Harold Wheeler (musician)
|Birth name||William Harold Wheeler Jr.|
|Born||July 14, 1943|
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||orchestrator, conductor, composer, record producer, music director|
|Associated acts||The Harold Wheeler Consort, The Wiz, Star Wars, Hairspray, Dancing with the Stars|
William Harold Wheeler Jr. (born July 14, 1943), better known as Harold Wheeler, is an American orchestrator, composer, conductor, arranger, record producer, and music director. He has received numerous Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominations for orchestration, and won the 2003 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations for Hairspray.
Wheeler first worked in the 1960s as the musical director for Burt Bacharach making him the first African-American MD of a major pop act. He also was doing arranging for Tony Orlando and Nina Simone during that time. He was named Music Conductor for the 76th Academy Awards, becoming only the second African-American conductor in the Academy's history. He also was a music arranger on the 79th Academy Awards. Wheeler was one of two conductors (the others being fellow composers John Williams and Paul Shaffer) during the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Wheeler was the musical director on the ABC Network show, Dancing with the Stars for the show's first 17 seasons. In January 2014, it was announced that former American Idol bandleader Ray Chew would take over as musical director for the show's 18th season.
- Promises, Promises (1968) – Musical Director, dance arrangements
- Coco (1969) – Dance arrangements
- Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death (1971) – Musical direction and supervision
- Two Gentlemen of Verona (1971) – Musical Supervisor
- Don't Play Us Cheap! (1972) – Musical Supervisor
- Love For Love (1974) – featuring songs by
- The Wiz (1975) – music orchestrated by
- Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music (1981) – Musical Director
- Dreamgirls (1981) – Musical Supervisor, music orchestrated by
- Little Me (1982) – music orchestrated by
- The Tap Dance Kid (1983) – Musical Supervisor, music arranged by, vocal arrangements by
- The Wiz (1984) – music orchestrated by
- The Three Musketeers (1984) – additional orchestrations by
- Leader of the Pack (1985) – opening dance sequence composed and orchestrated by
- Grind (1985) – additional orchestrations by
- Dreamgirls (1987) – Musical Supervisor, music orchestrated by
- Carrie (1988) – Musical Supervisor, music orchestrated by
- Tommy Tune Tonite! (1992) – arrangements and/or orchestrations by
- The Life (1997) – music orchestrated by
- Side Show (1997) – music orchestrated by
- Little Me (1998) – music orchestrated by
- Swing! (1999) – music orchestrated by
- The Full Monty (2000) – music orchestrated by
- Hairspray (2002) – music orchestrated by
- Never Gonna Dance (2003) – music orchestrated by
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2005) – music orchestrated by
- Lennon (2005) – music orchestrated by
- Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway (2011) – arrangements and orchestrations by
- Side Show (2014) – music orchestrated by
- Ain't Too Proud (2019) – music orchestrated by
- Nina Simone – Here Comes the Sun (1971) – Arranger, conductor & producer
- Bruce Springsteen – Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. (1973) – Piano on "Blinded By the Light" and "Spirit In The Night"
- Grind (1985) – Additional orchestrations
- The Harold Wheeler Consort – Black Cream (1975) RCA BGL1-0849 – Producer, arranger, piano/keyboards/organ/Moog, composer credit for tracks "Black Cream" and "Color Me Soul" 
- Meco – Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk (1977) – arranger & producer
- The Wiz (1978) – soundtrack
- Straight Out of Brooklyn (1991) – original music
- Mississippi Rising (2005) – Arranger and conductor
With Bernard Purdie
- Biography. Interview Date: 10/3/2005 The HistoryMakers. 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017
- "'Dancing With the Stars' fires Harold Wheeler, band". USA Today. February 4, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- "Full List of the 2019 Tony Award Nominees (Published 2019)". Nytimes.com. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
- "Harold Wheeler – The HistoryMakers". www.thehistorymakers.org. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
- "Harold Wheeler". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved November 29, 2020.
- "The Harold Wheeler Consort". Discogs. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
- "Harold Wheeler". IMDb. Retrieved 11 August 2012.