(Photo source) One of both France and Europe's most distinguished 'music for film' composers, says Digital Symphonix, Vladimir Cosma has scored more than 150 films and TV productions. Indeed he has - and very proud of him we are, too.
Born in Bucharest on April 13th 1940 into the family of renowned conductor and concert pianist Teodor Cosma, he studied music from a tender age, attending the National Conservatory in Bucharest, from which he graduated with two prizes - one for violin and the other for composition.
In 1963, he came to Paris to further his studies at the French Conservatory under Nadia Boulanger and then between 1964-7 toured the world as a concert violinist. A chance encounter with Michel Legrand propulsed him towards the career he would eventually settle into and adopt. They worked together for several years, during which time Cosma was also very much influenced by Henry Mancini and Burt Bacharach.
In 1968, Cosma received his first film assignment from director Yves Robert who asked him to score Alexandre, le bien heureux, starring Philippe Noiret, Marlene Jobert "and a charming little dog." The film, an international success, marked the start of a long-term artistic partnership between Cosma and Robert, which extended to many other comedies, including Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire (1972), Salut, l'artiste (1973), Le retour de grand blonde (1974), Un elephant ca trompe (1976), Nous irons tous au Paradis (1977), Courage, fuyons (1979), and La juneau (1984), many of them starring Pierre Richard, one of France's best-known comedians.
The partnership with Yves Robert didn't only produce several projects but it also put Cosma on the map, probably encouraging other well-known directors to approach him. Pretty soon his creations were heard behind the comedies of Gérard Oury (Les aventures de Rabbi Jacob, 1973; Le coup du parapluie, 1980; Levy and Goliath, 1987), Francis Veber (La chevre, 1981; Les comperes, 1983; Les fugitifs, 1986), and Claude Zidi (L'aile ou la cuisse, 1976; L'animal, 1977; La Zizanie, 1978), many of them written for popular comedians such as Louis de Funès, Pierre Richard, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Gerard Depardieu.
In 1983, he was awarded 'le Grand Prix du Disque' at Cannes for his scores overall. In 1990, he received 'le Grand Prix SACEM de l’oeuvre musicale audiovisuelle' and in 2003, he won the same prize for 'musique de film'. With two Césars, a '7 d'Or' and the aforementioned awards under his belt, it has always been clear that France loves this extraordinarily prolific tune-smith. It is fitting to note that he was celebrated not so much for his music for comedies, but for his more serious works. His comedies never really did it for the critics. Despite that, the genius of Cosma has been the joy of French cinema for over forty years. One only has to click on this Wikipedia link to see the breath-taking amount of works - all of them marvellous - by Vladimir Cosma.
23-24 March 2013 will see Vladimir Cosma at the Grand Rex in Paris - grab your tickets now. Apparently, they're selling like des petits pains!
To hear some of his scores (both for comedy and his more serious works such as the beautiful Cantata 1209), please click on the links below. Enjoy!