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Article

Richard Swift

revised by Steve Metcalf

(Seiko)

(b Seattle, WA, 9 July 1938). Composer. He studied composition with Robert Palmer (i) at Cornell University (MA in English literature 1961, DMA 1965), and continued his studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris (1962–3), Ernst Pepping in Berlin (1965–6), and Gunther Schuller at the Berkshire Music Center (1966). He joined the faculty of UCLA in 1966 and was associate professor of music until 1976; during those years he founded and directed the Twice Ensemble, conducted the collegium musicum and was composer-in-residence for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (1971–4). He was Andrew Mellon Professor at the California Institute of Technology in 1975 and taught at the California Institute of the Arts (1976). In 1980 he became composer-in-residence for the San Francisco Ballet. He re-joined the UCLA faculty in 1996 and was Visiting Professor in 1999. He has written over 15 film scores and has worked as a consultant and arranger for stage musicals, including Duke Ellington's ...

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Daniel Goldmark

(b Minneapolis, MN, 28 March, 1941). Composer for television, conductor, arranger, and orchestrator. Clausen grew up in Jamestown, ND, where he took up French horn and piano, as well as singing in school choirs. He attended North Dakota State University studying mechanical engineering before a summer in New York City, before being exposed to first-run Broadway musicals and other professional musical settings convinced him he should pursue music instead. He took up string bass and baritone sax and graduated with a degree in music in 1963, followed by a masters degree at Berklee College of Music.

After moving to southern California, his first high-profile professional gig was as an arranger for the second season of The Donny and Marie Show, and eventually conductor and music director for the show’s third season. He moved away from variety and into scripted drama with his work on Moonlighting; during this time he also scored the comedy series ...

Article

Ryan Dohoney

(b Concord, NH, March 7, 1940; d Cheektowaga, NY, April 9, 2016). American filmmaker, composer, violinist, and media artist. He began playing violin in his youth and studied with Ronald Knudsen. He became fascinated with the physics of sounds and interested in intonation, the harmonic series, long-held tones, and the act of close listening. He attended Harvard University and received an AB in mathematics in 1962. While at Harvard he met Henry Flynt and Christian George Wolff and became involved with the post-Cagean avant garde based in New York. In 1959 Conrad met La Monte Young, who became a frequent collaborator in the mid-1960s. Conrad credited an encounter with the music of 17th-century composer and violinist Heinrich Ignaz Biber in the late 1950s with a profound transformation of his musical thinking, drawing his attention to variable tunings and the role of timbre as an aesthetic concern. Conrad’s exposure to the music of Ali Akbar Khan also heightened his interest in drones as a basis for musical performance....

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Alan Silvestri poses in the press room with the award for outstanding music direction for a series (original dramatic score) for his work on "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" and the award for outstanding main title theme music for his work on "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" at the 2014 Creative Arts Emmys at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Los Angeles....

Article

Daniele Buccio

(b New York, NY, Aug 5, 1953). American composer and media artist. He studied film and video art at the State University of New York at Buffalo (MA 1976) and composition with Pauline Oliveros (1974), La Monte Young (1974–6), and finally alvin Lucier at Wesleyan University (MA 1982). He has directed and composed music for a number of his own ensembles, including the Orchestra of Excited Strings, the first iteration of which formed in 1979. Among the most rock-oriented of minimalist composers, he has experimented with performance techniques, explored original systems of tuning, and modified or created new instruments to achieve specific timbral effects. In 1984 he moved to Berlin, where he became composer-in-residence at Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Since arriving in Europe he has expanded his creative activities: staging multi-day performances (The Memory Projects, 1995–2001); creating installations such as From the Archives...

Article

David Ades

(Joseph)

(b Toronto, ON, 24 July 1917; d Guernsey, 23 April 2005). Canadian arranger, composer, and conductor. He began his career as a trumpet player in dance bands and later worked for Percy Faith's CBC Orchestra. By 1942 he had composed two symphonies, and in 1944 he came to Britain as conductor of the Canadian Band of the Allied Expeditionary Force, alongside Glenn Miller and George Melachrino fronting the US and British bands. He took his army discharge in Britain, where Decca contracted him to work with their leading singers such as Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields; the BBC granted him a radio series with his own orchestra. He began composing for the cinema, and early successes out of some 40 scores included Spring in Park Lane, Maytime in Mayfair, and Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. The emergence of LPs provided orchestra leaders such as Farnon the opportunity to develop their arranging and composing talents more fully, and his Decca albums from the 1950s have become highly prized by admirers, especially fellow musicians in the United States. Many have acknowledged his influence, including John Williams, Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones, and Johnny Mandel. Farnon's light orchestral cameos are among the finest to have been written since World War II, notably ...

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Tristian Evans

(b Baltimore, MD, 31 Jan 1937). American composer. Philip Glass is considered one of the founding figures of minimalist music. After studying at the University of Chicago (1952–6) and the Juilliard School (1957–62) he received a Fulbright scholarship that supported him to develop his craft with Nadia Boulanger in Paris (1964–6). During this period, he served as Ravi Shankar’s music assistant for the film Chappaqua, which depicts the life of its director and protagonist, Conrad Rooks, and his struggles with drug addiction. On returning to the United States, Glass collaborated with the Chicago-based Kartemquin Film company on Inquiring Nuns and Marco (see Eaton, 2013). This period of soundtrack production was short-lived, however, as he later concentrated on concert music and opera, producing such key works as Music in Twelve Parts (1971–4) and Einstein on the Beach (1975–6)....

Article

Durrell Bowman

(Roy)

(b Los Angeles, 14 Aug 1953; d Santa Barbara, CA, 22 June 2015). American film composer and conductor. The son of the Bohemian American production designer Harry Horner, James Horner studied at the RCM, where his teachers included György Ligeti. He moved to California in the early 1970s and attended the University of the Pacific and then USC. He then earned the master’s degree in composition and music theory at UCLA, where he also taught music theory and worked on a doctorate; his professors included Paul Chihara. In 1978 Horner scored a series of films for the American Film Institute (including The Watcher), and in 1979 he began scoring feature-length films, including work for B-movie producer Roger Corman.

Horner often incorporates electronic elements, choral or solo vocal music (including wordless female voices), and Celtic and other ‘world music’ elements. He has scored a large number of science fiction and action films, and also many dramas and children’s films, totaling nearly one hundred feature film scores as of ...

Article

Mark Brill

(Alexis)

(b Lyons, France, 13 Sept 1924; d Malibu, CA, 28 March 2009). French composer. He studied engineering at the University of Lyons and at the Sorbonne, then attended the Paris Conservatoire, studying percussion with Passerone and composition with Honegger and Joseph Martenot, inventor of the ondes martenot. He served in the army during World War II, and in the late 1940s played percussion in the navy band, with the Orchestre Radio-Symphonique, and with the Compagnie Renaud-Barrault, where he became friends with Boulez and Delerue. When Jean Vilar became director of the Théâtre National Populaire, he made Jarre his musical director, resident composer, and conductor. In 1952 Georges Franju asked him to write the score for Hôtel des invalides. The film went on to become a minor classic, and Jarre turned henceforth almost exclusively to film music, writing scores for many French directors, including Jacques Demy, Alain Resnais, and Jean-Paul Rappeneau. His score for ...

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Josef Vostarek

In 

American movie composer and conductor of the Passion of the Christ Symphony John C. Debney during the premiere at the 57th Smetana's Litomysl Opera festival on June 21, 2015 in Litomysl, Czech Republic.

Photo/Josef Vostarek (CTK via AP Images)

Article

Leonidas Economou

(b Trikala, Greece, April 7, 1922; d Athens, Greece, April 8, 1990). Greek composer and lyricist. He was of middle-class origin and finished high school in 1941. He became fascinated with rebetiko and the music of the refugees from Asia Minor, and he was also influenced by religious Byzantine and folk music. From 1941 until 1947 he worked as a bouzouki player in taverns and nightclubs in Trikala and especially Thessaloniki. He was lauded for his first recorded compositions, made in 1947 and including the emblematic laïko song Nychtose choris fengari (‘The Night Fell with No Moon’), which were invested with various social and political meanings as a result of the civil war. In the following years he cooperated with several important laïko creators, and had dozens of hits in the late rebetiko style with singers like Haskil, Tsaousakis, and Bellou, and in grieving or Indian style with singers like Kazantzidis, Gavalas, Angelopoulos, Menidiatis, and Lydia. From ...

Article

Claire Levy

(b Yambol, 30 March 1933; d Plovdiv, 12 April 2014). Bulgarian composer and music educator, famous for his work in different genres but mostly for his distinctive contribution to the field of film music. He graduated from the Bulgarian State Conservatory in 1961 under Pancho Vladigerov (composition) and Assen Dimitrov (conducting). Author of the music for over 120 cartoons and more than 40 feature films, Karadimchev also wrote songs for rock bands, marked usually by laconic yet highly attractive melodic lines. His lyrical Byala tishina (‘White Silence’), performed by Georgi Minchev and The Shturtzite, made a particular breakthrough for Bulgarian rock music on the national level by winning the first prize at The Golden Orpheus Pop Music Festival in 1967. And his close collaboration with The Tangra in the early 1980s developed ‘the melodic style of rock’ in songs such as Bogatstvo (‘Fortune’) and Nashiat grad (‘Our Town’). Some of his title songs written for movies such as the ...

Article

Paul R. Laird

[Mitchnick, Irwin ]

(b Brooklyn, NY, Jan 30, 1928). American composer, producer, and director. After earning a BA and MA from the Yale School, where he studied with paul Hindemith , he worked as a jazz musician and from 1954 wrote music for television and commercial jingles, such as “Nobody doesn’t Like Sara Lee.” In 1957 Leigh formed the company Music Makers as a focus for these efforts. He wrote incidental music for two plays, Too Good to be True (1963) and Never Live over a Pretzel Factory (1964), and then composed with the lyricist Joe Darion the score for the Broadway hit Man of La Mancha (1965). Their Tony Award-winning score includes spirited “Spanish” gestures and songs that effectively describe characters and situations. The show itself, which won a Tony Award for Best Musical, ran 2328 performances and has remained popular. Leigh also wrote the scores for ...

Article

Steven E. Gilbert

(Guyn)

(b Tucson, AZ, 20 Feb 1911; d Tuscon, AZ, 1 July 2007). Composer and instrumentalist. At an early age he learnt, mostly by himself, to play clarinet, oboe, saxophone, and piano and performed locally in jazz bands and school music groups. He studied composition with Otto Luening at the University of Arizona (BM 1933, MM 1935), where he later taught (1957–76). He also taught at Bennington College (1935–46) and in various summer music programs. He appeared as an oboe and clarinet soloist both live and on New Music Quarterly Recordings. In 1941 he toured South America as a member of the League of Composers Woodwind Quintet. During the years 1945–7 he was a composer and arranger for Triumph Films in New York, producing scores for Farewell to Yesterday, The Man with my Face, and a number of short subjects. In 1952, on commission by ...

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Miriam Cutler arrives at the Outfest Opening Night Gala of "Vito" on Thursday, July 12, 2012 in Los Angeles.

(Photo by Katy Winn/Invision/AP)

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Laura (1944). Directed by Otto Preminger. Shown: one-sheet poster, featuring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews

20th Century-Fox/Photofest ©20th Century-Fox Film Corporation

Article

Martin Marks

(Stephen)

(b South Weymouth, MA, 4 Dec 1940; d Rhinebeck, NY, 7 Nov 2012). Composer. He attended the New England Conservatory of Music (1962–8) and studied the piano with Howard Goding. He then studied in Vienna with Hilda Langer-Rühl (1972–4), later becoming the director of the Music School at Rivers (Weston, MA, 1980–84). While there, he met the film producer Ismail Merchant and the director James Ivory, who helped him to make a documentary about Mannes's musically gifted children, Sweet Sounds (1976). Two years later he was asked to score the Merchant–Ivory adaptation of Henry James's The Europeans (1979). He scored more than a dozen films directed by Ivory, and worked on other independent films and related projects.

Robbins achieved particular distinction in his music for the three Merchant–Ivory films taken from E.M. Forster novels (A Room with A View...

Article

Lorena Guillén

(b El Palomar, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug 19, 1951). Argentine musician, recording producer, and film music composer. With his bands Arco Iris and Soluna, Santaolalla was one of the pioneers of Argentine “rock nacional” in the 1960s. In 1978 he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he formed the punk-influenced band Wet Picnic. In the early 1980s his interest in folk-rock fusion helped develop a unique Latin American rock and pop sound. He has produced albums for Argentine, Mexican, Colombian, and Chilean artists such as León Gieco, Divididos, Bersuit Vergarabat, Café Tacuba, Maldita Vecindad, Molotov, Julieta Venegas, Caifanes, Juanes, and Los Prisioneros. In the last decade Santaolalla has also produced classical-crossover recordings such as Kronos Quartet’s Nuevo and participated as a composer and performer for some tracks of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre. Santaolalla has also recorded his own solo albums: Santaolalla (1981), Gas (1995), and ...

Article

Craig Jennex

(b Thunder Bay, ON, Nov 28, 1949). Canadian pianist, composer, musical director, actor, producer, and bandleader. He has been musical director for David Letterman’s late-night shows since 1982. Prior to working with Letterman, Shaffer was a featured performer on “Saturday Night Live.” He has served as musical director and producer for the Blues Brothers and cowrote the 1980s dance hit “It’s raining men.” He has served as musical director for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony since its inception in ...

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(b New York, NY, 12 June 1928). Popular songwriter. He is known for his collaborations with his brother Robert B. Sherman (b New York, NY, 19 Dec 1925; d London, 5 March 2012). Their father was the songwriter Al Sherman. In the 1950s they wrote the hit song “You’re sixteen” for Johnny Burnette and songs for Annette Funicello, which gained them the attention of Walt Disney, for whom they subsequently wrote the songs for the film The Parent Trap (1961). From the early 1960s, as staff writers for Disney, they contributed songs to films including The Sword in the Stone (1963), which began a long-term association with the feature-length animated film. In the same year they wrote “It's a small world” for the 1964 World's Fair, a song which has subsequently become identified worldwide with Disneyland. They went on to contribute the now classic score to ...