Although Rózsa was born in Budapest, unlike most of his contemporary compatriots he did not study there; instead, from 1927 to 1931 he was a pupil at the Leipzig Conservatory and subsequently lived in Paris and London, where he wrote his first film scores for his fellow Hungarian Alexander Korda. He accompanied Korda to Hollywood in 1939 and stayed there for the rest of his life. However, Rózsa’s principal ambition was always to compose music for the concert hall. He had completed some substantial works—including a highly ambitious symphony—well before settling in Hollywood, and he continued to write concert works throughout his life, notably pieces for orchestra and string orchestra, string quartets, chamber and piano works. Rózsa was friendly with several leading performers, such as Jascha Heifetz, Gregor Piatigorsky and Leonard Pennario, who championed his works, and so his output includes several full-scale concertos. In addition to the Viola Concerto he wrote two Violin Concertos, a Cello Concerto, a Piano Concerto (there is also the one-movement ‘Spellbound’ Concerto he derived from his score to that movie) and a Sinfonia concertante for violin, cello and orchestra.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2010