Born in Los Angeles in 1933, Gordon Getty has lived in San Francisco since 1945. He graduated from the University of San Francisco in 1956 with a B.S. degree in English literature, having meanwhile studied piano with the late Robert Vetleson and voice with Easton Kent. Following six months of active duty in the army and four years in family businesses, he studied music theory at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Today, Getty is a frequent visiting composer at colleges and universities across the country and holds honorary doctorates from the University of Maryland, Pepperdine University, the University of California San Francisco, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Mannes College of Music. His works includes Plump Jack, which has a number of performances as a work in progress and in semi-staged concert versions, by such distinguished orchestras as the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the BBC Philharmonic in London, among others.
Concert performances by the late Kaaren Erickson and others of Getty's Emily Dickinson song cycle, The White Election, were highly praised, presented by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Morgan Library and Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Etherredge Center in Aiken, S.C., Herbst Theater in San Francisco, Harvard, Yale, the University of California at Berkeley and Santa Barbara, the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana Opera Theater, and the Kennedy Center in Washington.
Victorian Scenes, the composer's choral settings of poems by Tennyson and Housman, and a setting for men's voices of Poe's Annabel Lee, had their first performance by the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Sinfonia in the Chandler Pavilion at the Los Angeles Music Center.
Three Waltzes for Piano and Orchestra - Tiefer und Tiefer, Madeline, and Ehemals were performed by André Previn and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. In 1991, orchestral arrangements of the Three Waltzes were performed both at Tanglewood under the baton of Zuohang Chen, and by the California Symphony conducted by Barry Jekowsky.
Getty's chamber works include Ewig Du, The Fiddler of Ballykeel, and Ehemels (scored for both string quartet and string chamber orchestra). Five short piano pieces published by Belwin in 1954 are now available as Homework Suite. Three Diatonic Waltzes, Tiefer und Tiefer, Madeline, Ehemels, Waltz of the Ancestors, Gothic Waltz, Zwei Ländler, First Adventure and The Fiddler of Ballykeel round out his compositions for piano. The composer has also penned new settings of the traditional Welsh folk songs Welcome Robin, Kind Old Man, and All Through the Night.
Rork Music now publishes all works by Gordon Getty, Theodore Presser Company, distributor.