Crawford Gates [1921–2018] has composed music for nearly every conceivable ensemble and medium. Born in San Francisco, he received his formal music education at the Eastman School of Music, earning his doctorate in composition. His composition teachers included Ernst Toch, Howard Hanson, and LeRoy Robertson.
For several years Gates conducted the Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra and the Rockford Symphony concurrently. During this time he also guest conducted in many venues.
Although major American orchestras in Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Utah have featured his works, most Utahns recognize his name as the composer of Promised Valley, a wildly popular work with more than 2,600 performances written for Utah’s centennial in 1947. His orchestral score for the Hill Cumorah Pageant in New York, however, has been heard by even more people over the past 42 years. Gates’ sacred works and choral arrangements are well known in Mormondom. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has premiered, recorded, broadcast, and toured with several of his compositions over the years.
As an educator he has held faculty positions at Brigham Young University, where he served as chairman of the music department, and at the University of Wisconsin.
Recent commissions have produced a piano concerto for Grant Johannesen and the Utah Symphony, a ballet for Ballet West, a four-movement orchestral score for the University of Wisconsin Orchestra, and an oratorio for Ricks College. His most recent project involved an opera on the life of Joseph Smith. In 1999 Dr. Gates moved to Salt Lake City, where he lived with his wife, Georgia until he passed away in 2018.