Crawford Gates was born in 1921 in San Francisco. He grew up in Palo Alto, California, attended San Jose State University (BA, with great distinction), Brigham Young University (MA), and Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester (Ph.D.). His very influential teacher of composition was the prizewinning, internationally acclaimed, Dr. Leroy Robertson. He also studied composition with two Pulitzer Prize winning composers: Dr. Howard Hanson (Director of Eastman School of Music) and Dr. Ernst Toch (of Zurich and Los Angeles). He studied conducting with Eleazar de Carvalho at Tanglewood, and with Hans Swarowsky of the Vienna State Opera.
Dr. Gates has written 867 musical works in all media, especially including major stage works and a number of large orchestral works. His works have been recorded by the Utah Symphony and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He is published by Hal Leonard, Southern Music, Kjos, etc. He taught at both Eastman School of Music and Brigham Young University. His most widely performed works have been the Utah Centennial Musical play Promised Valley (1947, with three weeks of performance in U of U stadium). Since then, this work has been played on five continents and in six languages, with a 19 year summer run (1967-1985) in two theaters built in downtown Salt Lake especially for its performances. It has been performed over 2,700 times. His 1957 recording with the Utah Symphony of the Music to the Hill Cumorah Pageant ran for 31 summers (1957-1987) as musical score to live performances at the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York. The pageant was rewritten in 1988 and the new score and recordings by the Utah Symphony and Mormon Tabernacle Choir combined has now had 21 years of summer performances (1988-2008).
Dr. Gates has conducted the Beloit/Janesville Symphony Orchestra in Wisconsin for 34 years (1963-1964 and 1966-1999), and the Rockford Symphony Orchestra in Illinois for 16 years (1970-1986). He also conducted the Quincy Symphony in Illinois and Brigham Young University Symphony and was guest conductor of the Utah Symphony 25 times (19481997), including recordings of his own works, and a major tour with that orchestra combined with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (1976). As an orchestral conductor he has a large repertoire of orchestra and orchestral/choral masterworks from memory. He served as chairman of the Brigham Young University Music Department from 1960-1966, during which period the Harris College of Fine Arts Building was built.