Yesterday, award-winning television and film composer and conductor Ian Fraser died of cancer. He was 81-years-old. According to his daughter, Fraser passed away in his Los Angeles home. Best known for his ongoing, collaborative work with singer and actress Julie Andrews, over the course of his life, his music direction earned him 11 Emmy Awards and 32 nominations.
Fraser was serving his 10th term as Music Peer Group governor with the Television Academy when he passed away. Bruce Rosenblum, TV Academy CEO and chairman, made a statement shortly after Fraser’s death, honoring him by saying, “Ian will be remembered by all who had the great fortune to know and work with him as a man of great taste and talent, intelligence and warmth and a wonderful sense of humor and fun.”
The English music director is considered to be the most honored composer/conductor in the history of television based on his record-breaking collection of Emmy Awards and nominations alone. The first of which Fraser received for his musical direction of America Salutes Richard Rodgers: The Sound of His Music. Born in 1933, by the age of 39, Fraser began working with Julie Andrews. He served as her vocal arranger on the set of her weekly variety hour for ABC, and the following year, the two recorded their first Christmas album, with Fraser serving as her personal musical director. Their collaborations continued, only proving more and more successful, when the two Broadway albums they recorded in 1995 and 1997 earned them two Grammy nominations.
In 2003, Fraser and Andrews worked together once more, this time on her children’s book, Simeon’s Gift. The book featured a CD on which Fraser composed and performed accompanying music for Julie Andrews’ narration. Three years later, he worked with lyricist John Bucchino on a musical take on the book.
The British-born arranger first came to New York City to serve as the musical director for Anthony Newley’s Broadway play, Stop the World, I Want to Get Off in 1962. Fraser went on to lead the orchestra for both the Oscar and Emmy Awards. In 1970, the composer received an Academy Award nomination for his work on the film Scrooge, starring Albert Finney.