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Kubik, Gail (1914-1984) | Morse Department of Special Collections

Name: Kubik, Gail (1914-1984)
Variant Name: Gail T. Kubik
Fuller Form: Kubik, Gail Thompson

Historical Note:

1914      Gail Thompson Kubik born September 5 in South Coffeyville, OK. His father, Henry Kubik, is a lumberyard owner; his mother, Evalyn Thompson, is an accomplished singer.

1917      The family relocates to Coffeyville, KS. At an early age, Gail chooses music as his vocation, playing both piano and violin. His primary interest is in the violin, however, which he studies with Alexander Baird of Independence, KS.

1929      Awarded full scholarship to Eastman School of Music. At 15, Kubik is the youngest person ever awarded a scholarship by the Rochester, New  York school. He studies with Samuel Belov (violin), Irving McHose (theory), Edward Royce and Bernard Rogers (composition). While at ESM, Kubik also attends East Evening High School and the Hochstein School of Music.1930      The Kubik Ensemble (Gail, violin; brother Howard, piano; brother Henry Jr., cello; mother Evalyn, soprano) is formed. The successful quartet travels throughout New York and the Midwest.       

1931      Kubik's composition "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" wins first prize in the Kansas Federation of Music Clubs annual contest.

1932      Kubik graduates from East Evening High School.

1933      Summer classes at Columbia University. Performs in a recital program at Juilliard School of Music, August 14.

1934      Receives Bachelor of Music, graduating "with distinction", with degrees in both composition and violin, from Eastman School of Music. Receives National Composition Award of the Sinfonia Honorary Music Fraternity (Phi Mu Alpha) for "Trio" (for violin, cello and piano). Receives scholarship to American Conservatory of Music, Chicago, studies composition with Leo Sowerby. Joins faculty at Monmouth College, Monmouth, IL, teaching violin, conducting and orchestration.

1935      Begins writing articles for the Chicago-based. Teaches summer session at South Dakota Wesleyan University,  Mitchell, SD. Receives Master of Music, cum laude, from American Conservatory. Receives Honorable Mention for "Solace" from  (Chicago) contest.

1936      Teaches summer session at South Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell, SD. Leaves Monmouth College to teach violin and conducting at South Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell, SD. NBC Radio presents program of Kubik's chamber compositions on theirMusic Guild series. Participates in the WPA's Composers' Forum in Chicago. Invited to conduct the Syracuse Orchestra's performances of his piece "American Caprice".    

1937      Becomes the youngest person to receive a MacDowell Colony fellowship. Leaves Wesleyan to begin studies at Harvard with Walter Piston and Nadia Boulanger. Kubik is the youngest person ever accepted into Harvard's doctoral program in music.  Participates in the WPA's Composers' Forum-Laboratory in New York. Kubik's composition "Solace" wins first prize in the Kansas Federation of Music Clubs annual contest.

1938      Accepts position at Teachers College, Columbia University, (New York City), teaching composition, orchestration and music history. Receives a MacDowell Colony fellowship. Invited to be soloist (violin) at Chicago Civic, Rochester Civic and New York  Orchestras' performances of his piece "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra".  Invited to perform one of his compositions at a NAACC meeting. Participates in WPA lecture series Keys to Contemporary Music in New York.  Phi Mu Alpha commissions piece, "Fellowship".

1939      Marries Jessie Maver Dunn. Arranges benefit program for MacDowell Colony at Teacher's College. WPA's Composers' Forum-Laboratory features four Kubik compositions    

1940      Leaves Teachers College to take a position as NBC Radio's staff arranger and composer. Begins composing first film score.

1941      Kubik leaves NBC to work successfully as freelance composer, and teach part-time  at various New York area music schools. Wins the Jascha Heifetz-Carl Fischer prize for "Concerto For Violin" ("Concerto in D for Violin and Orchestra", "Violin Concerto No. 2"). Wins Chicago Symphony Golden Jubilee Award for "Scherzo For Large Orchestra".  NBC Radio asks Kubik to conduct orchestra for broadcast performance of score  from Men and Ships. Began serving as music consultant to the United States Government's Office of Emergency Management

1942      Becomes a music consultant for the Bureau of Motion Pictures of the Office of War Information. Travels to Hollywood to assemble a collection of recorded music for possible use as film scores by OWI. While there, Kubik meets prominent violinist Louis Kaufman, who later begins performing Kubik's compositions. Receives Jascha Heifetz award for "Violin Concerto No. 2" ("Concerto in D"). Begins composing for school band musicians.      

1943      Enters military, serving as composer for Army Air Corp's First Motion Picture Unit, Culver City, CA. Receives National Association for American Composers and Conductors Citation "Best Documentary Film Score of the Year" for World at War.          Receives the Society for the Publication of American Music award for "Sonatina for Violin and Piano". Receives invitation to participate in the 1943 Writers Congress, sponsored by the University of California and the Hollywood Writers' Guild.

1944      Receives a temporary duty assignment in England to finish score for Memphis Belle. Receives a commission from the BBC for an "Americana" piece. Awarded first of two Guggenheim fellowships. Memphis Belle receives New York Film Critics' Award. Transfers to the Army Air Forces Radio unit in Santa Ana CA, then to the AAF Radio unit in Culver City, CA. Meets Joyce Scott-Paine, daughter of a wealthy British industrialist, at a Hollywood dinner party. Writes articles for the journal Film Music Notes. Participates in University of California at Los Angeles special institute "Music in Contemporary Life".

1945      Transferred to the Second Radio Unit, Bolling Field, Washington D.C. Returns to New York City, in late November, on a temporary duty assignment to create a library of music by American composers for the Army Air Forces' Band. Receives Presidential Citation      

1946      Divorces Jessie January 24. Separates from the military in California later that year. Professor of Music, University of Southern California, summer. Returns to New York with Joyce Scott-Paine; they marry on December 21.

1948      "Robert Shaw Chorale" (fifty-six pieces)      

1949      Kubik returns to Hollywood for film work.      

1950      Receives the Prix de Rome and begins working at the American Academy in Rome. This begins an extended period of living abroad.      

1951      Gerald McBoing Boing receives the Academy Award and the British Film Institute award for best animated film          Divorces Joyce Scott-Paine.

1952      Marries Mary Tyler. Guest lecturer, Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome.  Wins Pulitzer Prize for "Symphony Concertante".1952-1955 Remains in Europe as a conductor and composer, working with  the Orchestra Sinfonica della Radio Italiana, the London Philharmonic, the BBC orchestra and the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris.

1953      Meets poet Theodore Roethke and begins setting selected poems to music. Receives Edinburgh Film Festival Award for Transatlantic

1954-1955       Louisville Orchestra commissions symphony

1955      Returns to Hollywood to begin work on a new film score, The Desperate Hours, for Paramount Studios; the studio head pulls most of the music from the film because of its shocking nature but Paramount later returns the music rights to             Kubik and publishes the suite he creates from the score, "Scenario for Orchestra". Receives honorary Doctor of Music degree, Monmouth College

1955-1956       Dimitri Mitropoulus and the New York Philharmonic commission symphony.

1956      "Symphony No. 2" (Louisville Orchestra) premieres.

1957      "Symphony No. 3" (New York Philharmonic) premieres.

1958      Composes first of two television scores for The Twentieth-Century

1959      In the summer, Kubik returns to Europe, remaining until 1967. While there, he composes, lectures and writes articles.      American delegate Venice Film Festival and International Conference on Music in Films. ASCAP delegate UNESCO International Conference, Denver

1962      Scores film, I Thank a Fool, for MGM (Europe); however, Kubik refuses to give the studio rights to the music and it is removed from the film.

1965      Receives second Guggenheim award and resides at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris.

1966      Lectures throughout Europe and the United States. American delegate UNESCO, Budapest, Paris

1967      Kubik returns to U.S, continuing to compose.

1968-1970 Lecture tours, United States

1969      Visiting professor, Kansas State University. Commissioned to compose dedication piece for K-State's McCain Auditorium.    

1970      Divorces Mary Tyler. Marries Joan Sanders. Accepts position as composer in residence at Scripps College and Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California. Visiting professor, Gettysburg (PA) College. "A Record of Our Time" (chorus, narrator and orchestra; for Kansas State University)    

1972      Divorces Joan Sanders.

1975      Visiting professor, California State University, Fullerton

1976      Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation's Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, Italy

1978      Visiting professor, Mt. San Antonio Jr. College Lecture tour, Morocco

1979      Norlin Foundation Fellow, MacDowell Colony.

1980      California's mandatory retirement law forces Kubik to retire from Scripps; he unsuccessfully sues the state.          Travels abroad, especially France, where he maintains homes in both Paris and Venasque.

1983      Receives honorary Doctor of Music from the American Conservatory of Music       

1984      Dies July 20 at West Covina, California.

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