Norman Luboff (May 14, 1917 - September 22, 1987) was an American music arranger, music publisher, and choir director.
Early Training and Career
Norman Luboff was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1917. He was taught piano as a child and was part of his high school chorus. However, it was not until his college years that he began to think of music as a life-long profession. Luboff studied at the University of Chicago and Central College in Chicago. Following this, he did graduate work with the noted composer Leo Sowerby while singing and writing for some of the best radio programs in Chicago. In the mid-1940s, Luboff moved to New York City to expand his musical horizons.
Rise To Fame
With a call from Hollywood to be choral director of The Railroad Hour, a radio weekly starring Gordan McRae, Mr. Luboff entered a period of enormous artistic growth and accomplishment, including the scoring of many television programs and more than eighty motion pictures. He also recorded with America's most noted artists, including Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, and Doris Day.
In 1950, he established the Walton Music Corporation to make his musical works available in printed form. His compositions, arrangements and editions were performed worldwide, and have influenced countless composers and arrangers. Luboff provided a vehicle for composers in Sweden to have their works available in the United States. These include Egil Hovland, Waldemar Ahlen, Walton Music Corporation remains in business today, having grown in prominence and influence. It is now considered one of the most important choral music publishers in America. Its editorial staff includes prominent choral conductors and educators Jo-Michael Scheibe, Philip Brunelle and Lynne Gackle. The company, now under the guidance of Luboff's widow, Gunilla, has experienced a rejuvenation in recent years, due to affiliations with important composers such as Eric Whitacre and others, and prominent choral series such as The Real Group Choral Series, The Jo-Michael Scheibe Choral Series, and The Dale Warland Choral Series.
Norman Luboff Choir
Luboff wielded tremendous influence as the founder and conductor of the Norman Luboff Choir, recognized worldwide as one of the leading choral groups of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The choral group toured yearly from 1963 to 1987, and recorded more than seventy-five albums. The holiday albums Songs of Christmas (1956) and Christmas with the Norman Luboff Choir (1964) were perennial bestsellers for years, and the former remains in print as a compact disc re-release. Luboff and his choir also won the 1961 Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Chorus. The Choir's "Songs of the Cowboy" and "Songs of the Trail" albums were released on CD in 1999 as "Cowboy's Dream" with 25 tracks.
As an educator, Mr. Luboff was in much demand, guest conducting all-state, clinic, and festival choirs of every description in the United States and abroad. Although a true professional in the choral world, Norman Luboff never lost his empathy for the musical layman. Two generations of choral directors have been profoundly influenced by his work. Millions of people continue to be magically touched by his wonderful legacy.
Norman Luboff died of cancer at his home in Bynum, North Carolina in 1987. The Norman Luboff Collection was donated to the Music Division of the United States Library of Congress in 1993 by Mrs. Gunilla Marcus-Luboff.