Don Banks

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Donald Oscar Banks (25 October 1923  – 5 September 1980) was an Australian composer of concert, jazz, and commercial music.

Banks was born in South Melbourne, and initially studied at the University of Melbourne under Waldemar Seidel, then moved to London where he studied with Mátyás Seiber. Further studies with Milton Babbitt, Luigi Dallapiccola, and Luigi Nono convinced him of the merits of serialism, which he incorporated into his compositional technique. Through Seiber, he gained contacts in the film industry, where he became a frequent composer of music, mainly for cartoons, and the horror movies produced by Hammer Films. Beginning in the mid-1960s, he composed a number of works in the Third Stream style espoused by Gunther Schuller, mixing jazz and concert-music idioms, and began a series of works using electronic music materials.[citation needed]

In the 1950s he was the secretary to Edward Clark, head of the London Contemporary Music Centre.[1]

Returning to Australia in 1972, he taught at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music. He died in the Sydney suburb of McMahons Point, after a long battle with cancer.[citation needed]

Banks's best-known works include the Sonata da Camera for flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, piano, percussion, violin, viola, and cello (1961); a Horn Concerto (1965); a Trio for horn, violin, and piano (Banks) (1962); and a Violin Concerto (1968).

The Don Banks Music Award, funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, is named after him.


Banks is credited for composing music in the following films:[2][3]



Further reading[edit]

  • Banks, Don (1970). "Converging Streams". Musical Times 111, no. 1528 (June): 596–99.
  • Covell, Roger (1967). Australia’s Music: Themes for a New Society. Melbourne: Sun Books.
  • David Huckvale (2008), "Australian Menace: Don Banks and Malcom Williamson", Hammer Film Scores and the Musical Avant-Garde, McFarland, pp. 133–153, ISBN 9780786451661 
  • Randall D. Larson (1996b), "Don Banks Biographical Essay", Soundtrack Magazine 15 (58) 
  • Mann, William (1968). "The Music of Don Banks". Musical Times 109, no. 1506 (August): 719–21.
  • Sitsky, Larry (2011). Australian Chamber Music with Piano. Canberra: ANU E Press. ISBN 978-1921862403 (pbk); ISBN 9781921862410 (ebook).
  • Pressing, Jeff, John Whiteoak, and Roger T. Dean (2002). "Banks, Don(ald Oscar)". The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, second edition, edited by Barry Dean Kernfeld, 3 vols. London: Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 9780333691892.
  • Toop, Richard (2001). "Banks, Don(ald Oscar)". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.

External links[edit]