Alden Banning Ashforth
1933 - 2016
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1933 - 2016 ASHFORTH-Alden Banning, 82, of New Orleans, LA, composer and professor, died of heart failure on January 29, 2016. He was born in New York City, the son of Henry Adams Ashforth and Mariana Richardson Ashforth. He spent his childhood in Manhattan, NY, Greenwich, CT, and Deering, NH, and graduated from St. Paul's School, Concord, NH. He received an AB and B. Music from Oberlin College and a MFA and Ph.D. from Princeton University. With interests ranging from classical to jazz to electronic music, he was an instructor at Princeton, Oberlin, NYU, CUNY, and a professor of music at UCLA (1967-98) where he also coordinated the electronic music studio. He was a composer of numerous instrumental, vocal and electronic works, including Episodes (1962), The Unquiet Heart (1968), Big Bang (1970), Byzantia (1971), Aspects of Love (1978), Christmas Motets (1980), The Miraculous Bugle (1989) and Palimpsests (1997). He also, with his friend David Wyckoff, recorded and produced sessions of traditional New Orleans jazz. In the early 1950's he produced Dauphine Street Jam Session Vol. 1 & 2 (1951,1952) with Emile Barnes' bands and the Kid Clayton Sessions (1952), all released by Folkways, 1983 and acquired by the Smithsonian. Two further Barnes sessions were recorded in 1951, one headed by Kid Thomas; both were released on the American Music label. His recordings of New Orleans marching bands, such as The Eureka Brass Band (1952, American Music), Doc Paulin's Marching Band (1982, Smithsonian) and The Eagle Brass Band (1984, GHB Records), are considered classics. Active as a jazz researcher, he contributed to the Annual Review of Jazz Studies and to The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. He also wrote articles on classical music in Perspectives of New Music (on Schoenberg) and The Music Review (on Beethoven). Alden was a highly skilled player of the piano, harpsichord, organ, and cello, and as a jazz musician played both the clarinet and piano. He was a gourmet cook and avid photographer. Brilliant, highly opinionated and equally vocal, Alden was warm and caring and will be deeply missed by all who knew him. He is survived by his partner, Steven D. Teeter of New Orleans, his children Robyn R. Ashforth of Burbank, CA, Melissa A. Hipple of Carpinteria, CA, and Lauren A. Dimen of Pasadena, CA, his sister Marna A. Geoffroy of Santa Cruz, CA; his step-sister Christina M. Whitman of New York, NY, his former wife Nancy Regnier of Sherman Oaks, CA and six grandchildren. He was predeceased by his half-sister Eleanor A. Harvey of Stonington, CT, half-brother, Henry A. Ashforth, Jr. of Greenwich, CT, and his step-brothers, Michael and Peter Madden. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to New Orleans Musicians Clinic (

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Published in Los Angeles Times from Apr. 11 to Apr. 17, 2016.
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April 18, 2016
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