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Friday, November 06, 2009

Úbeda to celebrate the life and works of Alex North

15-time Academy-Award nominee and the first ever composer to receive a Lifetime Achievement Oscar, Alex North is considered one of the most creative and innovative composers in film history. After a successful career in theatre productions such as Death of a Salesman and The Innocents, North's first Hollywood assignment was Elia Kazan's film adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire. His heavily jazz-based film score proved groundbreaking and helped start build an international reputation that was later cemented in such classic films as Spartacus, Cleopatra, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Rose Tattoo, Viva Zapata! and The Shoes of the Fisherman.

North is further known for being the author of the hit song Unchained Melody which, so far, has been recorded over 500 times by artists ranging from the Righteous Brothers to Elvis Presley, Lee Ann Rimes, Sarah McLachlan, U2, and James Galway. In 1967 Alex North was commissioned with writing original music for Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Sadly, right before the release of the film his score was removed and replaced with classical works by Strauss. This tragic loss was rectified decades later by the recording and release of North's original score on Varèse Sarabande which was conducted by his friend and colleague, Jerry Goldsmith.

Marking the composer's centenary, the Úbeda International Film Music Festival is announcing a large-scale tribute, including a number of special-interest sessions, workshops, live performances and many other activities yet-to-be-disclosed.