National Library of Australia
Donald Oscar Banks (25 October 19235 September 1980) was an Australian composer of concert, jazz, and commercial music.Click here to see the full biography
Donald Oscar Banks (25 October 19235 September 1980) was an Australian composer of concert, jazz, and commercial music.
Banks was born in South Melbourne, and initially studied at the University of Melbourne under Waldemar Seidel, then moved to London where he studied with Mátyás Seiber. Further studies with Milton Babbitt, Luigi Dallapiccola, and Luigi Nono convinced him of the merits of serialism, which he incorporated into his compositional technique. Through Seiber, he gained contacts in the film industry, where he became a frequent composer of music, mainly for cartoons, and the horror movies produced by Hammer Films. Beginning in the mid-1960s, he composed a number of works in the Third Stream style espoused by Gunther Schuller, mixing jazz and concert-music idioms, and began a series of works using electronic music materials.
In the 1950s he was the secretary to Edward Clark, head of the London Contemporary Music Centre.Graham Hair, 17Musical Ideas, Musical Sounds: A Collection of Essays18
Returning to Australia in 1972, he taught at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music. He died at his home in the Sydney suburb of McMahons Point, after an eight-year battle with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.Larry Sitsky, "Banks, Donald Oscar (1923–1980)", Australian Dictionary of Biography 13 (1940–1980, A–De), edited by John Ritchie and Christopher Cunneen (Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 1993).
Banks's best-known works include the Sonata da Camera for flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, piano, percussion, violin, viola, and cello (1961); a Horn Concerto (1965); a Trio for horn, violin, and piano (1962); and a Violin Concerto (1968).Click here to hide this biography