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Marius Constant
Birth: Feb. 24, 1925
Bucharest, Romania
Death: May 15, 2004
Paris, France

Romanian-born French Composer and Conductor. Although he was lionized in his adopted country as a veteran of the avant-garde, his international fame rests on his theme for the classic 1960s TV series "The Twilight Zone". Constant was a gifted student at the conservatory in his native Bucharest, winning the Enesco Prize in 1944. After World War II he settled in Paris and studied composition with Olivier Messiaen, Nadia Boulanger and Arthur Honegger. Always attracted to new trends, he was associated with the "musique concrete" movement of the 1950s and experimented with serialism, aleatoric music, and multimedia works. His first notable success was the "24 Preludes for Orchestra" (1959), premiered by Leonard Bernstein in Paris. Other compositions include a Piano Concerto (1957), the tone poem "Turner" (inspired by English painter William Turner, 1961), the ballets "Cyrano de Bergerac" (1960), "Paradise Lost" (1967), "Candide" (1970), "Nana" (1976), and "The Blue Angel" (1985), the Symphony for Winds (1978), and an Organ Concerto (1988). His irreverent adaptation of Bizet for director Peter Brook's "Le Tragedie de Carmen" (1981) divided critics but was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Constant also had a notable career as a conductor, serving as music director of Roland Petit's Paris Ballet (1956 to 1966), the ORTF (1970 to 1973), and the Paris Opera Ballet (1973 to 1978). From 1963 to 1970 he led the Ensemble Ars Nova, which he founded for the promotion of contemporary music. The French government named him a Commander of the Legion of Honor and in 1993 he was elected to the French Academy. Constant's defining contribution to "The Twilight Zone" was almost pure happenstance. During the late 1950s, CBS had a cost-cutting practice of hiring European composers to write and record stock music for use (and reuse) in their television shows, and in 1959 Constant accepted such a commission from the network. He provided six brief, eerie-sounding themes, for which he was paid about $300. That same year saw the debut of "The Twilight Zone", with original theme music by Bernard Herrmann. When the series' opening title sequence was redesigned for its second season in 1960, Herrmann and Jerry Goldsmith were among those invited to write new music for it; their efforts were rejected by the producers, who wanted something edgier. With a deadline to meet, CBS music director Lud Gluskin went through the stock library and selected two pre-recorded pieces by Constant: "Etrange No. 3" ("Strange No. 3"), that indelible four-note riff for two electric guitars, and "Milieu No. 2" ("Atmosphere No. 2") for guitar, bongos and brass. These were combined to create the new "Twilight Zone Theme", and with Rod Serling's approval it was used for the rest of the show's five-year run. Constant received no onscreen credit or royalties, and years passed before he learned his music had been transformed into one of the most famous themes in American television history. Given his almost total silence on the subject, he attached little significance to this. The theme was revived for a new TV version of "The Twilight Zone" (1985 to 1989), and those repeated four notes became embedded in popular culture, jokingly sung or whistled to describe any weird situation. (bio by: Bobb Edwards) 
Cimetière du Père Lachaise
City of Paris
Île-de-France, France
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Rolo
Record added: Nov 14, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31379244
Marius Constant
Added by: Rolo
Marius Constant
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