Malcolm Arnold Biography (BBC)
Sir Malcolm Arnold hailed from Northampton. Following studies at the Royal College of Music, he joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra, becoming principal trumpet in 1942. But from 1948 he dedicated himself to composition, easily and successfully straddling the twin pursuits of writing concert works and film scores. While Arnold himself would probably choose to be judged by his nine symphonies, his many concertos, or even his operas, the massive popularity accorded his various sets of symphonic dances, his works for wind band and his many film compositions cast him as a ‘populist’ composer of the first order.
His prolific output spans over 140 published concert works and over 90 film scores, even though he declined film commissions since 1969. Many of his film scores were for very notable productions – including The Sound Barrier, Hobson’s Choice, The Bridge on the River Kwai (for which he won an Oscar), The Inn of the Sixth Happiness and Whistle Down the Wind. He was knighted in 1993.
© David Wishart, 2003
Malcolm Arnold Tracks