Sunday, April 19, 2015

Vladimir Cosma

Vladimir Cosma is a Romanian violinist, composer, and conductor born (in Bucharest) on April 13, 1940.  He is one of several musicians who began their careers as violinists and digressed to other (musical) endeavors.  In France, he is well-known as a prolific film composer although he is a composer of classical (concert) works as well.  Perhaps he can be compared to Victor Young, American violinist-composer.  There is scant information about Cosma’s career as a violinist other than that he began his violin studies while still quite young and he graduated from the Bucharest Conservatory of Music and then moved on to the Paris Conservatory in 1963.  In Paris, he also studied with Nadia Boulanger, the famous French teacher.  Up until about 1968 (between 1964 and 1967 approximately), he played in orchestras and toured as a concert violinist.  After that, he focused on composition and (necessarily) on conducting.  He credits a meeting with French composer Michel Legrand with his entry into the world of soundtrack composing.  He was 28 years old by then.  It has been said that one of his grandmothers (I don’t know which one) studied with the famous piano player, Ferruccio Busoni.  According to one (usually-reliable) source, Cosma is the composer of more than 300 scores for films and television programs.  Another source puts the number at 150.  He has conducted a number of orchestras outside of the recording studios though mostly in France.  The French government has bestowed several honors on him as he is considered a national artistic treasure.  Several of his scores have also been awarded the French equivalent of an Academy Award.  As you can see from the photo, Cosma has never entirely given up the violin.  Whether he has or has ever had any pupils is something I do not know.  He is on record saying that melody is the most important thing in a composition.  In an interview, Cosma was quoted as follows: “In a few centuries, we shall see what will come of the serial experiments and of these [atonal] composers.  I think that all this decadence of the Viennese romantic music is an end and not a beginning as, for such a long time, Boulez and the promoters of new music wanted to make us believe.” Here is a YouTube audio file of one of his film works featuring the Berlin Philharmonic - I don't think I need to identify the violin soloist because you will immediately recognize it is the inimitable Ivry Gitlis.  

1 comment:

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