A distinguished Austrian composer for the musical theatre.
Read Full Biography

Frederick Loewe Biography

by Kim Summers

A composer who wrote several musical plays for Broadway, Frederick Loewe was notorious for not liking his own work. He collaborated with such Broadway legends as Earle Crooker and Alan Jay Lerner. Among his noted works are My Fair Lady, Camelot, and The Little Prince.

Born in Berlin to Viennese parents, Loewe was the son of an actor and an opera tenor. A quick learner, he began playing the piano at the age of five and composing for his father at the age of seven. When he was 13, he became the youngest pianist to perform with the Berlin Symphony. Katrina, a song composed by Frederick Loewe at 15, sold more than one million copies of sheet music. With confidence and a grand talent, Loewe traveled to America.

He began performing concerts in the United States in 1924. Although his talent and compositions were favorably received, he decided to perform in a Yorkville bar. This experience helped the young performer realize what it was that people enjoyed. After ten years of taking menial jobs in the United States, Loewe decided to broaden his professional music career by writing plays and musicals. In 1934, he contributed music for the Broadway hit Petticoat Fever. In 1937 he teamed up with Earle Crooker to compose his first musicals Salute to Spring and Great Lady. It was also in the early years of his career that he joined with lyricist Alan Jay Lerner. Together the two collaborated on such Broadway sensations as My Fair Lady, Camelot, and Brigadoon. Their play, Paint Your Wagon, was hailed by critics as being one of the most well written with tone poems. After Camelot, Lerner and Loewe went their separate ways to pursue solo careers. Realizing the success of their partnership, the two reunited in 1973. They collaborated to bring their 1958 musical Gigi to the stage. In addition the two wrote the score for the play and film The Little Prince. Loewe's musical career lasted more than 40 years. He collaborated with other well-known lyricists and composers. With a determination to succeed, he left Vienna at the ripe age of 20 to pursue a Broadway career in a place he had never been to before. During his career, he collaborated and worked on numerous Broadway musicals, all of which were successful and are still performed on Broadway today. Despite the fact that Loewe did not like his own work, all of his compositions were successful. He spent much of his life in Cannes, France after leaving the United States. He performed concerts and tours worldwide. He died in 1988 in Palm Springs, CA at the age of 83.

AllMusic Quiz