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Article

Christopher Palmer

revised by Clifford McCarty, Martin Marks and Nathan Platte

(b New York, NY, 4 April 1922; d Ojai, CA, 18 Aug 2004). Composer and conductor. He was trained as a pianist but also studied composition with Israel Citkowitz, Roger Sessions, Ivan Langstroth and Stefan Wolpe. He attended New York University, then enlisted in the Army Air Corps (1942); he arranged and composed music for some 80 programs for the Armed Forces Radio Service and was a concert pianist for three years after his discharge. Norman Corwin then engaged him to score radio drama, which led to composition for films; Bernstein's third film, Sudden Fear (1952), attracted favorable attention. In 1955, despite suffering career difficulties due to McCarthyism (see Marmorstein), he rose to sudden prominence with his score for The Man with the Golden Arm. In this, as in several scores that followed (e.g. Walk on the Wild Side, 1962), he effectively blended jazz into a modern symphonic idiom to suit gritty stories and contemporary settings. He subsequently became known for his rousing scores for westerns and action films (notably ...

Article

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

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 ...

Article

Martin Marks

[Jerrald]

(b Los Angeles, CA, 10 Feb 1929; d Beverly Hills, CA, 21 July 2004). Composer and conductor. In the 1940s he studied the piano with Jakob Gimpel and theory and composition with Castelnuovo-Tedesco; he also attended Los Angeles City College, as well as Rózsa’s classes at the University of Southern California. In the 1950s he worked primarily for CBS, composing and conducting music first for radio, then for television. His television credits include numerous scores for such live dramatic programs as Climax! and Playhouse 90, as well as for episodes of long-running series such as Gunsmoke and The Twilight Zone. Although he continued to write for television with some frequency during the 1960s and 70s, after 1962 he mostly scored feature films. Over four decades he completed scores for more than 160 films and collaborated repeatedly with directors including Schaffner, Ridley Scott, Dante, Verhoeven and Schepisi. He worked closely with two outstanding orchestrators, Arthur Morton and Alexander Courage....

Article

James Wierzbicki

(Warren)

(b Cambridge, MA, 27 March 1920). Conductor, arranger, harmonica player, and composer. He began his professional career in 1938 as a performer and arranger with the Borrah Minevitch Harmonica Rascals. His arrangements for this ensemble brought him to the attention of commercial musicians, and within a few years he was working as an orchestrator for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios on musical films that included Girl Crazy, Meet me in St. Louis, and As Thousands Cheer. After returning to Boston, where he was music director of the Vaughn Monroe Orchestra in the late 1940s, Hayman was named principal arranger for the Boston Pops Orchestra in 1950. In the decades that followed he served as music director for numerous leading entertainers, including Bob Hope, Johnny Cash, Red Skelton, Johnny Carson, Andy Williams, Pat Boone, Olivia Newton-John, and Bobby Vinton. His tune “Ruby” (from the soundtrack for the film Ruby Gentry [1953...

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

Martin Marks

(b Philadelphia, PA, 4 Aug 1912; d Los Angeles, CA, 9 Aug 2004). Composer, arranger, conductor, and author. He first learned about music from his father, who conducted an orchestra for silent films. While at school he studied several instruments and played professionally in dance bands; at the University of Pennsylvania he studied composition with Harl McDonald and developed a strong interest in jazz. He went to New York (1934), studied privately with Isadore Freed, and continued to play and arrange for bands; his arrangement of “I got rhythm” impressed Gershwin and won him a position as an arranger at Harms/Chappell.

In 1935 Raksin went to Hollywood to work with Charlie Chaplin on the music for Modern Times. This collaboration yielded one of the most effective original scores ever written for a silent film. He also met Alfred Newman, who nurtured his career as a film composer. Raksin settled permanently in Los Angeles in ...

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 ...

Article

W. Anthony Sheppard

[Takeshi ]

(b Sacramento, CA, Nov 11, 1922; d San Dimas, CA, April 17, 2002). American Jazz and film music arranger, composer, and band leader. Shindo grew up in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles where he heard traditional Japanese music. In his teens, he became interested in jazz but planned to pursue a career in electrical engineering. As a second generation (Nisei) Japanese American, Shindo was interned at the Manzanar Relocation Center in March 1942. He pursued musical studies in the camp and completed correspondence courses in orchestration. Shindo left Manzanar in November 1944 when he enlisted as a translator in the Military Intelligence Service. Discharged from the Army in 1947, he formed his own big band in Los Angeles.

Shindo continued musical studies at multiple institutions in Los Angeles, studying composition at the University of Southern California with miklós Rózsa and eventually completing a Masters in Asian Studies in ...

Article

Christopher Palmer

revised by Martin Marks

(Towner)

(b New York, NY, 8 Feb 1932). Composer, arranger, conductor, and pianist. He learned the piano from the age of eight and after moving to Los Angeles with his family in 1948 studied with the pianist and arranger Bobby Van Eps. He served in the US Air Force (1951–4), orchestrating for and conducting service bands, then moved back to New York, where he studied for a year with Rosina Lhévinne at the Juilliard School and played in jazz clubs and recording studios. After returning to the West Coast he enrolled at UCLA and took up private composition studies with Arthur Olaf Andersen and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, among others. From 1956 Williams was a studio pianist in Hollywood and two years later began arranging and composing music for television, contributing the main title to Checkmate (1960; see Thomas and Burlingame). Through the mid-1960s he composed for several series and worked for Columbia Records as a pianist, arranger, and conductor; he also made a number of albums with André Previn. During this period Williams began scoring feature films, with many of his earliest scores for comedies, such as ...