From the end of the 1940s until the beginning of the 1960s, Dimitri Tiomkin was one of the more prominent composers in movies; decades after his death, he remains one of the most problematic creative figures of his era in Hollywood. Tiomkin was born in Kremenchuk, Ukraine in 1894. Raised in St. Petersburg, Russia and educated in that city’s conservatory, his teachers included renowned classical composer Alexander Glazunov. He came of age amid the turmoil of revolutionary Russia and fled to Western Europe, studying in Berlin and later establishing himself as a performer as part of a piano duo. Tiomkin subsequently became a concert pianist and, among his other credits as a performing musician, he gave the European premiere of George Gershwin’s “Concerto in F,” in 1928.
With the advent of talking pictures, Tiomkin and his wife, the former dance director Albertina Rasch — whom he’d met while on a vaudeville tour of America in the early ‘20s — relocated to Hollywood. He made his… read more