David A. Conner, composer and musical director of Sesame Street and The Electric Company, has passed away at age 79. The Ridgefield Press reports Conner died from a rare form of lung cancer, on Saturday, December 26, 2015.
From The Ridgefield Press obituary:
Mr. Conner was born on June 2, 1936, in Hume, NY, to Mae Rich Conner, and Cassius Smith Conner. The middle son of three boys, he was raised in Lima, NY, and attended Lima High School where he was active in the band, dance band, county and regional select bands, varsity basketball, and National Honor Society.
A classically trained pianist, Mr. Conner graduated with a B.S. from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, and a Masters of Music in Orchestral Conducting from The New England Conservatory of Music. His teachers included Louis Greenwald (accompanist for Jascha Heifetz and Efrem Zimbalist), Frederick Zimmermann (Double Bass principal, New York Philharmonic), and Gunther Schuller (composer, conductor).
Early in his career, he directed instrumental and choral music in New York and Massachusetts public schools, played string bass in the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and was a founding member of the High Tor Opera Company. He directed the Musical Theater Department at The Boston Conservatory, and was music director for many productions performed at Boston College, The Cape Cod Melody Tent (Hyannis), The North Shore Music Theatre (Beverly), and The South Shore Music Circus (Cohasset).
Surviving are his loving wife, Toby; his children, Christine Thorn (son-in-law Rod Thorn), and David Conner, Jr. (daughter-in-law, Kathy Conner); and grandchildren, Sarah Thorn, Kyle Conner, and Katelyn Conner. He is predeceased by his parents and brothers, William Frank Conner, and Rear Admiral Donald Lee Conner.
Muppet Fan Site Tough Pigs reports:
Dave Conner began with the Children’s Television Workshop in 1972, and served as the Associate Music Director for Sesame Street from 1978 to 2007.
Among his Sesame songwriting credits are “The Bathtub of Seville“, “Old MacDonald Cantata“, and “Let’s Lay an Egg“. He also wrote the intro theme music for recurring sketches like “The Adventures of Prairie Dawn“, “Camp Wannagohoma“, “Caveperson Days“, “Colambo“, and “The Leslie Mostly Show“.
He also conducted several concerts with Big Bird for major symphony orchestras all over the world, and he won six Emmy Awards with Sesame Street.
Below, you’ll find my personal favorite Dave Conner song, “That’s Love”, sung by Bert himself.
Here is Sesame Street‘s Bert, singing “That’s Love.”
According to the Muppet Wiki, Conner’s other Sesame Street song credits include:
- “Alphabet Time (The Surgeon’s Song)”
- “Animals In, On and Under”
- “Baby Say It Loud”
- “Bilingual Fruit Song”
- “Can Read”
- “Fairy Tales Today”
- “The Hokey Wormy”
- “Mysterious Theater Theme”
Here’s an outro of the theme from The Electric Company, with Conner on keyboards:
Please share your memories of Mr. Conner, below.