Russian composer Isaac Schwartz dies at 86

AP News
Posted: Dec 28, 2009 7:30 AM

Isaac Schwartz, the composer whose music adorned some of the most popular movies of the Soviet era, has died. He was 86.

Schwartz died at his home just outside St. Petersburg, Russia, on Sunday, the St. Petersburg Composers Union said. The group didn't specify the cause of death.

Schwartz started his career in the early 1950s, eventually earning fame for his romantic and melodic soundtracks to such beloved Soviet films as 1969's "The White Sun of the Desert" and 1975's "The Captivating Star of Happiness."

Helped by composer Dmitri Shostakovich early in his career, Schwartz went on to write the music for a total of 110 movies and 35 theatrical performances.

Schwartz was born in 1923 in then-Soviet Ukraine. His family later moved to Leningrad, now called St. Petersburg, where his father was arrested on trumped-up charges by Soviet secret police in 1936 and executed two years later.

Schwartz's family spent eight years in internal exile before they were allowed to return home.