Bernard Herrmann, born in New York City on 29 June, 1911, was the son of Russian Jewish immigrant. His father took both his sons to the opera, the symphony, and giving each a musical instrument to play at a very early age, encouraging their interest in the arts.
Herrmann studied scores of the great composers, attended concerts and played his father's gramophone recordings. The discovery of Hector Berlioz's Treatise on Orchestration at age thirteen decided the course of his future career.
In 1927 at DeWitt Clinton High School, he began his formal education and studied the works of America's most unique composers, Charles Ives and Carl Ruggles. In college he joined the Young Composers Group, headed by Aaron Copland.
In the 30's, Herrmann conducted the New Chamber Orchestra and later the assistant music director for CBS Radio. In 1937 he was chosen to compose and conduct for the "Columbia Workshop", a CBS radio series featuring the talents of several great writers and directors. In 1938 he worked with the twenty-three year old Orson Welles for "The Mercury Theatre on the Air" on the Holloween Eve production of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds.
Herrmann had composed several concert works before Welles invited him to Hollywood to compose and conduct the music for his first film Citizen Kane (1941), and again for The Magnificent Ambersons (1942).
20th Century-Fox music director Alfred Newman hired Herrmann to score Jane Eyre (1943), Hangover Square (1945), Anna and the King of Siam (1946), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), and The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). He then worked with Alfred Hitchcock on several films, including; The Trouble with Harry (1955), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and Psycho (1960).
Herrmann moved to England where began working with younger directors including; François Truffaut, Brian DePalma, Larry Cohen and Martin Scorsese. He died in his sleep on December 24, 1975. This was one day after the final Taxi Driver recording sessions.