Louis Levy

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For other people of the same name, see Lou Levy.

Louis Levy (20 November 1894 – 18 August 1957) was an English film composer and music director, who worked in particular on Alfred Hitchcock and Will Hay films. He was born in London and died in Slough, Berkshire.

Early life[edit]

As a child Louis Levy played the violin, beginning with a toy violin that his father bought him at the age of seven. He later became the pupil of Guido Papini but due to his parents' limited means, ended his studies with Papini and began a period of self-study. This led to him gaining a scholarship at the London College of Music. Papini refused to allow Levy to study under anyone else, so resumed his tuition, this time free of charge.

Career[edit]

He started his career in 1910 arranging and performing music for silent films. In 1916 he became musical director for the New Gallery Cinema in London. In 1921, he went to the Shepherd’s Bush Pavilion as Music Chief and is credited with being the first to develop the theme song in movies.

At the beginning of talkies, he joined the Gaumont British studios at Shepherd’s Bush, where he became the head of the music department for all Gainsborough Pictures productions from 1933 onwards. The rich sounds emanating from his large orchestra are all the more impressive when one realises that electrical sound industry was barely ten years old. He worked in particular on Alfred Hitchcock and Will Hay films.

He later had a long running BBC radio series Music From the Movies, which started in 1936 and went on until the 1950s.

At this time, through the sheer necessity of having to produce so much music he employed several talented arrangers, among them Peter Yorke (who adapted the Levy sound for his own successful post-war concert orchestra) and Bretton Byrd, who was his chief music editor at Gaumont British.

Partial filmography[edit]

As composer and/or music director and/or composer of additional music:

External links[edit]