Wilhelm Grosz

Vienna, 1894-1939, New York City

Grosz studied at the mdw with Franz Schreker from 1913 to 1919 and musicology at Vienna University with Guido Adler. His interest in popular music began in 1922 with a Jazzband Sonata for Violin and Piano, followed by his jazz ballet Baby in der Bar, based on a treatment by Bartók’s librettist Béla Balázs. His one act opera Sganarell was premiered in Vienna, and as early as 1918, Julius Korngold suggested Grosz as a possible successor to Mahler. Grosz had other plans and embarked on a career as recording producer, arranger, and conductor at Berlin’s Ultraphon label. Immigrating to England in 1934, he made a successful career as a composer for the music publishers of London’s “Tin Pan Alley” with hits such as Red Sails in the Sunset, Harbour Lights, and Isle of Capri with texts by Jimmy Kennedy.On the advice of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Grosz went to New York in 1939 to compose the score for the Hollywood film Along the Santa Fé Trail. Yet he died of a heart attack, leaving the score to be completed by Max Steiner.

Further links:

Michael Haas: Wilhelm Grosz, 1894 – 1939: From Mahler Successor to the Santa Fe Trail