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Dimitri Zinovievich Tiomkin ( , Dmytro Zynoviyovych Tiomkin, , Dmitrij Zinov'evič Tëmkin, sometimes transliterated as Dmitri Tiomkin) (May 10, 1894November 11, 1979) was a film score composer and conductor. Along with Max Steiner, Miklós Rózsa, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and Franz Waxman, Tiomkin was one of the most productive and decorated film music writers of Hollywoodmarker.

Biography

Tiomkin was born of Jewish parents in Kremenchukmarker, Ukrainemarker, and educated at the Saint Petersburg Conservatorymarker in Russiamarker, where he studied piano with Felix Blumenfeld and harmony and counterpoint with Alexander Glazunov. In 1920, while working for the Petrograd Military District Political Administration (PUR), he was one of the lead organizers of two revolutionary mass spectacles, the "Mystery of Liberated Labor," a pseudo-religious mystery play for the May Day festivities, and "The Storming of the Winter Palace" for the celebrations of the third anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.

In 1924 Tiomkin left the USSRmarker and moved to Berlinmarker, where his father was practising as a doctor, and had lessons with Ferruccio Busoni. He emigrated to the United Statesmarker in 1925, moved to Hollywood in 1930 with his wife, dancer Albertina Rasch (1895-1967), and became a U.S. citizen in 1937.

Although influenced by Eastern European music traditions, he was able to score typical American movies like Frank Capra's Lost Horizon (1937), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). He also worked on Fred Zinnemann's High Noon (1952), which also won him a Best Song Oscar for “Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin'” (“The Ballad of High Noon”) along with his frequent collaborator, lyricist Ned Washington. Years later, this song was recorded by the Brazilianmarker rock band Legião Urbana. He won the Academy Award for best scoring of the John Wayne film The High and the Mighty (1954); during the telecast ceremonies in 1955, Tiomkin humorously thanked all of the earlier composers who had influenced him in writing this music; among them were Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and many of the other great names of European classical music.

Tiomkin scored four films for Alfred Hitchcock: Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Strangers on a Train (1951), I Confess (1952) and Dial M for Murder (1954).

Many of his scores were for Western movies, including High Noon (1952), Giant (1956), Friendly Persuasion (1956), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), Rio Bravo (1959), and The Alamo (1960). Tiomkin also composed the music for The Guns of Navarone (1961), Town Without Pity (1961), 55 Days at Peking (1963), The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), and The War Wagon (1967).

He was the first composer to receive two Oscars (score and song) for the same dramatic film, High Noon. The film uses a song to introduce the film and the lyrics tell the whole story in under 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

However, one of Dimitri Tiomkin's scores for a classic film has not become as famous as his others. His music for the 1950 Cyrano de Bergerac, the first screen version in English of Edmond Rostand's classic French play (and the film for which actor Jose Ferrer won his only Oscar), is very rarely heard outside the film, is almost never performed in concert, has never been given an extensive recording, and was not nominated for an Oscar.

Besides cinema he was also active in writing for the small screen, writing some memorable television theme songs, including Rawhide (1959) and Gunslinger. He was also hired to write the theme for TV's The Wild Wild West (1965), but the producers rejected his work and hired Richard Markowitz. A cover version of the theme from Rawhide was performed in the 1980 cult musical film The Blues Brothers, the in-joke that the composer is a Ukrainian-born Jew being lost on the crowd at the cowboy bar.

Besides writing music for several television series, Tiomkin made a few appearances as himself on television programs. These include being the mystery challenger on What's My Line? and an appearance on Jack Benny's CBS program in December 1961, in which he attempted to help Jack write a song.

He also wrote the music to the song Wild Is The Wind. It was originally recorded by Johnny Mathis for the the 1957 film Wild Is the Wind. It is mostly well-known as a jazz singer Nina Simone's standard. The song carried on in a 1976 David Bowie's cover (Bowie being a long time admirer of Simone). In 1981, David Bowie released a single of the same name, which became a hit in the UK charts.

Dimitri Tiomkin died in Londonmarker, Englandmarker in 1979 and was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemeterymarker in Glendale, Californiamarker.

Legacy

A number of Tiomkin's film scores were released on LP soundtrack albums, including Giant and The Alamo. Some of the recordings, which usually featured Tiomkin conducting his own music, have been reissued on CD.

In 1976, RCA Victor released Lost Horizon: The Classic Film Scores of Dimitri Tiomkin (US catalogue #ARL1-1669, UK catalogue #GL 43445) with Charles Gerhardt and the National Philharmonic Orchestra. Featuring highlights from various Tiomkin scores, the album was later reissued by RCA on CD with Dolby Surround Sound.

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards, USA

  • 1972 - nominated for "Best Music, Scoring Adaptation and Original Song" Score for Chaikovsky (1969)
  • 1965 - nominated for "Best Music, Score - Substantially Original" for: The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)
  • 1964 - nominated for "Best Music, Original Song" and "Best Music, Score - Substantially Original" for 55 Days at Peking (1963)
  • 1962 - nominated for "Best Music, Original Song" for Town Without Pity (1961) AND for "Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture" for The Guns of Navarone (1961)
  • 1961 - nominated for "Best Music, Original Song" and for "Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture" for The Alamo (1960)
  • 1961 - nominated for "Best Music, Original Song" for The Young Land (1959)
  • 1959 - won an Oscar for "Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture" for The Old Man and the Sea (1958)
  • 1958 - nominated for "Best Music, Original Song" for Wild Is the Wind (1957)
  • 1957 - nominated for "Best Music, Original Song" for Friendly Persuasion, "Best Scoring of a Dramatic Picture" for "Giant" (1956)
  • 1955 - nominated for "Best Music, Original Song" for The High and the Mighty (1954) and won an Oscar for "Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture" for the same movie
  • 1953 - won (with Ned Washington) an Oscar for "Best Music, Original Song" for High Noon (1952) for "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin'", sung by Tex Ritter
  • 1953 - won an Oscar for "Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture" for High Noon (1952)
  • 1950 - nominated for "Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture" for Champion (1949)
  • 1945 - nominated for "Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture" for The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1944)
  • 1944 - nominated for "Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture" for The Moon and Sixpence (1943)
  • 1943 - nominated for "Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture" for The Corsican Brothers (1941)
  • 1940 - nominated for "Best Music, Scoring" for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)


Golden Globes

  • 1965 for "Best Original Score" for The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)
  • 1962 for "Best Motion Picture Score" for The Guns of Navarone (1961) AND for "Best Motion Picture Song" for Town Without Pity (1961)
  • 1961 for "Best Original Score" for The Alamo (1960)
  • 1957 he received the "Special Award" as "Recognition for film music"
  • 1955 he received the "Special Award" "For creative musical contribution to Motion Picture"
  • 1953 for "Best Motion Picture Score" for High Noon (1952)


References



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