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Johnny Green

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Category: Music - Popular
Reference No: 9570
Status: Available
Price: £15.00
  Johnny Green

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Multiple Oscar-winning American songwriter, composer, musical arranger, and conductor, remembered particularly for the great standard, Body and Soul (1930).

Green graduated from Harvard in 1928 with a degree in economics but soon quit his job at his uncle’s Wall Street firm to devote his life to music.

He went to work as a composer and arranger for Paramount studios in New York City where he contributed to a dozen films between 1930 and 1932. At the same time he moonlighted by conducting the orchestra at the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn, orchestrating music for radio programs and accompanying singers such as Gertrude Lawrence and Ethel Merman. It was also during this period that he began composing the music for songs, collaborating with great lyricists such as Yip Harburg ("I'm Yours" 1932) and Edward Heyman ("Out of Nowhere," "I Wanna Be Loved" 1932, and "I Cover the Waterfront" and You're Mine, You", 1933). It was with Heyman and Robert Sour as lyricists that in 1930, he wrote the music for "Body and Soul" written when Gertrude Lawrence who was appearing in New York called and asked for some new material.

Green also undertook the writing of longer pieces for the concert stage: Poem (1931), and Night Club: Six Impressions for Three Pianos and Orchestra (1933), which was commissioned by Paul Whiteman, were both performed and recorded by major orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic and Boston Symphony in the U.S. and the BBC Orchestra in London. These performances often found Green as the featured piano soloist.

Green's career in the1940s continued both on Broadway where in 1942 he was musical director for Rodger's and Hart's By Jupiter and composer on his own for Beat the Band, and in Hollywood where he signed with MGM as composer, conductor and arranger for films such as Broadway Rhythm (1944), Bathing Beauty (1944), Fiesta, (1947) and Irving Berlin's Easter Parade (1948) for which he won his first of four Oscars, writing the score and conducting the MGM Orchestra.

During the late Forties and the 1950's, Green was General Music Director for MGM making significant contributions to memorable films such as Summer Stock (1950), Royal Wedding and An American in Paris (1951) for which he won his second Oscar, and High Society (1952).

Green's also received Academy Awards for West Side Story (1960) and Oliver (1968) both of which were for studios other than MGM. (His daughter, Kathe, dubbed Mark Lester's singing voice in Oliver.)

Demonstrating his flexibility in moving from popular to concert music, he conducted The Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl over a period of three decades.

This is a fine signature and inscription ("For Violet - All the best - Johnny Green") in blue fountain pen ink on a small 3" x 2" vintage 1940s album page. In very good condition.