Spencer, Herbert (Winfield) [Herb]
- Warren M. Sherk
(b Santiago, Chile, April 7, 1905; d Los Angeles, Sep 18, 1992). American orchestrator, arranger, and composer born in Chile. He graduated from a boarding school in New Jersey where he played clarinet and saxophone in the band. At the University of Pennsylvania he dropped out of engineering school to study music. There he discovered jazz, arranged for a dance band, and met fellow student David Raksin. Moving to New York, he studied harmony, counterpoint, and theory with Pietro Floridia. As a saxophonist in the Vincent Lopez Orchestra in 1928 and 1929, he contributed some arrangements. He began studying with Joseph Schillinger, and would later study with Ernst Toch in Los Angeles. Spencer worked as an arranger for CBS for four years. Shortly after signing on as an arranger for music publisher Harms in 1934, he was assigned to Bobby Dolan who had a radio show in Los Angeles with George Burns and Gracie Allen who happened to be making a film. In Los Angeles, Spencer’s friend Edward Powell introduced him to Alfred Newman. When Newman joined 20th Century-Fox, Spencer was offered a contract as an arranger. He stayed until ...