Gould, Morton

Gould, Morton
▪ 1997

      U.S. composer, conductor, and pianist (b. Dec. 10, 1913, Richmond Hill, N.Y.—d. Feb. 21, 1996, Orlando, Fla.), was noted for compositions that bridged the gap between classical and popular music. He combined jazz, folk, and pop elements in music for Broadway shows, ballets, motion pictures, and television, as well as the concert stage. Gould's musical talent became apparent when he was a young child. At age four he was able to improvise on the piano; he composed a waltz at six; and at eight he received a scholarship to the New York Institute of Musical Art (later the Juilliard School). While in his teens Gould gave piano recitals that featured improvisations on themes suggested by audience members. He went on to act as composer, arranger, and conductor on radio programs, first (1935-42) for a weekly show on the Mutual Network station WOR and then (1942-45) for sponsored broadcasts. Among his works during that period were American Concertette for piano and orchestra, which Jerome Robbins choreographed as Interplay, Latin-American Symphonette, and Lincoln Legend. Another notable composition was for Agnes de Mille's ballet Fall River Legend (1947), based on the Lizzie Borden murder case. Gould wrote the scores for two Broadway musicals, Billion Dollar Baby (1945) and Arms and the Girl (1950), motion pictures, such as Windjammer (1958), and the television miniseries "Holocaust" (1978). In 1966 he won a Grammy award for a recording of Charles Ives's music made with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Beginning in 1959 he was on the board of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, and he served as its president from 1986 to 1994. Gould received a Kennedy Center award in 1994 and the following year won a Pulitzer Prize for the composition Stringmusic.

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▪ American musician and composer
born Dec. 10, 1913, Richmond Hill, N.Y., U.S.
died Feb. 21, 1996, Orlando, Fla.

      American composer, conductor, and pianist noted for his synthesis of popular idioms with traditional forms of composition and orchestration.

      Gould studied piano with Abby Whiteside and composition with Vincent Jones at the New York Institute of Musical Art. After working as a radio accompanist, he arranged and conducted a series of radio programs devoted to the more popular classical literature, and thereafter he composed and conducted for films, television, the theatre, and recordings. He became a popular guest conductor with many major American symphony orchestras. His compositions often utilize American themes and include musical comedies, ballets, numerous orchestral works, and some pieces for piano. Among his more notable works are the Latin-American Symphonette (1941), Lincoln Legend (1942), Interplay (1945), the score of the Broadway musical Billion Dollar Baby (1945), and the Fall River Legend ballet score (1948).

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Universalium. 2010.

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