Donald Erb

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Donald Erb (January 17, 1927 – August 12, 2008) was an American composer best known for large orchestral works such as Concerto for Brass and Orchestra and Ritual Observances.

Early years[edit]

Erb was born in Youngstown, Ohio, graduated from Lakewood High School, a Cleveland suburb, and gained early recognition as a trumpet player for a local dance band.[1] Following a stint in the Navy during World War II, he continued his career as a jazz trumpeter and enrolled at Kent State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in music in 1950.[1] Three years later, he earned a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music.[1] In 1964, Erb earned a Doctorate in Music from Indiana University, where he studied with Bernhard Heiden.[1][2]

Honors and awards[edit]

In the course of his career, Erb earned considerable recognition. He received the 1992 Rome Prize and was composer-in-residence with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He was Distinguished Professor of Composition, Emeritus, at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, Ohio.[1] He has received grants and fellowships from the Rockefeller, Guggenheim, Ford, Fromm, and Koussevitzky foundations.[1]

For a list of Erb's notable students, See: List of music students by teacher: C to F#Donald Erb.

He died at his home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, on August 12, 2008, at the age of 81.[3]

Selected works[edit]

  • 1966 Concerto for Solo Percussionist
  • 1964 Symphony of Overtures
  • 1965 Phantasma for four musicians
  • 1966 Diversion For Two (other than sex) for trumpet and percussion
  • 1966 String Trio for 2 violins and electric guitar
  • 1967 Reconnaissance for instruments and electronic sounds
  • 1968 In No Strange Land for instruments and electronic sounds
  • 1969 The Seventh Trumpet for orchestra
  • 1986 Concerto for Brass and Orchestra
  • 1994 Changes
  • 1994 Remembrances
  • 1994 Sonata for Solo Violin
  • 1995 Sunlit Peaks and Dark Valleys
  • 1995 Sonata for Solo Harp


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Donald Erb biography". New World Records. Retrieved 2007-03-27. [dead link]
  2. ^ Slonimsky, Nicolas; Kuhn, Laura; McIntire, Dennis (January 1, 2001). "Erb, Donald (James)". Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Retrieved December 3, 2014 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ Richard M. Peery, "Donald Erb: Avant-Guard [sic] Composer, Conductor", Cleveland Plain Dealer (Tuesday August 12, 2008).

External links[edit]