Quality music for me can come either from something I like to listen to, something that is interesting and unique, or something that I enjoy(ed) playing in band and orchestra. My ABC list is going to be some of the composers that I enjoy.
Most band musicians know him as the composer of Sleigh Ride. It is played at the close of lots of holiday concerts. It is a fun piece to hear.
Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) was a prolific composer. He was born in Cambridge, MA, to Swedish immigrants who came to the US as children. They were a musical family and Leroy started piano lessons at age 5. In high school, he played the trombone in the band and joined the mandolin club. He was asked to learn to play double bass, according to one story, which he did in a weekend. He played it so well after practicing for the weekend that one would have thought he had practiced all year.
He was so astute musically that he was asked to compose a song for the graduating class in 1923, again in 1924, and for his own graduation in 1925. He also conducted the orchestra for these. After graduating, Anderson attended Harvard. He earned his B.A. and his M.A. in music. He continued his studies at Harvard to get a Ph.D. in linguistics. He was a master at languages, eventually learning 9 different languages.
From Harvard, Anderson’s abilities and activities grew. He was a gifted composer but he was also a gifted conductor. Both of these are seen when you look at his list of associations he was a part of through the years.
Whether you enjoy band music, orchestra music, vocal pieces, or individual instrument pieces, there is something that Anderson created that you will enjoy.
Websites to view more information:
http://www.leroyanderson.com/biography.php – official biography page
https://www.pbs.org/sleighride/Biography/Bio.htm – PBS biography page for the special on Leroy Anderson
https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91935049 – NPR composer page
The Syncopated Clock
A CD sitting on our shelf is titled Erich Kunzel Rochester Pops – Syncopated Clock And Other Favorites By Leroy Anderson. It is a great introduction to Leroy Anderson and has lots of fun, instrumental music.
Lori, At Home.
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