Morris Stoloff was a musical composer. Stoloff worked as a music director at Columbia Pictures from 1936 to 1962. Among space age pop fans, he is best remembered for his 1956 Top 10 hit that paired the swing era tune “Moonglow” with the love theme from the movie Picnic.
A child prodigy on the violin, Stoloff was taken under the wing of W. A. Clark. After studying with Leopold Auer for several years, Stoloff was touring the U.S. as a featured soloist at the age of 16, and joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic a year later as its youngest member ever.
When sound came to motion pictures, studios came looking for musicians to provide it, and Stoloff was one of the first to cross over from classical music to movies. He was the first concertmaster on Paramount Pictures’ payroll, and he worked with setting up the mechanics of a system that had to provide a steady stream of music for everything from epic dramas to serials and comedy shorts.
In 1936, Stoloff moved over to Columbia Pictures, where he took the title of music director, a new position unique to the studio system. As music director, he was the chief executive responsible for providing musical production support to every film the studio released. This meant matching up composers, orchestrators, conductors, musicians and recording facilities to meet the creative scope of each project as well as its schedule and budget.