Veteran composer and educator Don Ray passed away on Saturday, April 16 after a two-week battle with a severe and unexpected illness. He was 78. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Laurel, and by his son, David.
A public memorial service will be held on Wednesday, April 27 at 11:00am at the Little Chapel of the Dawn, Gates Kingsley Gates, 1925 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica, CA.
Don joined the CBS-TV Music Department in 1956 and was music supervisor and/or composer on such programs as G.E. Theater, Playhouse 90, Twilight Zone, Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Wild Wild West, Gilligan's Island, and for twelve years Hawaii Five-O, receiving an Emmy nomination for best dramatic score in 1974.
From 1960 to 1985 he was Music Director of the COTA Symphony Orchestra and Chorale which specialized in new and rediscovered music, was a staff conductor for CBS (1960-83), and for the Los Angeles Bureau of Music (1972-83). He pursued many activities in orchestral music, including book author, founder of classical music organizations, freelance composer, magazine music critic, and many others.
In 1968, Don began a second career as educator, creating the Film Scoring Program at UCLA's Department of the Arts, being named Instructor of the Year in the Performing Arts in 1984. During the summers of 1984-86, he was guest lecturer at the University of London. He adapted his UCLA course for a program in Ireland, and from 1996 to 2004 he spent a portion of each year teaching the program in Ireland. He was also a guest lecturer at the Film Music Institute in Los Angeles.
After retirement from CBS, he returned to his love of writing concert music. In 1989, his "Homestead Dances, Set I" were premiered by the American Chamber Orchestra at Kennedy Center in Washington; Many of his works have aired on NPR; and a number of his orchestral works have been performed in Ireland. His Piano Concerto and a suite from his "Family Portrait" were released on the Albany Label in 2004. His "Homestead Dances" was completed in 1996 and recorded in 2004, performed by the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra, and its release is forthcoming.