Saturday, May 24, 2014
The Jack Elliott Legacy Project
Who doesn't recall that bass line from the start of the Barney Miller theme? (Don't tell me if you are too young to remember Barney Miller.) I bet you can still recall the theme song to Night Court.
Born Irwin Elliott Zucker, “Jack” Elliott graduated from what is now The Hartt School in 1951, where he later was awarded an honorary doctorate and was named Alumnus of the Year (1995), and he studied composition with Isadore Freed, Arnold Franchetti, Bohuslav Martinů, and Lukas Foss. He worked as a jazz pianist in New York and Paris in the 1950s. Later, having been sought by Hollywood for his skill as an arranger, he moved to California to launch a celebrated career in television. His run in television earned him the distinction of being one of Hollywood’s top composers and arrangers, and for having become the musical director of choice for big events, such as the Academy and the Emmy Awards. He served as music director for the Grammy Awards for 30 years. His most well-known television work includes the theme songs to Night Court, Charlie’s Angels, and Barney Miller.
In the 1970s, Elliott co-founded the Foundation for New American Music, which commissioned symphonic jazz works for performance by the celebrated classical and jazz performers of the New American Orchestra (later the American Jazz Philharmonic). He founded the Henry Mancini Institute in 1997, serving as music director until his death in 2001.
Mrs. Bobbi Elliott, who donated the collection in memory of her late husband, wished for these works to be discovered and used by academic institutions and performance organizations so the broader community might enjoy this musical legacy, and in 2011 donated the large collection of music associated with Mr. Elliott's Foundation for New American Music to The Hartt School.
The Jack Elliott Collection is a unique and invaluable trove of more than 350 commissioned works, largely symphonic works with jazz influences, by nearly 100 composers, including Erich Korngold, Henry Mancini, John Williams, Ray Brown, and Mr. Elliott himself.
The Jack Elliott Legacy Project will, over an eight year period, preserve the very best of these commissions through an alternate-year series of concerts and recordings. In addition to honoring Jack Elliott's legacy, working with the Collection as part of this multi-year project provides students of The Hartt School with an exciting opportunity to study, perform, and record a unique body of late twentieth century compositions of both historical and artistic importance.
Selected materials are to be housed in the Allen Library (which houses music and dance materials to support the University's performing arts programs) and the Hartt Performance Library (which houses music for large ensembles). Cataloging began in 2011, and a preliminary inventory is available online at http://library.hartford.edu/AllenLibrary/elliott/elliott.asp. Questions about the collection may be directed to the Head of Allen Memorial Library, Tracey Rudnick, at 860.768.4404 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations are gratefully being accepted in support of this project, and may be made by phone (860.768.8400), online by credit card at
http://www.anchoronline.org/harttdonations , or by checks (payable to the University of Hartford, with a memo line: Elliott Collection) sent to Institutional Advancement, University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06117.