Descended from a long line of Viennese musicians, Ernest Gold wowed the mittel-European world as a child prodigy in the 1920s, writing his first compositions at age five. Gold studied at the Vienna Academy, then was forced to relocate to the U.S. when Hitler marched into Austria. Continuing his studies with such notables as Otto Cesana and George Antheil, Gold channelled his talents into films in 1946, first as an arranger, then as composer. He won an Academy Award for his score for the 1960 film Exodus, and earned Oscar nominations for On the Beach (1959), It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) and The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1967). Formerly the director of Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra, Ernest Gold was also the founder/conductor of the Los Angeles Senior Citizen's Orchestra.