Born in 1897, Austro-Hungarian composer Erich Korngold began writing music by the age of nine. Immediately recognized as a wunderkind, young Korngold was described by Gustav Mahler, as a "musical genius". By age 11, his ballet The Snowman was an instant sensation at the Vienna Opera, and it launched his career. He continued to compose operas and orchestral works throughout his teenage years and early twenties, and was quite famous. By age 24, he was offered a position at the prestigious Vienna Staatsakademie and he taught opera composition and conducted there as well.
It was during this time that Korngold was introduced to Hollywood through his friend Max Reinhardt. Thus, in 1934 Korngold made his first effort at scoring A Midsummer Night's Dream. This work earned him more commissions of the sort, and he returned again to Hollywood in 1938 to score The Adventures of Robin Hood which starred Errol Flynn. By the time he finished working on the film, Hitler's annexation of Austria made his return impossible. After winning an Academy Award for his work on Robin Hood, Korngold continued scoring music for films. His approach to the compositions established film scoring as an important component of cinema.
Though quite successful in the U.S., Korngold longed for his homeland and returned there in 1950 with new compositions. Unfortunately, these works were poorly received, and it seemed that Austrian tastes had changed in his absence. Returning to the U.S. dejected, Korngold spent the next few years composing symphonic works while also continuing to score films.
A sudden stroke in 1955 left him partially paralyzed, and another one eventually took his life two years later. Korngold's career had ended in a considerably worse state than it had begun. However, the 1960s and 70s brought a revival, and today many of his compositions are regarded as classics.