Donald Oscar Banks (25 October 1923 – 5 September 1980) was an Australian composer of concert, jazz, and commercial music.
Life and career
Banks was born in South Melbourne, and initially studied at the
University of Melbourne under Waldemar Seidel. He served in the armed forces from 1941 to 1946. In 1950 he moved to London where he studied with Mátyás Seiber. Further studies with Milton Babbitt, Luigi Dallapiccola, and Luigi Nono (at a summer school in 1956 at Hermann Scherchen's villa in Gravesano, Switzerland) convinced him of the merits of serialism, which he incorporated into his compositional technique. Through Seiber, he gained contacts in the film industry, where he became a frequent composer of music, mainly for cartoons, and the horror movies produced by Hammer Films. Beginning in the mid-1960s, he composed a number of works in the Third Stream style espoused by Gunther Schuller, mixing jazz and concert-music idioms, and began a series of works using electronic music materials.
In the 1950s he was the secretary to
Edward Clark, head of the London Contemporary Music Centre.
He returned to Australia in 1972, as Head of Composition and Electronic Music Studies at the
Canberra School of Music. He remained there till 1977, then had a series of educational positions. In 1978 he was appointed Head of the School of Composition Studies at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music.
Banks's best-known works include the
Sonata da Camera for flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, piano, percussion, violin, viola, and cello (1961); a Horn Concerto (1965); a Trio for horn, violin, and piano (1962); and a Violin Concerto (1968).
He died at his home in the Sydney suburb of McMahons Point, after an eight-year battle with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
He left a widow, Valerie, and a son, Simon. The  Don Banks Music Award, funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, is named after him
Banks is credited for composing music in the following films:
Banks, Don (1970). "Converging Streams".
Musical Times 111, no. 1528 (June): 596–99. Covell, Roger (1967).
Australia’s Music: Themes for a New Society. Melbourne: Sun Books.
David Huckvale (2008), "Australian Menace: Don Banks and Malcolm Williamson", , McFarland, pp. 133–153, Hammer Film Scores and the Musical Avant-Garde ISBN 9780786451661
Randall D. Larson (1996b), "Don Banks Biographical Essay", Soundtrack Magazine, 15 (58) Mann, William (1968). "The Music of Don Banks".
Musical Times 109, no. 1506 (August): 719–21. Sitsky, Larry (2011).
Australian Chamber Music with Piano. Canberra: ANU E Press. ISBN 978-1921862403 (pbk); ISBN 9781921862410 (ebook). Pressing, Jeff, John Whiteoak, and Roger T. Dean (2002). "Banks, Don(ald Oscar)".
The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, second edition, edited by Barry Dean Kernfeld, 3 vols. London: Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 9780333691892. Toop, Richard (2001). "Banks, Don(ald Oscar)". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
Graham Hair, Musical Ideas, Musical Sounds: A Collection of Essays
Randall D. Larson, . Retrieved 25 April 2016 Music from the House of Hammer: Music in the Hammer Horror Films, 1950-1980
^ Larry Sitsky, "
Banks, Donald Oscar (1923–1980)", Australian Dictionary of Biography 13 (1940–1980, A–De), edited by John Ritchie and Christopher Cunneen (Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 1993).
Michael R. Pitts, , p. 256 Columbia Pictures Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, 1928-1982
Randall D. Larson (1996a), "Music Credits by Title", , Scarecrow Press, pp. 169–176, Music from the House of Hammer: Music in the Hammer Horror Films, 1950-1980 (Volume 47 of The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series) ISBN 9781461669845