Frankel, Benjamin, 1906-1973

Benjamin Frankel was born in London and as a child took piano and violin lessons.
On leaving school at 14 he was apprenticed to a watchmaker but his skills as a pianist prevailed and he was offered free lessons by American pianist, Victor Benham.

He was awarded a scholarship by the Worshipful Company of Musicians to continue his music studies at the Guildhall School of Music while making a living as a jazz pianist and violinist in London hotels and cafes.  Frankel developed his skills as an arranger and composer and worked in jazz bands with Carroll Gibbons and Henry Hall.  In the 1930s he was in demand as a music director and arranger and many West End shos and he composed his first film score in 1934.  This was the start of a close association with the BBC and British cinema, writing score for many films including The Man in the White Suit (1951), The Importance of Being Earnest (1952) and the Battle of the Bulge (1965).

In the 1940s his compositions for chamber and orchestral ensembles were becoming popular and from 1946 he was professor of composition at the Guildhall School.  He moved to Switzerland in 1957, although he returned regularly to the UK, and wrote seven symphonies between 1962 and 1972 despite ill-health, and died in 1973.