Bernard Herrmann (born Maximillian Herman; June 29, 1911 – December 24, 1975) was an American composer and conductor.
He was best known for his work in composing for films and is widely regarded as one of the greatest film composers.
An Academy Award-winner Herrmann is known for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock. He also worked in radio drama, composing for Orson and his first film score was for Welles’s film debut, Citizen Kane (1941).
His other credits include Jane Eyre (1943), Anna and the King of Siam (1946), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Cape Fear (1962), Fahrenheit 451 (1966) and Twisted Nerve (1968).
Herrmann scored films that were inspired by Hitchcock and he composed the scores for several fantasy films by Ray Harryhausen, and composed for television. His last score, recorded shortly before his death, was for Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976).
From a young age he was encouraged to learn the violin. Later he decided to concentrate on music and went to New York University and Juilliard School. At the age of 20, formed his own orchestra.
In 1934, he joined the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) as a staff conductor. While at CBS, Herrmann met Orson Welles, and wrote or arranged scores for radio shows in which Welles appeared or wrote. Thus began a long and successful collaboration.
Another collaboration came with Alfred Hitchcock. He wrote the scores for seven Hitchcock films.
As well as his many film scores, Herrmann wrote several concert pieces, including his Symphony in 1941 and the opera Wuthering Heights.
Bernard Herrmann died in 1975 but his works are widely studied, imitated and performed to this very day. His compositions have had a profound influence on composers of film music that followed him.