Born: 1909 - Lower East Side, New York City, New York, USA
Died: February 26, 2002 - Miami Beach, Florida, USA
The American composer and violist, Maurice Gardner, began writing music at the age of 6. He studied composition with Leopold Mannes at the Juilliard School and at 19, while still at school, took a job composing for Paramount stage shows.
After a couple of years Maurice Gardner began working as a freelance composer, launching a busy 40-year career as a composer for films, radio and television, and for such artists as Victor Borge and Danny Kaye. Before moving to Florida in 1970, he lived in Great Neck, New York, where he was the founding conductor and music director of the Great Neck Symphony. After "retiring" to Florida, he resumed composing for the concert stage.
Maurice Gardner was a highly prolific creative artist. He wrote more than 600 works. While many of his scores were composed for movies and television, his compositional output included numerous works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, chorus, and orchestra. Gardner had a unique, individual creative voice. While he was influenced by his Jewish roots, Hungarian background, and the New York cultural scene, his music does not sound like the work of any other composer. His compositions have been performed throughout the world. He was a three-time recipient of the State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship Award, and received many other prizes. The Competition Prize from The American Society for Jewish Music was his last major award. His work has garnered commissions from such institutions as Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, the Barlow Foundation and the William Primrose Archives. Among the artists who have commissioned works are Jaime Laredo, Oscar Shumsky, Paul Neubauer and the Muir, the Miro, the Miami, the Ying and the Pacifica quartets.
Maurice Gardner founded the Staff Music Publishing Co. and was the author of The Choral Reader and The Orchestrator's Handbook. He was an 802 member since 1928. He died on February 26, 2002 in Miami Beach, at age 93. At the time of his death, he was writing a large sacred cantata for baritone and orchestra and a symphony for large orchestra. He was survived by his wife Sadie and sons Gerald and Robert. Robert Gardner, also an 802 member, is principal cellist of the New York City Opera.