Korngold biography

Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897 – 1957) is best known for his film scores, and is considered one of the founding fathers of the genre.

  • Born in Brünn in Austria-Hungary (now the Czech Republic), Korngold made waves when he played his cantata Gold to Gustav Mahler in 1906. The older composer called him a musical genius and recommended he study with Austrian musician Alexander von Zemlinsky.
  • At the age of 11, Korngold was successful once more with the composition of his ballet, Der Schneemann, which was extremely well received at the Vienna Court Opera.
  • By 1914, he'd composed his first two operas, Der Ring des Polykrates and Violanta, and completed Die tote Stadt in 1920 at the age of 23.
  • In 1934, director Max Reinhardt asked Korngold to Hollywood to adapt Mendelssohn's music for A Midsummer Night's Dream to fit his film version. From that moment on, Korngold became known for his characteristic film scores.
  • Warner Brothers asked him back to Hollywood to write for The Adventures of Robin Hood, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Original Score.
  • By 1943, Korngold was so taken with the States that he became a citizen of the US, and focused on writing primarily for films.
  • After the end of World War II, Korngold continued to write rich, Romantic music, but retreated from the world of films in order to focus on the concert hall. His Violin Concerto is among his more popular later works.

Did you know? Violinist Nicola Benedetti created a 'viral' effect by recording Korngold's beautiful Violin Concerto. There were limited recordings available, but more players have attempted the work after being introduced by the young Scottish performer.

Nicola Benedetti plays Korngold - Video