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Morton Gould

From Wind Repertory Project
Morton Gould

Biography

Morton Gould (10 December 1913, Richmond Hill, New York - 21 February 1996, Orlando, Fla.) was an American pianist, composer, conductor, and arranger. Gould was recognized early as a child prodigy with abilities in improvisation and composition. His first composition was published at age six. Gould studied at the Institute of Musical Art, although his most important teachers were Abby Whiteside and Vincent Jones.

During the Depression, Gould, while a teenager, worked in New York City playing piano in movie theaters, as well as with vaudeville acts. When Radio City Music Hall opened, Gould was hired as the staff pianist. By 1935, he was conducting and arranging orchestral programs for New York's WOR radio station, where he reached a national audience via the Mutual Broadcasting System, combining popular programming with classical music.

As a conductor, Gould led all of the major American orchestras as well as those of Canada, Mexico, Europe, Japan, and Australia. With his orchestra, he recorded music of many classical standards, including Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue on which he also played the piano. He won a Grammy Award in 1966 for his recording of Charles Ives' First Symphony, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 1983, Gould received the American Symphony Orchestra League's Gold Baton Award. In 1986, he was president of ASCAP, a position he held until 1994. In 1986 he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Incorporating new styles into his repertoire as they emerged, Gould incorporated wildly disparate elements, including a rapping narrator and a singing fire department into commissions for the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony. In 1993, his work Ghost Waltzes was commissioned for the ninth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. In 1994, Gould received the Kennedy Center Honor in recognition of lifetime contributions to American culture.

In 1995, Gould was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Stringmusic, a composition commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra in recognition of the final season of director Mtislav Rostropovich. In 2005, he was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also was a member of the board of the American Symphony Orchestra League and of the National Endowment for the Arts music panel.


Works for Winds


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