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Bernard Herrmann

Bernard Herrmann


6/29/1911, New York, NY



Birth Name

Bernard Herrmann



Also Known As

Benny, Bernard Hermann
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One of the most brilliant composers of the twentieth century, Bernard Herrmann has been neglected by some musicologists because, despite composing concert pieces and an opera (based on "Wuthering Heights"), he mostly worked in the media, gaining initial fame as a composer for radio shows in the 1930s…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Bernard died within a few hours of completion of recording the soundtrack for Taxi Driver (1976).

    • Bernard's main theme for Psycho (1960) was copied almost note for note by composer Richard Band for the cult-favorite horror film Re-Animator (1985).

    • Composer John Williams did an homage to Bernard's score for Psycho (1962) in his score for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). Listen very closely for the 3-note motif from Bernard's Psycho score when Han and the others emerge from the smuggling compartments after the Millennium Falcon is captured and brought aboard the Death Star.

    • Composer Danny Elfman cites Bernard as his #1 influence. Elfman did re-orchestrate Bernard's original score for the remake of Psycho (1960) in 1998.

    • Bernard was close personal friends with Elmer Bernstein and British composer Sir Malcolm Arnold.

    • Bernard wrote an opera version of "Wuthering Heights" as well as a cantata of "Moby Dick."

    • Bernard refused to have his name listed in the credits of The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) as he was did not like the additions made to his music in the post-production editiing of the film.

    • Bernard was chosen to score Carrie (1976), but died before filming finished and he was replaced by Pino Dinaggio.

    • Bernard won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association award for Best Music for Taxi Driver (1976).

    • Bernard was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special for Taxi Driver (1976).

    • Bernard was nominated by the Golden Globe awards for Best Motion Picture Score on The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951).

    • Bernard was nominated for an Emmy for Best Original Music for the Shower Of Stars episode "A Christmas Carol" in 1954.

    • Bernard won the Oscar for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture for The Devil And Daniel Webster (1941) and was nominated four other times for Best Original Score for Citizen Kane (1941), Anna And The King Of Siam (1947), Obsession (1976), and Taxi Driver (1976).

    • Bernard was one of the first American film score composers to make use of the electronic musical instrument, the theremin, in compositions.

    • Bernard composed the score for Orson Welles' famous "War Of The Worlds" broadcast on Halloween, 1938.

    • Bernard formed his own orchestra, formed his own orchestra, The New Chamber Orchestra of New York in 1931.

    • Bernard's television series themes include the first season theme for The Twilight Zone and Have Gun - Will Travel.

    • Bernard's unused score for Torn Curtain (1966) was later released on CD by Varese Sarabande.

    • Bernard won a $100 music composition prize at the age of 13.

  • Quotes

    • Bernard Herrmann: Good film music ...can invest a scene with terror, grandeur, gaiety or misery ... propel narrative swiftly forward, or slow it down.

    • Bernard Herrmann: I wrote the main title to Psycho before Saul Bass even did the animation. After the main title, nothing much happens for 20 minutes or so. Appearances, of course, are deceiving, for in fact the drama starts immediately with the titles. I am firmly convinced, and so is Hitchcock, that after the main titles you know something terrible must happen. The main title sequence tells you so, and that is its function: to set the drama. You don't need cymbal crashes or records that never sell.

    • Bernard Herrmann Your views are as narrow as your tie.

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