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John D. H. Greenwood

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Title: John D. H. Greenwood  
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Subject: Another Man's Poison, Man of Aran, Elephant Boy (film), John Greenwood, The Sleeping Cardinal
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John D. H. Greenwood

John Danforth Herman Greenwood (26 June 1889 – 15 April 1975), a composer best known for his work in motion pictures, was the son of a New Zealander, Alfred Greenwood (1842-1912) and his English-born wife Ottilie Rose Minna (1855-1932) née Schweitzer. He was named after his grandfather John Danforth Greenwood (1803-1890), a pioneering New Zealand doctor and educationist, who had emigrated in 1842 after losing his fortune in the French cement industry.


  • Education 1
  • Career 2
  • Archives 3
  • Filmography 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Greenwood was born in London. He learned piano and viola from his parents and at 18 entered the Royal College of Music to study viola and horn.


He was a classical composer who also wrote music scores for nearly 50 films from the 1930s to 1950s. He will be found on the credits of films from Man of Aran (1934) to Grand National Night (1954). While he no doubt gained considerable satisfaction from these compositions - and access to a large audience - there were also frustrations as the film editing process frequently required the removal or addition of a bar quite regardless of the overall theme of the piece. Whether his compositions of incidental music for Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night's Dream were intrinsically more satisfying is not known.

Serious works include La Belle Dame Sance Merci, Pippa Passes, Puncinello, and Salute to Gustav Holst which was premiered at the Sir Henry Wood Promenade Concerts in 1936.

During the War he worked on the staff of the BBC European Service as Assistant Music Supervisor. He died at Ditchling, aged 75.


Many of his manuscripts are held in the archives of McMaster University.[1]



  1. ^ McMaster University Library
  • Everyman's Dictionary of Music 5th Edition, 1975. ISBN 0-460-03022-1

External links

John D. H. Greenwood at the Internet Movie Database

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