Don Brandon Ray
Composer, Conductor, Educator

Don Ray was reared and educated in Southern California, taking his B.A at UCLA in 1948, and later his M.A. from California State University, Long Beach. He 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). In 1986, he took early retirement from CBS.

From 1960 to 1985 he was Music Director of the COTA Symphony Orchestra and Chorale which specialized in new and rediscovered music (bringing him recognition in Baker's Biographical Dictionary). Additionally he was a staff conductor for CBS (1960-83) and for the Los Angeles Bureau of Music (1972-83), and was Music Critic for the Los Angeles Free Press (1968-76).

In 1981, Ray 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. In 1983, he wrote the "Orchestration Handbook", a reference book for orchestral composers, now published by the Hal Leonard Corporation. During the summers of 1984-86, he was guest lecturer at the University of London. Beginning in 1996, he adapted his UCLA program for a program in Ireland under the auspices of the Irish Educational Authority (FAS). From 1996 to 2004, he spent a portion of each year teaching in Ireland.

After retirement from CBS, he returned to his first love, the writing of concert music. In 1989, his "Homestead Dances, Set I" were premiered by the American Chamber Orchestra at Kennedy Center in Washington; the reviewer in the Washington Post describing them as follows: "...not many pieces of music are as winsome, as energetic, as brightly colored and vivacious as these old-fashioned waltzes and fiddle tunes..." Many of his works have aired on NPR; and a number of his orchestral works have been performed in Ireland.

His orchestral work "Homestead Dances" and a suite from his "Family Portrait" have been released on the performed by the Dublin Philarmonic Orchestra.

His Piano Concerto and a suite from his "Family Portrait" have been released on the

Partial List of Compositions   |   Contact Information