Chan Poling

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Chan Poling in 2018

Chandler Hall "Chan" Poling (born 1957) is an American musician and composer.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Chandler Hall Poling was born in 1957 in Evanston, Illinois, USA. He moved to Minnesota with his family in 1961. He studied composition at MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and, after graduating from The Blake School, went on to study composition and performance at the California Institute of the Arts from 1975 to 1977 under the tutelage of his mentor the composer Harold Budd.



Influenced by jazz and theater music and the burgeoning punk and new wave pop music of that time, as well as the music of his mentor Hal Budd Minimalists Terry Riley, visiting artists to Cal Arts, like Philip Glass and world and avant-garde performer/composers Meredith Monk, as well as the treasure-trove of film scores available to students at Cal Arts, Mr. Poling went on to write and perform dance scores, student theater and film scores and start his own rock band, The Suburbs.

After returning to Minneapolis and consulting with his friend Chris Osgood of The Suicide Commandos, Mr. Poling started the band The Suburbs along with his friend Beej Chaney, and the new acquaintances Bruce Allen, Michael Halliday and Hugo Klaers. The Suburbs got their first recording contract with Twin/Tone Records and went on to record music for PolyGram Records, A&M Records, Universal Music, Restless Records.[2] The Suburbs were voted among the "100 Most Influential Minnesota Musical Entities of the Twentieth Century" by The Minneapolis Star Tribune.

In the 1990s Poling made two solo albums: one a record of his score for Theatre de la Jeune Lune's Children Of Paradise, and the other a record of off-kilter pop songs; "Calling All Stars" for Manifesto Records. In 2005 he formed The New Standards[3] with John Munson of Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare and released a CD; "The New Standards" which is composed of interpretations of a diverse collection of songwriters with Poling on grand piano, Munson on stand-up bass, and Steve Roehm on vibraphone.

In 2009, Poling's musical Venus opened at the Ritz Theater in Minneapolis.[4] It is the only musical for which Poling wrote the music, the lyrics and the script.[5] The musical took Poling ten years to complete, and he is working on five other musicals in "various stages of completion".[5]

In the spring of 2013 Poling initiated A Kickstarter campaign to fund a new Suburbs album Si Sauvage, the band's first new release in 27 years. The campaign was fervently supported by The Suburbs fanbase and was released on Nov 19, 2013. Si Sauvage features founding members Poling, Hugo Klaers, and Blaine John "Beej" Chaney, plus new bandmates Steve Brantseg and Steve Price and special guest vocalists like Janey Winterbauer and Aby Wolf.


Poling's music credits include works for television, film and theater. His theater pieces include award-winning work for the Tony Award-winning French/American troupe Theatre de la Jeune Lune. Kevin McCollum commissioned Poling to write music for a new work developed under the aegis of The Ordway Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota.[6] His score for the Twin Cities Public Television documentary Iron Range: A People's History (1994) won an Emmy Award. In 2008, he also composed the score to Fritz: The Walter Mondale Story, a documentary film about the life of his father-in-law Walter Mondale.

In 2015, his latest collaboration for the stage, the musical Glensheen (about the 1977 murders of Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse at the eponymous mansion in Duluth, Minnesota), opened at the History Theatre in St Paul.[7] It has played to sold-out houses and there are hopes for a tour or a transfer to Off Broadway.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Poling had three children with ex-wife Terri Paul.[citation needed]

In 2005, he married Eleanor Mondale,[3] daughter of former United States Vice President Walter Mondale. Until her death on September 17, 2011, they lived in Minnesota on a small farm where they raised miniature horses.[9][10]

External links[edit]