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Don Gillis


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Donald Eugene Gillis (June 17, 1912–January 10, 1978) was a US composer, conductor and teacher. The composition which has gained him most recognition is his orchestral Symphony No. 5½, A Symphony for Fun.

Don Gillis was born in Cameron, Missouri. His family moved to Fort Worth, Texas, and he studied at Texas Christian University, playing trombone and acting as assistant director of the university band. He graduated in 1935, and obtained a masters degree from North Texas State University in 1943.

He became production director for the radio station WBAP, later moving to NBC where he became producer for the NBC Symphony Orchestra during the tenure of its conductor Arturo Toscanini. He held several teaching posts at academic institutions in the southern United States during his career, and also helped to found the Symphony of the Air orchestra.

He died in Columbia, South Carolina.

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