RALPH KESSLER August 1, 1919 - October 5, 2007

Long-time SCL Member RALPH KESSLER, renowned composer, orchestrator and trumpeter, was born in The Bronx, New York and graduated from New York University and the Julliard School, where he received degrees in trumpet and composition. Enlisting in the Army in 1941, Ralph played first trumpet in Irving Berlin's THIS IS THE ARMY, and toured the world entertaining the troops. He played first trumpet with the New York productions of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, CALL ME MADAM and MISS LIBERTY. Ralph was music arranger on the ARTHUR GODFREY & FRIENDS television show during the 1950's. He wrote the original sketches to MAN OF LA MANCHA. With his own company, he composed, orchestrated and conducted scores for TV commercials, receiving three Clio Awards. In Hollywood Ralph composed music for: JAG, MURDER SHE WROTE, QUINCY, HAWAII FIVE-O, STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO, BARNABY JONES, TINY TOONS and TV movies. He later composed a trumpet concerto, two tone poems and THE JOURNEY OF ODYSSEUS which was performed in UCLA's Schoenberg Hall and with the San Fernando Valley Symphony, conducted by the composer. Other compositions were performed/guest conducted by The Las Vegas Chamber Symphony. In recent years, Ralph produced concerts in the Bay Area with his daughter, Rory Bakke and acclaimed violinist, author and teacher Richard Heinberg.

As well as a long-time member of the SCL, Ralph had been a member of ASCAP, SAG, AFTRA and a former VicePresident of ASMAC. Ralph is survived by his three children, Ronny, Bob and Rory, and three grandchildren. A memorial service was held in Northern California last Thursday. A Los Angeles area memorial service will be announced when confirmed. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: ASMAC Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 17840, Encino, CA 91416. Obituary published in the Los Angeles Times on 10/9/2007.

From SCL President Dan Foliart: Ralph was one of the gentlest spirits I know. He had been very active with the SCL since the early 1980s.


THE SOCIETY OF COMPOSERS & LYRICISTS (SCL) is the non-profit and primary organization for actively-working professional composers and lyricists, with a distinguished 60-year history in the fine art of creating music for motion pictures and television. The predecessor organization, the Screen Composers Association, began in 1945 with such legendary icons as Max Steiner, Bernard Herrmann, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Dimitri Tiomkin and David Raksin among others. Current SCL Members include the top creative professionals whose experience and expertise is focused on many of the creative, technological, legal, newsworthy and pressing issues of the film/television/game music industry today. http://www.TheSCL.com


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