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Allyn Ferguson was one of Hollywood's busiest film and TV composers. He had the very highest acclaim of his peers.
A Ferguson theme is always eagerly applauded. With his unique melodic talent he has produced some of the most beautiful themes extant. And in orchestration he was a master of original colorations. Add to this, Allyn's great jazz writing over the years and you have the picture of this remarkable musical artist.
Allyn's abilities are hardly surprising. He started learning trumpet at the age of four, with Red Nichol's father. He started serious study of the piano at seven and was concertising at twelve years of age.
About this time, Allyn started writing and playing jazz. This eventually led to associations with Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, and other jazz greats.
Allyn studied with Nadia Boulanger in France and then with Ernst Toch and Aaron Copland at Tanglewood where his piano concerto won him a scholarship.
He obtained his BA and MA degrees in music from San Jose State University, CA. He then taught composition and piano at Stanford University while pursuing his doctorate.
While at Stanford, he formed his noted Chamber Jazz Sextet, and became very active with Kenneth Patchen in the poetry and jazz movement.
Moving to Los Angeles, he soon started writing and producing broadcast themes and IDs - some of the most beautiful music ever heard on radio in the city.
Allyn was also in great demand, as Musical Director for many famous singers. On record, he has backed Johnny Mathis, Sarah Vaughn, Andy Williams, Julie Andrews, to name a few. Among his musical videos, he is especially proud of one in which he featured trumpet man Freddie Hubbard.
Among Allyn's TV credits are 'Charlie's Angels', 'Barney Miller' and 'Camille'. His films include 'The Count of Monte Cristo', 'The Man in the Iron Mask', 'The Four Feathers', 'All Quiet on the Western Front', 'Les Miserables', 'A Tale of Two Cities', 'Little Lord Fauntleroy' and 'Ivanhoe'.
He was particularly proud of his work written for the Stan Kenton Neophonic Orchestra, 'Passacaglia and Fugue'. Allyn says, "It's a baroque form used rather strictly with contemporary rhythmic mood".
Allyn Ferguson was one of the most outspoken, honest, and stimulating critics of today's music business. A discussion with Allyn was always a delight.
"It's music versus the music business," he asserted. "Music is one thing; the music business is something else. One of the few ways to make music for a living in our society is in film. It can be hard, though, for the old classical composers. There are fine composers who can starve. You starve if you don't know how to market."
Years ago, the altruistic Ferguson put a bundle of his money in the Grove School of Music, which he owned, together with composer/arranger, Dick Grove. "The music business has been very good to me. I came from the teaching world. I wanted to put something back," Allyn averred.
Grove School of Music, with its 38,000 square feet in a northern suburb of Los Angeles was closed in 1991 due to changes in legislature. "It was a foundation for contemporary music education," he declared.
With all his many great achievements in music, Allyn Ferguson established himself as a very successful composer, conductor, educator and important figure in the music industry.
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