Fagan, Gideon, South African conductor and composer; b. Somerset West, Cape Province, Nov. 3, 1904; d. Cape Town, March 21, 1980. He studied at the South African Coll. of Music in Cape Town with W.H. Bell (1916–22) and later in London at the Royal Coll. of Music (1922–26), where his teachers were Boult and Sargent (conducting) and Vaughan Williams (composition). Fagan established residence in London, where he led theatrical companies, arranged light music for broadcasts and films, and acted as guest conductor with the BBC and other orchs. In 1949 he returned to South Africa, where he became active as arranger and conductor at the Johannesburg Radio (SABC); later was its head of music (1963–66). He also taught composition and conducting at the Univ. of Cape Town (1967–73). In 1979 he received the Medal of Honor of the South African Academy for Science and Art.
ORCH llala, symphonic poem (1941); South African Folk-tune Suite (1942); 5 Orchestral Pieces (1948–9); Concert Overture (1954); Heuwelkruin (Hill Crest), suite for Piano and Orch. (1954); Albany, overture (1970); Ex unitate vires, symphonic sketch (1970); Suite for Strings (1974); Karoosimfonie (1976–77). CHAMBER : Nocturne for Woodwinds and Strings (1926); Nonet (1958); Quintics for 5 Brasses (1975); piano pieces. VOCAL: Tears, symphonic poem for Soloist, Chorus, and Orch. (1954); My Lewe, 6 poems for Baritone, Flute, Clarinet, Piano, and String Quartet (1969); Een vaderland, oratorio (1977–78); songs.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire