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Dave Grusin

Dave Grusin
Grusin in 2008
Background information
Birth name Robert David Grusin
Born (1934-06-26) June 26, 1934
Littleton, Colorado, United States
Occupation(s) Composer, arranger, musician
Instruments Piano, keyboards
Labels GRP Records

Robert David "Dave" Grusin (born June 26, 1934) is an American composer, arranger and pianist. Grusin has composed many scores for feature films and television, and has won numerous awards for his soundtrack and record work, including an Academy Award and 12 Grammys. He has had a prolific recording career as an artist, arranger, producer and executive producer.

Born in Littleton, Colorado, he studied music at the University of Colorado at Boulder and was awarded his bachelor's degree in 1956. He produced his first single, "Subways are for Sleeping", in 1962 and his first film score was for Divorce American Style (1967). Other scores followed including Winning (1969), The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973), The Midnight Man (1974) and Three Days of the Condor in 1975.

In the late 1970s, he formed GRP records along with his business partner, Larry Rosen, and began to create some of the first commercial digital recordings. Grusin was also at the forefront of soundtrack albums. He was the composer for Mike Nichols' Oscar-winning film, The Graduate. Later scores included On Golden Pond (1981), Tootsie (1982) and The Goonies (1985).

From 2000 through 2011, Grusin concentrated on composing classical and jazz compositions, touring, and recording with collaborators, among others, guitarist, Lee Ritenour. Together they have recorded several projects including the Grammy-winning Brazilian album, Harlequin in 1985. In recent years, they have released two classical crossover albums that were nominated for Grammys, including the Universal Decca recordings,'"Two Worlds" and "Amparo". He is married and has four children.


  • Life and career 1
  • Awards and recognition 2
  • Discography 3
    • As Leader 3.1
    • As Sideman 3.2
  • Filmography 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Life and career

Grusin was born in Littleton, Colorado, the son of Rosabelle (née De Poyster), a pianist, and Henri Grusin, a violinist who immigrated from Riga, Latvia.[1][2] An alumnus of the University of Colorado at Boulder, College of Music, he was awarded his bachelor's degree in 1956. One of his teachers there was Cecil Effinger.[3] Grusin has a filmography of about 100 titles. His many awards include an Oscar for best original score for The Milagro Beanfield War, as well as Oscar nominations for The Champ, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Firm, Havana, Heaven Can Wait, and On Golden Pond. He also received a Best Original Song nomination for "It Might Be You" from the film Tootsie. Six of the fourteen cuts on the soundtrack from The Graduate are his. Other film scores he has composed include Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?, Three Days of the Condor, The Goonies, Tequila Sunrise, Hope Floats, Random Hearts, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and The Firm. In addition, he also composed the original opening fanfare for film studio TriStar Pictures.[4]

For television, he was the conductor for The Andy Williams Show (1963–1965) and the composer of the theme songs for such series as It Takes a Thief (1968), The Name of the Game (1968), Dan August (1970), The Sandy Duncan Show (1971–1972), Maude (1972), Good Times (1974), Baretta (1975), St. Elsewhere (1982), and, for Televisa in Mexico, Tres Generaciones (1987). He also composed music for individual episodes of each of those shows. His other TV credits include The Wild Wild West (1966), The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (1966), and Columbo: Prescription: Murder (1968). He also did the theme song for One Life to Live (1968) from 1984–1992. Since its beginning in 1984, the Minneapolis-St. Paul regional weekly news and affair program Almanac has used Grusin's "Anthem Internationale" from his 1982 album Out of the Shadows as their theme.

Grusin assisted in 1966 as musical director and arranger also for two years the Catarina Valente TV show and lived longer times in Amsterdam.

About 35 Grusin CD titles are currently available including soundtracks, originals, collections, and homages to jazz greats Duke Ellington, and Henry Mancini. Recently he has turned his attention to his own compositions. As in much of his career, these defy easy classification. They can be heard on CD's in collaboration with major artists including Lee Ritenour, James Taylor, and Renée Fleming. In addition to Grusin's jazz, film work and other collaborations, he has also lent his talents as a producer / arranger / musician to numerous albums by artists including Paul Simon, Sérgio Mendes, Quincy Jones, Al Jarreau, Patti Austin, Dave Valentin and Sadao Watanabe. Billy Joel has also on occasion tapped Grusin for horn and string arrangements – Grusin arranged the horns on "Half a Mile Away" for Joel's 52nd Street album, and contributed horn and string arrangements to Joel's 1982 concept album, The Nylon Curtain.

Grusin and Larry Rosen co-founded GRP Records in 1978. In 1994, GRP was in charge of MCA's jazz operations. Founders Grusin and Rosen left in 1995 and were replaced by Tommy LiPuma. In 1997, Grusin and Rosen co-founded N2K Encoded Music (after renamed N-Coded Music).

He received honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music in 1988 and University of Colorado, College of Music in 1989. Grusin was initiated into the Beta Chi Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia at the University of Colorado in 1953.

Grusin is married to Nan Newton. He is the father of music editor Stuart Grusin, music editor and musician Scott Grusin, and aerospace engineer Michael Grusin. He is the stepfather of artist Annie Vought, and elder brother of keyboardist Don Grusin and sister Dee Grusin.

Awards and recognition

  • Academy Award Nominee, 1978 "Best Original Score" for Heaven Can Wait
  • Academy Award Nominee, 1979 "Best Original Score" for The Champ
  • Academy Award Nominee, 1981 "Best Original Score" for On Golden Pond
  • Academy Award Nominee, 1982 "Best Original Song" for "It Might Be You", from Tootsie
  • Grammy Award Winner, 1986 "Best Arrangement on an Instrumental" for "Early A.M. Attitude"
  • Golden Globe Nominee, 1988 "Best Original Score" for The Milagro Beanfield War
  • Academy Award Winner, 1988 "Best Original Score" for The Milagro Beanfield War
  • Academy Award Nominee, 1989 "Best Original Score" for The Fabulous Baker Boys
  • Golden Globe Nominee, 1989 "Best Original Score" for The Fabulous Baker Boys
  • Grammy Award Winner, 1989 "Best Album, Original Background Score for a Motion Picture or Television" for The Fabulous Baker Boys
  • Grammy Award Winner, 1989 "Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals" for "My Funny Valentine"
  • Academy Award Nominee, 1990 "Best Original Score" for Havana
  • Golden Globe Nominee, 1990 "Best Original Score" for Havana
  • Grammy Award Winner, 1990 "Best Album of Original Instrumental Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television" for The Fabulous Baker Boys
  • Grammy Award Winner, 1990 "Best Arrangement on an Instrumental" Suite for The Milagro Beanfield War
  • Charles E. Lutton Man of Music Award Recipient, 1991, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity
  • Grammy Award Winner, 1991 "Best Arrangement on an Instrumental" for "Bess You Is My Woman/I Loves You Porgy"
  • Golden Globe Nominee, 1991 "Best Original Score" for For The Boys
  • Academy Award Nominee, 1993 "Best Original Score" for The Firm
  • Grammy Award Winner, 1993 "Best Arrangement on an Instrumental" for "Mood Indigo"
  • Grammy Award Winner, 1994 "Best Instrumental Arrangement" for "Three Cowboy Songs"
  • Grammy Award Nominee, 1997 "Best Original Score" for Selena
  • Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), 2002 for "Mean Old Man", from the album October Road by James Taylor


As Leader

As Sideman


See also


  1. ^ Dave Grusin Page. (June 26, 1934).
  2. ^ Dave Grusin Biography (1934–). (June 26, 1934).
  3. ^ Cecil Effinger Interview with Bruce Duffie.
  4. ^

External links

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