The Kennedy Center

Gail Thompson Kubik



Biography

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, conductor, motion picture composer, violinist and teacher. 
 
Gail Thompson Kubik was born in Oklahoma, his father was Henry Kubik a lumberyard owner and his mother an accomplished singer Evalyn Thompson.  In 1930 his musical family formed the Kubik Ensemble consisting of sister Gail (violin), brother Howard (piano), brother Henry Jr. (cello) and his mother Evalyn (soprano singer).  They were a successful ensemble that traveled throughout New York and the Midwest.  He went on to study at the Eastman School of Music a music conservatory in Rochester, New York on a full scholarship at age 14.  He took violin from Samuel Belov and Scott Willits and premiered his first Violin Concerto in Chicago in 1938.  He attended the American Conservatory of Music and studied under Leo Sowerby.  He also attended Harvard University and studied with Walter Piston.  He also studied with Nadia Boulanger a French composer.  After university he taught school, violin, composition and music history at various institutions.  He worked at Monmouth College, Columbia University, Columbia University Teachers College and Scripps College.
 
He worked at the National Broadcasting Company television network and radio network headquarters in New York City writing music for radio drama programs at NBC.  He entered the military and was named music director for the military film unit Motion Picture Bureau at the Office of War Information (OWI) during World War II, headed by Frank Capra.  He composed scores for the Why We Fight Series and was discharged from the military in 1946 and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.  In 1950, he collaborated with Ted Geisel also known by the name of Dr. Seuss on a project entitled Gerald McBoing Boing.  1951 Gerald McBoing Boing won the Academy Award and the British Film Institute award. 
 
He was so successful composing and conducting the music scores of motion pictures, in 1952, he composed his Sinfonia Concertante which earned him the 1952 Pulitzer Prize in Music.  In 1955, he wrote his last film score, The Desperate Hours and his final teaching position was as composer in residence at Scripps College in Claremont, California.  He retired in 1980.  He was married four times and all his marriages ended in Divorce.  In 1939 he married Jessie Maver Dunn, 1951 Joyce Scott-Paine, 1952 Mary Tyler and in 1972 Joan Sanders.  He died at age 69 in 1984.
Gail Thompson Kubik