Victor "Abe" Young was born 8. 8. 1899 in Chicago, Illinois. From the early 1930's until his demise in I956, violinist; composer; arranger; and bandleader Victor Young was an important part of the music scene. In the late 1920's, Young turned from a concert music career to popular music and composing. In the 1930's, his band was popular and very well recorded: In the Mid-1930's, Young moved to the West Coast where he composed music, and arranged, for Hollywood studios. In the 1940's, his band, still active, usually backed vocalists on their recordings.
Victor's father, William Young, was a tenor with the Chicago Opera Co. After Victor's mother died, William Young abandoned his two children, and the two of them, Victor and his sister Helen, left Chicago and went to Poland to be raised by their elderly grandparents; they traveled from Chicago to Warsaw alone. (Victor was just 10 years old). William Young re-married and had another family. He died in 1932 from Cancer, and is buried in a Brooklyn, NY cemetery.
Victor's grandfather, a tailor, had sufficient savings to start Victor at the Warsaw Conservatory, where Victor studied violin under Isador Lotto, receiving the 'Diploma of Merit.' After more study with private tutors, he debuted with the Warsaw Philharmonic, following which he toured Europe with different concert orchestras. His first public appearance with the Warsaw Philharmonic went so well that a wealthy music lover gave him a 1730 Guarnerius, the instrument which Victor Young continued to play as an adult in America. The man who presented him with the violin was a banker, Josef Goldfeder. Victor kept the violin on display on an entry hall table in his Beverly Hills home. The day after Victor Young died, the violin, which had been left to a very close relative, Henry Hill, a professional musician (violinist) mysteriously disappeared. (A close family friend had walked out of the house with it.).
Victor and his sister Helen attended the Warsaw Conservatory of Music at the same time. Helen went on to become a fine pianist. She was his accompanist when he concertized all over Europe and the United States. Helen went on to marry violinist Henry Hill, whom she and Victor had met in Europe.
In 1914, at the outbreak of WW1, he returned to Chicago where he had his American debut. There followed a succession of jobs, and during the early part of the 1920's, he toured as a concert violinist. He worked in Los Angeles as a concert-master in a motion picture theater orchestra. He then did the same in Chicago's Central Park Theater. But around this time, he had decided to leave the classics and make his career in popular song.
Later in the 1920's, he worked with the Ted Fio Rito Orchestra as violinist and arranger. Still in Chicago, Young was the orchestra leader at the famed Chicago Theater and at the State and Lake Theater and also had the dance orchestra at the Edgewater Beach Hotel. His radio career also started in Chicago in the late 1920's, but in 1931 he moved to New York City where he continued working in the radio studios.
His songwriting career started in 1928 when he wrote:
1928 "Sweet Sue", lyric by Will Harris
1929 "Can't You Understand?", lyric by Jack Osterman
During the 1930's, Young did a great deal of radio work, conducting for many stars including Smith Bellew, Al Jolson, and Don Ameche. In 1935, he returned to Los Angeles and formed his own orchestra known as The Victor Young Orchestra and Victor Young and His Singing Strings; a successful venture. The orchestra was heard on radio stations, as well as at the famous Grauman's Chinese Theater. Young then became associated Paramount Pictures Studios, as chief composer and arranger. and began his major career in the motion picture industry.
Victor Young composed music to 54 movies of many genries and his patterns and scores were used for more than 300 worldwide movies. His most famous are for example Golding Earrings, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Rio Grande, Scaramouche, Shane, Three Coins In The Fountain, The Brave One, etc. Victor Young also composed perhaps the best movie songs of his day. From his best we can give some examples like Stella by Starlight (movie: The Uninvited), My Foolish Heart (movie: My Foolish Heart), Written in The Wind (movie: Written In The Wind), The Greatest Show on Earth (movie: The Greatest Show on Earth) a many others.
Around the World in Eighty Days was Victor's last movie. Victor holds the records for number of nominations (of an oscar) before a win (22 nominations). Randy Newman almost beat him out. Victor received his only Oscar posthumously, for his score of Around the World in Eighty Days. Elizabeth Taylor took the award over instead of him.
Victor Young suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on November 9th, at his home in Desert Hot Springs, CA, and died November 10th, 1956. He was just 56 years old. Ferde Grofe was called upon to complete the score on which Victor had been working, a musical comedy based on the life of Mark Twain.
After his death, Young's wife presented all Victor's personal possessions and musical scores to Brandeis University, in Waltham, MA. Some years later, Brandeis gave half of the collection to the Boston Public Library. The rest of the collection, including his Oscar, has been cataloged and preserved and is housed in the Archives & Special Collections Department in the Goldfarb Library, where it is actively used by students, faculty, and outside researchers..