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David Raksin

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Los Angeles, California
20th Century
Film/Television Music


David Raksin was born in 1912 in Philadelphia. His father played in the Philadelphia Orchestra and also conducted and performed in concert bands and for silent movies. David began as a pianist, and later learned woodwinds through lessons from his father. At twelve, he led his own dance band and soon was heard on the local CBS radio station. While at Central High School in Philidelphia, he taught himself orchestration. He paid for his education at the University of Pennsylvania by playing in society bands and radio orchestras. After graduation, he moved to New York City. He quickly found work playing and singing with several bands and arranging for orchestras. The great pianist, Oscar Levant, was performing in one of the orchestras that recorded Raksin's new arrangement of one of George Gershwin's songs, I Got Rhythm. Levant was so impressed, that he called his friend George Gershwin and urged him to listed to the broadcast. Gershwin got Raksin a job with the Harms/Chappell team that arranged the music of nearly every Broadway show of that time.

Raksin was then invited to Hollywood in 1935 to work with Charlie Chaplin with the music of Modern Times. He joined Edward Powell in orchestrating the scrore that he just created with Chaplin. He then worked as assistant to conductor, Leopold Stokowski, who premiered his concert piece, Montage, with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Since that time, Raksin has done a wide variety of musical projects. His many film scores include The Bad and the BeautifulForever AmberCarrie,Force of EvilThe Secret Life of Walter MittySeparate TablesToo Late BluesThe Redeemer and The Bad and The Beautiful.
He wrote themes and scores for over 300 television programs including Ben Casey and Life With Father as well as various CBS, NBC and ABC features. He also appeared on television in documentaries such as the CBC program on film music, with Aaron Copland and Sir William Walton, and acted in the pilot of the CBS series, Beacon Hill. He wrote and narrated on CBS Camera Three a program on the music of his friend and colleague, Bernard Herrmann. Raksin also worked in radio where he wrote, narrated and conducted interviews for a three-year series of 64 hour-long programs, The Subject is Film Music.
David Raksin's adapted many of his film scores for other ensembles. These works have been performed by some of the most prestgious orchestras in the world. Raksin has also taught Composition for films since 1956 at USC, where he is now an Adjunct Professor. He has been invited as artist-in-residence or guest composer on numerous college campuses around the country.
Since beginning his career in films in 1935, he has since composed music for more than 100 films, including Laura, the theme of which has become one of the most often recorded pieces in the history of that medium, with more than 400 different versions.

Main Works

Film Music:
52nd Street (1937)
As Good As Married (1937)
Don't Pull Your Punches (1937)
Let Them Live (1937)
Marked Woman (1937)
Marry The Girl (1937)
Midnight Court (1937)
San Quentin (1937)
She's Dangerous (1937)
The Mighty Treve (1937)
Wings Over Honolulu (1937)
The Kid Comes Back (1938)
Frontier Marshall (1939)
Holywood Cavalcade (1939)
Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1939)
Stanley And Livingstone (1939)
Suez (1939)
The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes (1939)
Dead Men Tell (1940)
Storm Warning (1940)
Ride On, Vaquero (1941)
The Men In Her Life (1941)
Dr. Renault's Secret (1942)
Just Off Broadway (1942)
Manila Calling (1942)
The Magnificent Dope (1942)
The Man Who Wouldn't Die (1942)
The Undying Monster (1942)
Whispering Ghosts (1942)
Who Is Hope Schuyler? (1942)
City Without Men (1943)
Something To Shout About (1943)
Laura (1944)
Tampico (1944)
Attack In The Pacific (1945)
Don Juan Quilligan (1945)
Fallen Angel (1945)
Where Do We Go From Here? (1945)
Smoky (1946)
Daisy Kenyon (1947)
Forever Amber (1947)
The Homestretch (1947)
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (1947)
The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947)
Apartment For Peggy (1948)
Force OF Evil (1948)
Fury At Furnace Creek (1948)
A Lady Without Passport (1950)
Grounds For Marriage (1950)
Right Cross (1950)
The Magnificent Yankee (1950)
The Next Voice You Hear (1950)
The Reformer And The Redhead (1950)
Whirlpool (1950)
Across The Wide Missouri (1951)
Kind Lady (1951)
The Man With A Cloak (1951
)Bloodhounds Of Broadway (1952)
Carrie (1952)
It's A Big Country (1952)
Pat And Mike (1952)
The Bad And The Beautiful (1952)
The Girl In White (1952)
Apache (1954)
Life With Father (1954)
Suddenly (1954)
The Big Combo (1955)
Bigger Than Life (1956)
Hilda Crane (1956)
Jubal (1956)
Seven Wonders Of The World (1956)
Gunsight Ridge (1957)
Man Of Fire (1957)
The Vintage (1957)
Until They Sail (1957)
Separate Tables (1958)
Twilight For The Gods (1958)
Al Capone (1959)
Father Of The Bride (1960)
Pay Or Die (1960)
Too Late Blues (1962)
Two Weeks In Another Town (1962)
Night Tide (1963)
Invitation To A Gunfighter (1964)
The Patsy (1964)
Love Has Many Faces (1965)
Sylvia (1965)
A Big Hand For The Little Lady (1966)
The Redeemer (1966)
Will Penny (1968)
The Over-The-Hill Gang Rides Again (1970)
What's The Matter With Helen? (1971)
Glass Houses (1972)
The Ghost Of Flight 401 (1978)
The Suicide's Wife (1979)
The Day After (1983)
Lady In A Corner (1989)

Orchestral Music:
Toy Concertino
A Song After Sundown
Oedipus Memneitai (Oedipus Remembers) (1986)
The Serenade from The Unicorn in the Garden
Hoofloose & Fancy Free from Giddyap
The Fable of the Fox and the Grapes . . . and the Giraffe!
Mother and Father Waltzing (I Think She's Leading!).


Last Updated: 2013-02-12 00:50:07