- Richard Sparks
(b Chicago, IL, May 14, 1917; d Bynum, NC, Sept 22, 1987). American conductor, composer, and arranger. Luboff grew up in Chicago, where he studied composition with Leo Sowerby. He was a singer and arranger for radio and by the mid-1940s had moved to New York to further his career. In 1949 he moved to Los Angeles to become the Music Director for NBC Radio’s The Railroad Hour with Gordon MacRae, creating a choir for the show. While there, he worked with singers such as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Doris Day, and scored for television and film. The Norman Luboff Choir, well known from their appearances on both radio and television, began recording in 1952, creating more than 75 albums, such as Songs of the West, Songs of the South, and Calypso Holiday. The choir began yearly tours in 1963, gradually expanding their repertoire beyond folk and popular music until each program consisted of an equal balance of classical and popular music.
In 1950 Luboff established Walton Music, at first to promote and sell his own compositions and arrangements, but the company soon began to publish other composers as well. After a 1971 invitation to conduct in Sweden he began publishing music of Scandinavian composers, which remains a focus for Walton (now run by his widow, Gunilla Luboff).