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Composers Datebook™ is a daily two-minute program designed to inform, engage, and entertain listeners with timely information about composers of the past and present. Each program notes significant or intriguing musical events involving composers of the past and present—with appropriate and accessible music related to each.
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Today's date marks the birthday anniversary of Morton Gould, a quintessentially American composer, conductor, and advocate for music, who was born in Richmond Hill, New York, on today's date in 1913.
A child prodigy, he published his first work of music at the tender age of six. His teenage years coincided with the Great Depression, and Gould played piano for New York movie theaters and vaudeville acts. When Radio City Music Hall opened, Gould was hired as its staff pianist.
By the late 1930s, he was conducting and arranging orchestral programs for radio networks, and by the 1940s was writing scores for Hollywood films and Broadway shows. A decade or so later, he was writing music for TV. Gould became a favorite conductor for RCA recording sessions of both popular and classical music on LP.
All his life, Gould composed original, well-crafted works that gracefully incorporated American sounds ranging from spirituals to tap-dancing. One of these, for a singing fire department, he titled—with a sly wink at his colleague Aaron Copland—"Hosedown."
Gould was a serious composer with a healthy sense of humor AND a keen sense of the business of music. He served for many decades as the president of ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers,) lobbying hard for the intellectual property rights of composers in the age of the Internet.
Gould died in 1996 at the newly-opened Disney Institute in Orlando, Florida, where he was invited to serve as its first resident guest composer.
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Daily Classical Music Update
A couple minutes of daily knowledge about classical composers. Topical and timely. Always learning something new.
Date published: 2014-05-08