G. Schirmer, part of Wise Music Group, has acquired the rights to the catalogue of Franz Waxman across all his concert works as well as a great number of his iconic film scores, including concert versions of his Academy Award-winning scores for Sunset Boulevard (1950) and A Place in the Sun (1951). The agreement will allow for new audiences to appreciate and experience the cultural significance of Waxman’s legacy in concert halls around the world. Franz Waxman is considered one of the most important film and concert composers of the 20th century, whose work helped build the foundation of the art form in the golden age of cinema with scores for films including The Philadelphia Story (1940), Rebecca (1940), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941), Suspicion (1941), and Taras Bulba (1962), among many others.
“We are extraordinarily honored to be the worldwide publisher of Franz Waxman’s incredible film and concert oeuvre,” said G. Schirmer President, Robert Thompson. “Schirmer is deeply committed to fostering his legacy.”
Born in 1906 in Germany, Waxman spent his teen years enrolled at Dresden Music Academy to study composition and conducting, and then went on to study at the Berlin Music Conservatory. He put himself through school by playing piano at nightclubs. Waxman eventually worked as an orchestrator and composer for the German film industry and scored Liliom in 1934, which was produced in Paris before he moved to the United States. Waxman was part of the exile of Judeo-German musicians who fled Europe between 1933-1944 to escape Nazism. Finding work and making his home in Los Angeles, he was part of a wave of these musicians and composers — including Béla Bartók, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Miklós Rózsa, and Kurt Weill — who eventually found refuge in the U.S. leading to a renaissance in American musical culture.
In addition to being renowned for his film scores, Waxman was also a renowned concert composer. His body of concert work showcased his amazing talents as a musical storyteller and covered many different styles and genres such as chamber, symphony, strings, and choral. Some of his concert works include the oratorio Joshua (1959) and his most performed concert work, the virtuoso showpiece for violin and orchestra, Carmen Fantasie (1946). There is also The Song of Terezin (1966), which was based on I Never Saw Another Butterfly, a book of poems written by children who were interned in the Terezin ghetto.
Franz Waxman won an Oscar for his score to Sunset Boulevard in 1950, and then won the Oscar the following year for A Place In the Sun. For over half a century, he was the only composer to have won the Oscar for “Best Score” in two consecutive years. Waxman received a total of 12 Oscar nominations in his lifetime.
G. Schirmer has made a concerted effort in recent years to ensure that the legacy of film composers like Franz Waxman continue. The company currently represents the film music of Sony Music Publishing, NBC Universal, and Warner Chappell that include the works of Max Steiner, Bernard Hermann, and others, in addition to Schirmer’s own roster of Oscar-winning film composers, including John Corigliano, Ennio Morricone, and Tan Dun. Schirmer Theatrical, Wise Music Group’s concert production company, is a leader in producing film with live orchestra concerts.