Jerome Moross was born in Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.A. on August 1 1913. He became a talented piano player and composed music for the theater. During his early years, Moross met and became lifelong friends with Bernard Herrmann. In 1931, he met Aaron Copland and joined his Young Composers Group, whose members also included Herrmann. Copland supported his work and Herrmann provided him an introduction to the entertainment media, beginning with the composition of music cues for radio shows in 1935. In the 1940s he began to work in Hollywood, California, where he would compose the music scores for sixteen films from 1948 to 1969.
In 1956 he composed the score for the World War II drama “The Sharkfighters”, possibly traveling to Cuba with the film company. The score is distinctive in its use of ethnic themes featuring syncopation and percussion instruments that stress the ostinato rhythm that soon became the signature style element of his scores for many westerns.
His best-known film score is that for the 1958 movie “The Big Country”, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score. According to Moross, he composed the main title after recalling a walk he took in the flatlands around Albuquerque, New Mexico, during a visit in October 1936, shortly before he moved to Hollywood.
His other works include the music for the films “The Proud Rebel” (1958), “The Mountain Road” (1951), “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (1960), “The Cardinal” (1963), “The War Lord” (1965), “The Valley of Gwangi” (1969) and “Hail, Hero!” (1969). He also composed the main theme for the 3rd–8th seasons of the television western series ‘Wagon Train’, the theme of which was based on his score for the 1959 historical western “The Jayhawkers!”.
He also orchestrated for other composers, usually uncredited, including such films as “Our Town” for Copland and “The Best Years of Our Lives” for Hugo Friedhofer.
Moross's concert works included a sonata for a piano duet and string quartet, and a symphony that was premiered by conductor Sir Thomas Beecham on October 18, 1943 in Seattle, Washington. It featured an "intrinsically American sound" that characterized all of Moross's compositions in every genre and form.
Moross died in Miami, Florida on July 25, 1983 of congestive heart failure following a stroke.
MOROSS, Jerome (aka Jerome Morross) [8/1/1913, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. – 7/25/1983, Dade County, Florida, U.S.A. (congestive heart failure)] – composer, conductor, orchestrator, songwriter, musician (piano) married to Hazel Abrams [1905-1983] (1939-1983) father of Susanna Moross [1940- ].
The Valley of Gwangi* - 1968
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