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Understanding the Music: Anderson - Bugler's Holiday
American composer Leroy Anderson was born in Cambridge Massachusetts on June 29,
1908. He began his musical studies at the age of 11 at the New England Conservatory
of Music in Boston. While in the Cambridge High and Boston Latin School orchestra
he composed and conducted the class song for his graduation ceremonies. He entered
Harvard University as a music major, and graduated magna cum laude. He continued
at Harvard to complete his MA in music, studying orchestration and composition
with Georges Enescu and Walter Piston. While at Harvard he played trombone in
the Harvard University Band. After finishing his MA in 1930 he was appointed Director
of the Harvard University Band, which he served until 1935, when he moved to New
York. In this capacity he had the opportunity to create many clever compositions
and arrangements which ultimately caught the attention of Arthus Fiedler, then
the Conductor of the Boston Pops.
Andersons's first arrangement for the Pops was a medley of Harvard songs in
1936. Fiedler encouraged Anderson to write many additional original compositions
for the Pops concerts given every summer in Boston His first original work for
the Pops was Jazz Pizzicato, in 1938.
During his tenure with the Harvard University Band Anderson continued graduate
studies in German and Scandinavian languages, which resulted in his eventual
assignment as a translator for the US Army during World war II. After his discharge
from the army Anderson became the arranger and orchestrator for the Boston Pops
from 1946 to 1950. In 1949 the Andersons moved to Woodbury, Connecticut, where
they raised four children.
Although he wrote a piano concerto, and a Broadway musical Goldilocks,
with Jean and Walter Kerr, Anderson is probably best remembered for his light
classical compositions, which Fiedler continued to premier with the Boston Pops,
including Trumpeter's Lullaby, Syncopated Clock, Fiddle Faddle,
and the 1952 number one hit Blue Tango.. He continued to compose and conduct
orchestral concerts throught the country until his death in 1975. In 1988 he was
elected posthumously to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.