Born: May 2, 1923 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: June 25, 2000 - Charlemont, Massachusetts, USA
The American violinist, conductor and composer, Arnold Black, was found early on to have cerebral palsy. Treatment and therapy improved his condition, but all his life he lacked mobility in his right side, which made his decision to study the violin all the more remarkable. He graduated from the Juilliard School of Music in New York having majored in violin and composition. As a violinist he attained considerable success, becoming the concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony and the assistant concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra.
But composing increasingly claimed him. In the early 1950's Arnold Black was composer in residence at the Circle in the Square Theater, where he worked with the director Jose Quintero and wrote scores for some acclaimed productions, including Ulysses in Nighttown, based on the James Joyce novel and starring Zero Mostel. While in England in 1959 with a touring production of that play, he met Ruth M. Lloyd, a Royal College of Music graduate, who became his wife that year.
Arnold Black was a versatile composer of concert works, theater music and film scores. He wrote theater scores for productions at the National Shakespeare Company and the Eugene O'Neill Theater. He was also the founding director of the Mohawk Trail Concerts chamber series in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, and served as director of the series for more than 30 years. Until 1998 he maintained a second residence in Manhattan. He died in
2000 at his home in Charlemont, Massachusetts. He was 77. The cause was undetermined, but he had had heart trouble in recent years, his wife, Ruth, said. In addition to his wife, their daughter, Hilary, survives him.