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Morton Gould (1913-1996) was an American conductor, composer, and pianist.  He was recognized as a child prodigy very early in his life, and as a result he published his first composition before his seventh birthday.  His talents led him to become the staff pianist for Radio City Music Hall when it opened in 1932.  He went on to compose movie soundtracks, Broadway musicals, and instrumental pieces for orchestra and band while also cultivating an international career as a conductor.  Among the honors he received were the 1995 Pulitzer Prize, the 1994 Kennedy Center Honor, a 1983 Gold Baton Award, and a 1966 Grammy Award.  By the time of his death in 1996 he was widely revered as an icon of American classical music.
There are several short biographies of Gould on the Internet.  Each one is more glowing than the last:

Wikipedia – concise biography and list of works.

G. Schirmer – Gould’s publisher gives a much more eloquent account of the composer’s life (which wikipedia seems to have stolen and mangled).

Kennedy Center – Heaps yet more praise on the composer.

There is even an entire book dedicated to the biography of Morton Gould, by Peter W. Goodman.  It is called American Salute.

Google books preview of the book here.

Review of said book here.

From the score of the Symphony for Band:

This Symphony was composed for the West Point Sesquicentennial Celebration, marking 150 years of progress at the United States Military Academy.  The composer was invited to contribute a composition for this event by the Academy and Major Francis E. Resta, commanding officer of the United States Military Band and director of music at the Academy.

Composed during the months of January and February, 1952, this Symphony was first performed on April 13th of that year at the Academy with composer conducting the United States Military Academy Band.

The Symphony is in two movements.  The first, “Epitaphs”, is somber and reflective in character, looking backward on the generations who have served at West Point and inspired by the cemetery on the grounds.  It goes on to build a huge, multi-layered passacaglia texture that features a marching machine in the percussion section.  “Marches” opens quietly to an upbeat march rhythm, which grows as the movement progresses.  Gould’s Symphony is a masterwork for winds.  It is among the earliest American symphonies for bands, but it was in good company: Paul Hindemith, Vincent Persichetti, Alan Hovhaness, and Vittorio Giannini all composed their first symphonies for band in that same decade.

Listen to William Revelli and the University of Michigan Symphony Band perform the first movement of the Symphony:

As well as the second movement:

Read more about the Symphony at G. Schirmer, The Wind Repertory Project, and

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