and television scores that has earned him Oscar nominations and a name that can be found in the credits of Hollywood’s best films.
Last year was an auspicious milestone for Bernstein, as it marked his 50th anniversary as a feature-film composer of over 200 major film and television scores. Recognised with countless awards for his work in film, television, stage and audio recording, Bernstein is a thirteen-time Academy Award nominee, winning the award in 1976 for his score for Thoroughly Modern Millie. Other nominated scores include The Man with the Golden Arm, The Magnificent Seven, Summer and Smoke, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Return of the Seven, Hawaii, True Grit, Trading Places, and The Age of Innocence. His Oscar nominated songs include Walk on the Wild Side, My Wishing Doll and Wherever Love Takes Me.
Bernstein has also received five Grammy nominations from the National Academy of Recording Arts, garnered two of Broadway’s coveted Tony Award nominations and was awarded an Emmy in 1963. Additional honours include Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Circle, American Society of Composers, ASCAP, The Society for the Preservation of Film Music, the USA Film Festival, the Foundation for a Creative America and the Flanders International Film Festival. In 1996 Bernstein was honoured with a star on Hollywood Boulevard.
Bernstein first made his mark as a film composer with his innovative score for The Man with the Golden Arm, the first all-jazz score for a motion picture. This work is credited with virtually changing the sound of American film music, creating new colours and tones for a whole generation of composers who would follow him. His music went on to create another new trend when the score for The Magnificent Seven defined the sound of the Western. During the 60s and 70s he scored the last seven films of John Wayne including True Grit.
Bernstein kept breaking new ground scoring some of the biggest blockbuster comedies of the 70s and 80s including Animal House, Airplane!, Ghostbusters and Three Amigos.
Bernstein then sought out independent films which were significant in their messages and character portrayals and his scores included My Left Foot, Da! and The Field.
He has worked with the most innovative top directors including Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot), Stephen Frears (The Grifters), Francis Ford Coppola (The Rainmaker) John Landis (American Werewolf in London), Edward Norton (Keeping the Faith) and Martin Scorsese (The Age of Innocence, Bringing Out the Dead)
He is currently working on his sixth film with Scorsese, scoring the music for the forthcoming film Gangs of New York a film about Irish immigrants arriving in 19th-Century New York City and due to be released later this year. Martin Scorsese has said of working with Elmer Bernstein – ‘Elmer is part of the pantheon of great film composers. He’s without equal and I’m honoured to be working with him. He’s the best there is the very best.’
In addition to his work in film, theatre and TV, Bernstein has composed numerous pieces for the concert hall including two song cycles, three suites for symphony orchestra, a guitar concerto and compositions for viola and piano.
Although in his 80th year, Elmer Bernstein has no plans to retire but will continue to grace virtually all creative media with his work, as he as done for the past half century. When not working he spends his time at one of his three homes in Santa Barbara, Woodstock N.Y. and his 14th century house in Warwick, England.
Tickets are available from the Royal Albert Hall on 020 7589 8212 / www.royalalberthall.com