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Guy Barker (b1957)

There Once Was A Cowboy From Russia

Sounds like the opening of a Saturday night bar joke, doesnt it? But it isnt. There really once was a cowboy who hailed from the land of borsch soup and babushka dolls. His name was Dimitri Tiomkin and he was one of the finest Hollywood composers of the 1940s and 1950s; the golden age of Hollywood music. Like so many Russians, Dmitri Tiomkin immigrated to Western Europe after the wrenching violence and politics of the Russian Revolution. The young Tiomkin was featured in a variety of playbills, including being a piano soloist with the great Berlin Philharmonic. Traveling on to Paris, the City of Lights, he became popular for performing contemporary Russian, German and French musical works. And in that extraordinary creative milieu of art and life, Tiomkin first encountered a lifelong love American jazzand gave the brilliant premire European performance of Gershwins Concerto in F Major to raves from critics and audiences alike. Then Hollywood knocked at his door. Tiomkin sold several original jazz compositions to Metro Goldwyn Mayer. After playing Carnegie Hall and other prestigious venuesas the Great Depression hit with full forceTiomkin and his first wife, Albertina Rasch, set out for Tinseltown, where they had been invited to produce ballet numbers for films. But ever shrewd, he soon saw an exceptional opportunity in film music, a new art for the new technology of talking motion pictures. Tiomkin composed a score for an early



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