Van Alexander

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Van Alexander
Van Alexander.jpg
Born Alexander Van Vliet Feldman
(1915-05-02)May 2, 1915
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died July 19, 2015(2015-07-19) (aged 100)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Bandleader, Composer.
Years active 1930-1985
External video
https://www.namm.org/library/oral-history/van-alexander Oral History, Van Alexander reflects on his collaboration with Ella Fitzgerald. Interview date October 18, 2001, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library]

Van Alexander (born Alexander Van Vliet Feldman, May 2, 1915 – July 19, 2015) was an American bandleader, arranger and composer. Alexander led bands and arranged from high school, and studied composition in college. He landed a job selling arrangements to Chick Webb in the middle of the 1930s. One of these, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket", became a hit for Webb and Ella Fitzgerald, and subsequently became one of her signature tunes. Alexander later arranged other nursery rhymes for jazz performance, such as "Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?" and "Got a Pebble in My Shoe".[1][2]

Career

In the late 1930s Alexander formed his own band and played theaters into the 1940s. Later in the 1940s, he was hired by Bob Crosby to work in Hollywood, and worked extensively as a composer, arranger and conductor for film scores. Alexander wrote a textbook on film arrangement in 1950 called First Arrangement, and Johnny Mandel studied under him. Alexander's scores include film noir titles such as Baby Face Nelson (1957), The Last Mile (1959), The Big Operator (1959), The Private Lives of Adam and Eve (1960), 13 Frightened Girls (1963), Strait-Jacket (1964), I Saw What You Did (1965) and Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966). Alexander also provided some of the music for television shows such as Hazel, The Farmer's Daughter, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Dennis the Menace and The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters (for one episode of which he received a nomination for a 1973 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction of a Variety, Musical or Dramatic Program).[3] He arranged and conducted for variety shows starring Mickey Rooney, Gordon MacRae, Dean Martin and James Stewart. Additionally, he was involved in recording sessions with Kay Starr, Dakota Staton, Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman, Dinah Shore, Doris Day and Peggy Lee. Alexander won several Emmy Awards for his television scores, and was presented with the Henry Mancini Award for Lifetime achievement from ASCAP.[2]

Van Alexander in 2013

Alexander turned 100 in May 2015.[4] He died on July 19, 2015 of heart failure in Los Angeles.[5]

References

  1. "Internet Movie Database". Van Alexander - Biography. IMDb.Com, Inc. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Chadbourne, Eugene. "Van Alexander". AllMusic - Artist Biography by Eugene Chadbourne. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  3. "Internet Movie Database". Primetime Emmy Awards - 1973. IMDB.Com, Inc. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  4. Burlingame, Jon (2015-05-04). "Arranger-Composer-Bandleader Van Alexander Turns 100". FMS Feature. The Film Music Society. Retrieved 2015-05-06. 
  5. Jon Burlingame (2015-07-19). "Van Alexander, Big-Band Leader and Film-TV Composer, Dies at 100". Variety. Retrieved 2015-07-23. 

External links