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From the cinematic viewpoint, the careers of Max Steiner, Franz Waxman and Erich Wolfgang Korngold seem to have parallels in that they all moved to Hollywood from a traditional classical musical education in Europe. Out of this group, though, Korngold was by far the most promising classical composer. His father Julius was a music critic in Vienna and the young Erich Wolfgang was a precocious child prodigy impressing composers of the stature of Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss and Giacomo Puccini with his composition skills at age 9. He then studied under Zemlinsky among others. By the early 30s, Korngold was firmly on the map as a classical composer of note with a number of operas in the grand Wagnerian style established in the repertoire, and Korngold himself was professor at the Vienna State Academy of Music. However at this time anti-Semitism was on the increase in Europe, and therefore Korngold readily accepted an invitation from director Max Reinhardt to move to Hollywood initially to adapt Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

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