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Ryan Dohoney

(b Concord, NH, March 7, 1940). 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 credits 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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revised by Martin Marks

[Daniel Robert]

(b Los Angeles, CA, 29 May 1953). Composer, rock singer, arranger, and guitarist. With his brother Richard he formed the theater company the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo in the 1970s, which in 1979 became Oingo Boingo, an eight-piece, new wave band led by Elfman as vocalist and songwriter. During the 1980s the band developed a distinctive synthesizer and horn-based sound; occasionally its songs were featured in youth-market films, such as for the title song of Weird Science (1985), but its ten or so albums had limited commercial success and it formally broke up in 1995.

Beginning in 1985 Elfman also began scoring films, becoming especially well known for his association with the director Tim Burton; after Batman (1989), he became one of Hollywood's most sought-after younger composers. He has worked on nearly all of Burton's films, creating colorful, rhythmically driving and knowingly referential scores, well matched to Burton's surreal style. Elfman has also written the theme music for many television shows, notably “The Simpsons”. Objecting to the overbearing use of sound effects in such action-driven films as ...

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Mychael Danna, left, and Jeff Danna arrive at the Television Academy's Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in Los Angeles.

(Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

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[Snuffy]

(b Baton Rouge, LA, 13 Feb 1950). Television composer and guitarist. After early experience playing guitar in rock bands, Walden was a member of the blues-based rock trio Stray Dog, with whom he recorded two albums on Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Manticore label. After moving to Hollywood in 1974, Walden pursued session recording work with major figures such as Stevie Wonder, Rita Coolidge, Donna Summer, Eric Burdon, Greg Lake, Carl Palmer, and Chaka Khan. While Walden lacked notational skills and experience scoring for television, the producers of the 1980s television series thirtysomething were intrigued by the name “Snuffy,” a curiosity that led to an audition and ultimately his assignment to compose for the series (along with fellow composers Jay Gruska and Stewart Levin). The success of thirtysomething led to a steady stream of further work in television. He has long been associated with the serial dramas made by the Bedford Falls Company, whose work besides ...

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Clifford McCarty

(b Chicago, IL, 8 Aug 1900; d Palm Springs, CA, 10 Nov 1956). Composer, conductor, and violinist. He began to play the violin at the age of six and four years later went to live with his grandfather in Warsaw, where he studied at the conservatory. He made his debut as a soloist with the Warsaw PO in 1917. In 1920 he returned to the United States and the following year made his American debut at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. Between 1922 and 1929 he was a leader in movie theaters, a musical supervisor of vaudeville productions, a violinist and arranger for Ted Fiorito's orchestra, and the assistant musical director of the Balaban and Katz theater chain.

He first worked for radio in 1929 and in 1931 became music director for Brunswick Records, where in 1932 he arranged and conducted several selections from Show Boat with soloists, chorus, and orchestra; released on four discs, it was the first American album made from the score of a Broadway musical. In ...