Robert Drasnin

17 Nov 1927
13 May 2015
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Robert Drasnin (November 17, 1927 – May 13, 2015) was an American composer and clarinet player.

Robert Drasnin was born on November 17, 1927 in Charleston, West Virginia. At an early age Drasnin was interested in the Clarinet so he took lessons but when his family moved to Los Angeles he wasn’t to start until 1938. He attended Franklin Avenue Grammar School in East Hollywood and then Thomas Starr King Junior High and eventually Los Angeles High School in which he joined the American Federation of Musicians. Drasnin joined the United States Army after graduation and served during the Korean War.

Dionysus Records announced that Robert Drasnin died on May 13, 2015.

In 1955 Drasnin scored the film One Way Ticket To Hell, and his other film scores included Ride in the Whirlwind (1966), Picture Mommy Dead (1966), The Kremlin Letter (1970), Dr. Cook’s Garden (1971), A Taste of Evil (1971), The Candy Snatchers (1973) and Crisis in Mid-Air (1979). Drasnin also scored incidental music for such notable TV shows as The Twilight Zone, Mission: Impossible, Wild, Wild West, Hawaii Five-0, Time Tunnel, Lost In Space, Mannix, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea.

In 1959 Robert Drasnin received his M.A. in Music from U.C.L.A in Los Angeles. That same year, while working at Tops Records, Drasnin was approached by David Pell, the head of the label, to create an Exotica album. Pell wanted a record that would cash in on the popularity of the Exotica genre made popular by Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman. Drasnin created 12 original compositions and would spend the later part of 1959 recording the record. Among the musical personnel was a young pianist by the name of John Williams who would later go on to score such notable films as Star Wars and Jaws.

In 2005 Robert Drasnin was invited to perform at The Hukilau—a 3-day Hawaiian/Tiki festival in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. A 16-piece orchestra was assembled for the performance. The show consisted of selections from his 1959 album Voodoo as well as new Exotica-styled music that he composed after Voodoo. These new pieces would form the basis of the Voodoo II album, released in 2007.

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