Bill Holcombe


Although Bill Holcombe is primarily known as an arranger and composer of music for band and orchestra, he has for many years pursued a lesser known parallel career as a professional saxophonist and woodwind doubler.

While studying composition at the University of Pennsylvania in 1941, Bill was a pupil of Harold Bennett, then the piccolo player of the Philadelphia Orchestra (who later followed Arthur Lora as first flute at the Met). In addition to his extensive training in writing music, Bill majored in the flute at Julliard.

After World War II, Bill went back to the U of P working his way through college playing lead alto and arranging for area big bands. After graduating from Penn (with major honors) Bill went to New York City to get his 802 card and try and crack the lucrative staff radio and recording “scene.” While studying with Dick Jacobs and Sy Oliver things moved fast, the latter two introduced Bill to Tommy Dorsey, resulting in his being hired as a saxophonist and staff arranger. After a year with fabulous Tommy Dorsey band, Bill came back to New York, taking a six-month opening sub position with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. When this stint was completed, Bill immediately was hired to play first flute and alto sax for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer at their New York radio station, WMGM. During these years, Bill was a sax and clarinet student of the well-known New York City (Boston too!) saxophone teacher Joe Allard. Bill also resumed his studies with Harold Bennett at this time. In the late fifties, Bill wrote the music for several film scores. Throughout the sixties, Bill wrote for the recording orchestra 101 Strings during the day and played Broadway musicals at night.

Since the seventies, Bill has been active as a published arranger for concert band and orchestra and has three published well-known and frequently performed “jazz suites” for jazz ensemble. In recent years, Bill’s playing credits include a tour as first reed with Burt Bacharach; currently he is arranging and playing saxophone for jazz pianist Peter Nero and his Philly Pops. Bill is also currently chief conductor and arranger for Damil Records, a British-American firm. Bill recently conducted and arranged an anthology compact disc series recreating name band hits with many former members of the famous Ted Heath Band and a series of movie themes with the London Philharmonic.

Bill Holcombe donnera une conférence sur:
Bill Holcombe will give a lecture about:

Discussion about his new Jazz Etude book for saxophone and Arragning for Saxophone Quartet

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