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William Bailey wrote over 130 compositions, including orchestral works, childrens’ piano pieces, choral works, songs, a string quartet and pieces for violin and for cello. The childrens’ pieces are particularly charming.
Bailey studied music theory and performance at Pomona College, Pasadena, California, graduating in 1929. He continued his studies at USC under Arnold Schoenberg while supporting himself as a free-lance musician. In 1936 he received a Master of Music degree from Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he studied composition with Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers.
He then began his teaching career at Stetson University in Deland, Florida but military service soon interrupted that. He spent the war years teaching radio at the Naval Radio Training Center in Moscow, Idaho, where Bailey met his wife Mary. They married in 1939 and had three children.
After the war he accepted a one-year appointment at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. He never left, retiring in 1975 with many honors. He also conducted the Walla Walla Symphony from 1945 to 1970, all the while continuing to compose.
William ailey was a very generous man who freely lent out his music, much of which was composed for specific occasions and people. He also sometimes didn’t write out accompaniments that he planned to perform himself. As a result not all of his works have survived intact. What does remain can be reviewed at the link below to an archive at Washington State University.