Wilder, Alec

Wilder, (Alexander Lafayette Chew) Alec

(1907–80) composer, arranger; born in Rochester, N.Y. He began songwriting and arranging in New York in the 1930s for such artists as Cab Calloway, Bing Crosby, Ethel Waters and Mabel Mercer. In 1939 he composed a series of innovative octets that combined classical and popular musical forms. In the 1950s he began writing chamber and orchestral music and opera and in the 1970s he hosted a series of radio programs on American popular music. Although appreciated by jazz and classical musicians, his work is not very well known by the public.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.