Charles Bernstein | Composer

Talented, prolific and versatile film composer Charles Bernstein was born on February 28, 1943 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He conducted his own orchestral music at age sixteen and studied composition with Vitorio Giannini and Vincent Persichetti at Juilliard. Bernstein also attended the University of California; he received an Outstanding Graduate of the College Award, a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship and a Chancellor's Doctoral Teaching Fellowship while working with American composer Roy Harris. His impressively eclectic musical style ranges from comedy to drama to action to horror. Bernstein has supplied the scores for a bunch of enjoyably down'n'dirty 70's drive-in exploitation features: he turned up the funk with "That Man Bolt," went all-out groovy for the "Invasion of the Bee Girls," and kicked out the tuneful swinging country jams on "White Lightning" (a snippet of this score was used in the "Kill Bill Vol. 1" soundtrack), "Gator," "A Small Town in Texas," and "Nightmare in Badham County." Bernstein's scores in the horror genre are especially chilling and effective: Among his finest fright film scores are "Hex," "Sweet Kill," "The Entity" (this is one of Bernstein's most inspired, inventive and underrated scores; it was nominated for a Saturn Award (for Best Music), "Cujo," Wes Craven's terrifying classic "A Nightmare on Elm Street," and "April Fool's Day." Moreover, Bernstein has done scores for a large number of made-for-TV movies. He won an Emmy Award  for his score for the "Little Miss Perfect" episode of the "CBS Schoolbreak Special." His scores for "Enslavement" and "The Sea Wolf" were nominated for Emmy Awards while his score for "The Man Who Broke A 1,000 Chains" received a Cable ACE Award nomination for Original Score. Outside of his substantial film and television work, Bernstein has also done music for Off-Broadway theater, modern dance, and the World Festival of Sacred Music, played jazz in the cellars of Paris, and danced and played folk music with the Greeks and gypsies from the Balkans. Moreover, Bernstein has written the acclaimed books "Film Music and Everything Else - Volume 1: Limitations" and "Movie Music: An Insider's View." He won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for his writing on music. Bernstein is a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Board of Directors of the Society of Composers and Lyricists, and the Board of Directors of the ASCAP Foundation. In addition, Charles Bernstein has taught on the graduate film scoring faculty at USC and holds an annual film scoring seminar in the summer at UCLA Extension.

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