January 2, 2017


Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) b. Northampton, England.

Malcolm Arnold

Born in Northampton, British composer Malcolm Arnold won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London aged 16. During WWII service he was playing the cornet in a military band and feeling worthless in the role – inflicted a wound upon himself in order to be discharged. After the war he returned to the London Philharmonic and was more determined than ever to establish himself as a composer. On the advice of a friend Arnold sent off some of his music scores to the film studios outside London. Sandwiched between his first score, Avalanche Patrol (1947), and last, David Copperfield (1969), was his best-known work, The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), a score which won him an Academy Award. Before ill health eventually forced him to retire from writing film music, Arnold had scored films including The Sound Barrier (1952), Hobson’s Choice (1954), A Hill in Korea (1956), Dunkirk (1958), The Angry Silence (1960), Tunes of Glory (1960), Whistle Down the Wind (1961) and The Heroes of Telemark (1965). He has around 130 distinguished British film scores to his credit, and is the composer of a number of orchestral works, including incidental music for ballet and theatre. He was awarded the CBE in 1970 and knighted in 1993.

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