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American composer and jazz pianist Dave Brubeck was born in Concord, California on 6 December 1920. His father was a cattle rancher and his mother a piano teacher who had studied in England with Myra Hess, and his initial music lessons were from his mother. After graduating he joined the army, was a great hit as a pianist and was ordered to form a band, one of the US forces' first racially integrated bands. Later he studied with Darius Milhaud at Mills College and also took two lessons with Arnold Schoenberg.
Although his career was mainly in jazz, he also wrote longer choral and orchestral works after the Brubeck Quartet disbanded at the end of 1967. These include The Light in the Wilderness (an oratorio on the teachings of Jesus) and The Gates of Justice (a cantata combining the words of Martin Luther King Jr with biblical scripture).
Brubeck died of heart failure in Norwalk, Connecticut, on 5 December 2012, aged ninety-one.