Ray E. Luke
United States of America, °1928 - 2010
COMPOSITION 1969B : First Prize
At an early age, Ray E. Luke (1928-2010) demonstrated a talent for music and played trumpet in many area ensembles. He earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Music from Texas Christian University. He taught briefly at Atlantic Christian College in Wilson, N.C. and then returned to Texas as a music faculty member at East Texas State College. During his 13-year career at East Texas, he developed a flair for arranging that led him to make his first efforts at composition.

In 1957, Ray E. Luke was accepted at the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music where he studied composition with Bernard Rogers. He earned his Ph.D. in composition in 1960. In 1962, he joined the faculty at Oklahoma City University, where he became chairman of the instrumental music department. A year later, he became music director of the newly created Lyric Theatre and conducted there for five seasons. In the late 1960s, he became associate conductor of the Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra. Upon Guy Fraser Harrison's retirement in 1973, he served as music director of the orchestra for one season. Harrison premiered the majority of Luke's orchestral works, a practice continued when Luis Herrera de la Fuente became music director.

During a compositional career that spanned more than 40 years, Ray E. Luke composed more than 80 works for orchestra, band, chorus, opera, ballet and chamber music. In 1969, his piano concerto won the top prize in the Queen Elisabeth Competition. In 1979, his opera Medea, which featured a libretto by Carveth Osterhaus, won the New England Conservatory Opera Competition Award. He conducted the world premiere in Boston. Among his other awards are the Oklahoma Musician of the Year (1970), the Distinguished Alumnus of TCU (1972) and the Oklahoma Governor's Arts Award (1979).

For more than 25 consecutive years, Ray E. Luke was honored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. The ASCAP Award is presented for outstanding work in the area of serious music composition. His legacy as a composer and his influence on countless student musicians are a tribute to his tireless efforts to make the finest music possible. After 35 years at OCU, he retired in 1997.
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