Archive for Composers

Dudley Moore

Posted in Hillside Cemetery (Scotch Plains) with tags , , , on October 26, 2020 by Cade

moored1April 19, 1935 – March 27, 2002

What Dudley Moore lacked in stature, he more than made up for in talent. The diminutive English actor/comedian was also a brilliant musician who learned to play organ and piano at a young age. His musical ability led to scholarships and eventually to Oxford, where he fell in love with jazz…and comedy.

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Harry Warren

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , on December 21, 2018 by Cade

December 24, 1893 – September 22, 1981

Academy Award winning composer, Harry Warren, was one of the first songwriters to focus mainly on the newfangled medium called “movies.” He wrote more than 500 songs over the course of his career. He gave us massive hits like “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “Jeepers Creepers” and many, many more. Along with lyricist Al Dubin, Warren scored the first hit film musical, 42nd Street. He worked for all the major film studios – oftentimes alongside legendary director/choreographer, Busby Berkeley – and partnered with many of the most famous lyricists of the day, including, but not limited to, Johnny Mercer, Mack Gordon and Ira Gershwin. Continue reading

Leonard Bernstein

Posted in Green-Wood Cemetery with tags , on December 5, 2016 by Cade

bernstein1August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990

“The other night I bippy nigh, blabba habba dooby die, mowt say hiddy lie, LEO-NARD BERN-STEIN!” – It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) – R.E.M. (paraphrased)

Louis “Leonard” Bernstein was and is an American musical treasure. Reaching international acclaim, Bernstein is most widely known as the long-time musical director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and for his many stage and screen compositions. Bernstein grew up in Massachusetts, graduated from Harvard and, by way of grad school in Philadelphia, made his way to New York. It was in New York where he joined The Revuers and began his composing and conducting career. In 1943, he filled in as the main conductor for the NYPO and became an instant success. Continue reading

Fred Ebb

Posted in Green-Wood Cemetery with tags , , on November 28, 2016 by Cade

ebb1April 8, 1928 – September 11, 2004

Lyricist Fred Ebb worked with a number of composers throughout his career, but it was his partnership with John Kander that garnered him his biggest successes. Kander and Ebb wrote some of Broadway’s biggest all-time hits: Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, among othersIn addition to the stage, they wrote for films as well. Most notably contributing the theme song to Martin Scorsese’s 1971 film New York, New York which was launched into the stratosphere by Frank Sinatra. Continue reading

George and Ira Gershwin

Posted in Westchester Hills Cemetery with tags , on October 13, 2015 by Cade

gershwin2September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937
December 6, 1896 – August 17, 1983

The mere utterance of few names in American music make as immediate and complete of an impact as the name “Gershwin”.

The composer/lyricist brothers (George/Ira, respectively) had a profound influence on music in the early 1900’s. George’s body of work covers everything from Classical to Popular, with stops on Broadway and in opera along the way. The younger Gershwin landed his first music job shilling songs in New York’s fabled Tin Pan Alley at the age of 15. Ira waited a little longer, but by the time the brothers teamed up for the first time with 1924’s Lady Be Good, their golden touch was evident. Continue reading

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Posted in Kensico Cemetery with tags , on March 18, 2014 by Cade

rachmaninoff1April 1, 1873 – March 28, 1943

The last of the great Romantic Russian composers, Sergei Rachmaninoff was born into a prominent, if broke, old-aristocratic family. He overcame a torrid childhood filled with dying siblings, a deadbeat father and multiple homes. Through it all, his love for the piano endured. Despite being a below-average student, Rachmaninoff went on to study at the Moscow Conservatory where he excelled. A gifted musician and composer who was influenced by predecessors like Tchaikovsky, he wrote the majority of his catalog before the age of 35. Continue reading

W.C. Handy

Posted in Woodlawn Cemetery (Bronx) with tags , , on March 11, 2014 by Cade

handy1November 16, 1873 – March 28, 1958

William Christopher Handy was a legendary blues man who is often cited as the “Father of the Blues.” Handy was notable for drawing on folk and dixie jazz stylings and for his prolific publishing. The latter is especially important since he was one of the first African Americans to have success in music publishing. His scores such as “Memphis Blues,” “Yellow Dog Rag” and “Saint Louis Blues” would become standards of the genre’s early popularity. Continue reading

George M. Cohan

Posted in Woodlawn Cemetery (Bronx) with tags , on November 20, 2013 by Cade

cohan1July 3, 1878 – November 5, 1942

George Michael Cohan was – to put it simply (and to steal mercilessly from many before me) – “the man who owned Broadway.” The son of Irish Catholic performers, Cohan grew up on stage as a member of the family vaudeville act, The Four Cohans. At an early age, he began writing his own skits…and then his own songs. Fast forward a few years and little George had over 300 songs to his credit, including classics like “The Yankee Doodle Boy,” “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “Over There.” Continue reading

Irving Berlin

Posted in Woodlawn Cemetery (Bronx) with tags , on September 22, 2013 by Cade

berlin1May 11, 1888 – September 22, 1989

To simply refer to Irving Berlin as a “composer” is like calling the Pacific Ocean a “puddle.” Berlin’s 70 year career broke when the Russian (Belarusian)-American songwriter wrote “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” The song became an international sensation and launched Irving from the stoops of Tin Pan Alley into the stratosphere…where he thrived for more than half a century. Many of the songs Berlin would write would become so common place to future generations, that it’s hard to imagine that someone actually wrote them.  “White Christmas,” “Puttin’ On The Ritz,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Easter Parade,” “Happy Holiday” and “God Bless America” to name just a few. It is said he wrote more than 1,500 songs. Continue reading