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December 21, 2010
Cast a Giant Shadow: The Music of Elmer Bernstein
Jon Burlingame hosts a two-hour tribute to the legendary composer Dec. 26 on KUSC

Elmer Bernstein

LOS ANGELES—As part of its signature holiday programming, Classical KUSC 91.5 FM in Los Angeles presents a two-hour special marking the 50th anniversary of Elmer Bernstein's most famous movie score, The Magnificent Seven.

Cast a Giant Shadow: The Music of Elmer Bernstein will broadcast Sunday, December 26th at 2 pm, both over the air and on-line at www.KUSC.org. The retrospective is written and hosted by journalist, USC faculty member and popular KUSC guest personality Jon Burlingame.

The program will feature excerpts from many of Bernstein's film scores and concert works, as well as interviews conducted with the late composer himself, discussing his approach to the craft of film music along with specifics about many of his scores. Rarely heard, out-of-print recordings will also be featured.

In addition to the classic Western music of The Magnificent Seven (1960), Bernstein wrote the groundbreaking jazz score for The Man With the Golden Arm (1955), the epic orchestral The Ten Commandments (1956), the poignant To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), the jaunty war march of The Great Escape (1963) and another Western classic in True Grit (1969). Later in his career, he scored more lighthearted music for zany comedies including National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) and Ghostbusters (1984).

Bernstein worked in movies for more than half a century beginning in 1950, and continued to compose until his death in 2004. During his last 15 years in films he was a frequent collaborator with director Martin Scorsese (The Age of Innocence, 1993) and such younger directors as Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, 2002).

Nominated 14 times for the Academy Award, Bernstein won for 1967's Thoroughly Modern Millie. He also won an Emmy (for The Making of a President, 1960) and was nominated for two Tonys (for How Now Dow Jones, 1967; and Merlin, 1983). His famous television themes include the familiar 1960s' National Geographic fanfare as well as General Electric Theater (1958-59), Riverboat (1959-1960) and Ellery Queen (1975-76). The program will feature excerpts from all of these lesser known and largely unavailable scores.

"We are delighted to enrich the season for our listeners with Jon's exquisitely researched presentation on Elmer Bernstein, who composed some of the most familiar and dramatically effective scores in American movie history," said KUSC President Brenda Barnes.

"It's a joy to present another great film music special hosted by Jon Burlingame," said KUSC Program Director Gail Eichenthal, who serves as executive producer of the broadcast. "This program was literally generated by popular demand. Jon got copious amounts of fan mail following every one of his previous film music specials — Not surprising, since he is not only a great broadcaster but easily one of the most erudite film music historians in the world."

Burlingame's recent broadcast, Unchained Melodies: A Centennial Tribute to Alex North, will re-air on KUSC on Saturday, January 1, 2011, at 4 pm. For additional KUSC holiday programming, please visit www.KUSC.org.

Classical KUSC is one of the largest and most listened to non-profit classical music stations in the country. It is also the most listened to public radio station in Southern California. Dedicated to the preservation of classical music as a living art, this non-profit, listener-supported station is a broadcast service of the University of Southern California and has been presenting commercial-free, uninterrupted classical performances for more than 60 years.

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