Anderson, Leroy, 1908-1975

Alternative names
Birth 1908-06-29
Death 1975-05-18

Biographical notes:

American composer.

From the description of The Leroy Anderson papers 1933-1988 (inclusive). (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 702152829

Leroy Anderson was born on June 29, 1908 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His family was musical, and as a boy he studied double bass, organ, and trombone. He continued his musical education at Harvard, where his teachers included Walter Piston and Georges Enesco; he graduated from college in 1929, and earned the M.A. in 1930. In the early 1930s he did additional graduate work in Scandinavian languages at Harvard; he also directed the Harvard Band and held numerous other musical jobs.

In 1936 Anderson arranged a medley of Harvard songs for Harvard Night at the Boston Pops. In the ensuing decades, he would become famous largely for the many pieces he composed or arranged for Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, including Jazz Pizzicato (1938), The Syncopated Clock (1945), Sleigh Ride (1948), The Typewriter (1950), and Blue Tango (1951). By the early 1950s, Anderson's music had become extraordinarily popular; his recordings sold in the millions, and American orchestras performed his works more frequently than those of any other American composer.

Anderson later turned several of his most popular orchestral works into songs, with lyrics by Mitchell Parish; of these, Sleigh Ride has had the most lasting success. Anderson also composed a piano concerto (1953), as well as Goldilocks (1958), a Broadway musical with words by Walter and Jean Kerr and Joan Ford.

In 1942 Anderson married Eleanor Jane Firke; they had a daughter and three sons. In 1949 the family settled in Woodbury, Connecticut. Leroy Anderson died in Woodbury on May 18, 1975.

From the guide to the The Leroy Anderson Papers, 1933-1988 (inclusive), (Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University)


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  • Music--Manuscripts--Facsimiles
  • Trumpet with wind ensemble, Arranged--Parts
  • Clarinet choir music, Arranged--Parts
  • Violin and piano music, Arranged--Scores
  • Popular instrumental music


  • Composers
  • Arrangers


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