Joseph Carl Breil

Joseph Carl Breil (29 June 1870 – 23 January 1926) was an American lyric tenor, stage director, composer and conductor. He was one of the earliest American composers to compose specific music for motion pictures. His first film was Les amours de la reine Élisabeth (1912) starring Sarah Bernhardt. He later composed and arranged scores for several other early motion pictures, including such epics as D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916). His love theme for "Birth of a Nation", titled "The Perfect Song", was published by Chappell & Co. in an arrangement for voice and keyboard. It was later used as the theme for the radio show "Amos and Andy". Breil graduated from Duquesne University (then the Pittsburgh Catholic College of the Holy Ghost) in 1888. He later composed the alma mater for the university, which was first performed in October 1920. He also pursued studies at St Fidelis College (Butler, Pennsylvania) and Curry College before being sent by his family to the University of Leipzig to study law. While in Leipzig he began to study music composition and singing at the Leipzig Conservatory.


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