Donald Oscar Banks (25 October 1923 – 5 September 1980) was an Australian composer of concert, jazz, and commercial music.
Life and career
Banks was born in South Melbourne, and initially studied at the University of Melbourne under Waldemar Seidel. He served in the armed forces from 1941 to 1946. In 1950 he moved to London where he studied with Mátyás Seiber. Further studies with Milton Babbitt, Luigi Dallapiccola, and Luigi Nono (at a summer school in 1956 at Hermann Scherchen's villa in Gravesano, Switzerland) 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.
He returned to Australia in 1972, as Head of Composition and Electronic Music Studies at the Canberra School of Music. He remained there till 1973, then had a series of educational positions. In 1978 he was appointed Head of the School of Composition Studies at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music.
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 (1962); and a Violin Concerto (1968).
He died at his home in the Sydney suburb of McMahons Point, after an eight-year battle with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. He left a widow, Valerie, and a son, Simon. The Don Banks Music Award, funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, is named after him
- The Price of Silence (1959)
- Murder at Site 3 (1959)
- The Third Alibi (1961)
- Captain Clegg (Night Creatures in U.S.) (1962)
- Panic (1963)
- The Punch and Judy Man (1963)
- The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)
- Crooks in Cloisters (1964)
- Nightmare (1964)
- Hysteria (1964)
- The Brigand of Kandahar (1965)
- Monster of Terror (Die, Monster, Die! in U.S.) (1965)
- The Reptile (1966)
- Rasputin the Mad Monk (1966)
- The Frozen Dead (1966)
- Torture Garden (1967)
- The Mummy's Shroud (1967)
- Larson, Randall D. (1996), "Don Banks", Music from the House of Hammer: Music in the Hammer Horror Films, 1950-1980 (Volume 47 of The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series), Scarecrow Press, pp. 51–57, ISBN 9781461669845
- Further reading
- 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 Malcolm 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.
- Graham Hair, Musical Ideas, Musical Sounds: A Collection of Essays
- Randall D. Larson, Music from the House of Hammer: Music in the Hammer Horror Films, 1950-1980. Retrieved 25 April 2016
- Larry Sitsky, "Banks, Donald Oscar (1923–1980)", Australian Dictionary of Biography 13 (1940–1980, A–De), edited by John Ritchie and Christopher Cunneen (Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 1993).
- Michael R. Pitts, Columbia Pictures Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, 1928-1982, p. 256
- Randall D. Larson (1996a), "Music Credits by Title", Music from the House of Hammer: Music in the Hammer Horror Films, 1950-1980 (Volume 47 of The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series), Scarecrow Press, pp. 169–176, ISBN 9781461669845