Gordon Langford (born May 1930 as Gordon Colman) is an English composer, arranger and performer. Although well known in the brass band community as a composer and arranger, he is less well known as a composer of orchestral music, despite winning an Ivor Novello award for his March from the Colour Suite in 1971.
Langford was born in Edgware, Middlesex in May 1930; his father was a precision toolmaker. He was a precocious child, beginning piano lessons aged five. At nine, one of his compositions received a public performance. He attended Bedford Modern School and he went on to win a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where he studied piano and composition with Norman Demuth. It was Demuth, his professor of composition, who suggested that he should change his surname or use a pseudonym. Hence, he changed his name to become Gordon Colman Langford.
In 1951, during his army service, he made his first BBC broadcast as a solo pianist with the Royal Artillery Band, of which he was also a member. For many years he worked with seaside orchestras, a touring opera company and as a ship's musician. During the 1960s he was featured as pianist, arranger and composer on BBC programmes such as Music in the Air, Melody around the World and Ronnie Barker's Lines From My Grandfather's Forehead. He lives in East Devon, mainly composing but occasionally appearing in recordings, concerts and broadcasts.
In 2011 he was nominated for a Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music (FRAM) by the Governing Body of the Academy
Langford is best known as a brass band composer and arranger, with a string of CDs to his name. In particular, the test pieces Facets of Glass and Rhapsody for trombone are well known. In addition, he has also arranged the works of other composers, such as Henry Mancini, Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams.
Langford's career has a notable relationship with the BBC. Some of his compositions and arrangements were used as Test Card music in the 1960s and 70s, with such titles as Hebridean Hoedown, The Lark in the Clear Air and Royal Daffodil being remembered by Test Card aficionados. He has also written and arranged music for Friday Night is Music Night, as well as numerous other BBC programmes. However, it is only recently that a CD of his orchestral works has been produced.
He is also known for his theatre compositions, such as The Crooked Mile and The House of Cards. Langford was often used by Hollywood as a score orchestrator, with Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman II, First Great Train Robbery, Clash of the Titans and Return to Oz to his name. Langford also produced several arrangements for the King's Singers in the 1970s.
In 1974 he released a demo album entitled The Amazing Music of the Electronic Arp Synthesizer. This contained several compositions of his own, plus cover versions, played entirely on the then new innovation, the arp synth, of pieces as diverse as "Yellow Submarine", "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head", "Cocktails for Two", "Light Cavalry Overture" and "Mozart's Symphony No. 40".
Recent compositions include his Berceuse and Burlesque for Bassoon and orchestra, performed Feb 1st 2008 at Axminster.