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Ervin Litkei

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Ervin Litkei


Ervin Litkei (19 December 1921, Budapest, Hungary – 8 February 2000, New York, N.Y.) was a Hungarian-born American composer.

Ervin Litkei studied architecture at the University of Hungary and music at the Music Conservatory of Hungary. After working several years as an architect and a news correspondent, he immigrated to the United States. He married Andrea Fodor, a well-known ballerina of the Metropolitan Opera Company.

Litkei’s specialty became writing march-songs about American presidents. The first , for Franklin Roosevelt) was written in 1945 to show his appreciation for the liberation of his country from the Nazis by American troops. He wrote march-songs for every president since that time to Bill Clinton, and some have been played at inaugurals.

In Hollywood, Litkei translated foreign songs to English for several movies. He also produced and composed music for the film The Golden Cage, which tells the story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution; this was translated into 36 languages.

Litkei’s efforts were not limited to patriotic songs; he composed several suites for orchestra, as well as one piano concerto. He was also co-author of a book about the Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky.

Litkei was also associated with numerous recording and music publishing companies, including Olympic Record Industries, Aravox Record Corporation, and the Leona Music Publishing Company. He was president of Loena, the company which publishes his music. Litkei was elected to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 1964, was a life member of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, and held memberships in several other music or recording associations. He and his wife established an annual scholarship for American students who showed the most promise in the creation of patriotic songs. For several years, the Litkeis also sponsored the Fordham University Poetry Contest.

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