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Dimitri Tiomkin

Russian Born 10 May 1894 Died 11 Nov 1979

A film composer with an incredible 23 Academy Award nominations, Dimitri Tiomkin is most famous for his scores to the Westerns High Noon (1952) and The Alamo (1960). During his career in Hollywood, he wrote for a range of genres, ranging from thrillers (Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder) to Science Fiction (The Thing from Another World).

Tiomkin was born in the Ukraine on 10 May 1894 and trained primarily as a concert pianist at the St Petersburg Conservatory and in Berlin. In 1928, he gave the European première of Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F at the Paris Opéra, but left Europe the following year to accompany his wife, choreographer Albertina Rasch, to Hollywood. The success of his music to Lost Horizon (1937) resulted in a thriving career in films.

During the Second World War, Tiomkin mainly worked on war documentaries, and it wasn't until the 1950s that his personal style began to crystallise. Influenced by the Russian and French concert hall music of the 19th and 20th centuries, Tiomkin's scores are colourful but compact, with a strong rhythmic drive. He was also a talented song-smith and wrote a number of songs for inclusion in his film scores, including 'The Green Leaves of Summer' from The Alamo. Tiomkin retired from Hollywood in 1968 having scored approximately 140 films, and settled in London. He died there on 11 November 1979.

Related composers: Max Steiner, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Alfred Newman

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