If the music David Raksin composed for the 1944 film Laura were his only work, he would be remembered for this uniquely atmospheric and evocative score. In addition to Laura, David Raksin is the composer of over 100 film scores, including Forever Amber, Force Of Evil, Carrie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Bad And The Beautiful, Two Weeks In Another Town, and The Redeemer, and has composed for over 300 television shows.
David Raksin began his musical studies as a pianist and was later instructed in woodwinds by his father, an orchestral musician and silent-film conductor. Upon graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, he went to New York, where he worked as a singer, musician, and arranger. Through Oscar Levant, his arrangement -- particularly one of I Got Rhythm -- were brought to the attention of George Gershwin, who recommended him to the Harms/Chappell organization. He first went to Hollywood at the invitation of Charlie Chaplin, to assist Chaplin with the music for Modern Times. Among his many arranging credits is the original instrumentation of Igor Stravinsky's Circus Polka, arranged by Mr. Raksin at the composer's invitation, for the dancing elephants (choreographed by George Balanchine) of the Ringling Bros./Barnum and Bailey Circus.
For radio David Raksin wrote, narrated, and conducted interviews for the three-year series, The Subject is Film Music, consisting of 64 hour-long programs. The Library of Congress, which now houses the master tapes of this series, has called the work "the finest oral history of the profession" of film composing. In the 1980s he received a commission from the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation of the Library of Congress, and his Oedipus Memneitai (Oedipus Remembers), for bass/baritone narrator/soloist, mixed chorus, and chamber ensemble, was conducted by him at Coolidge Auditorium on October 30, 1986.