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Alfred Carlson, 85; Wrote Atonal Music for Chamber Ensembles

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Alfred Carlson, 85, a composer of atonal music for chamber orchestras and other small groups, died July 29 in Los Angeles of complications from Parkinson’s disease.

Born in Chicago and brought up in Muskegon, Mich., Carlson came to Los Angeles in 1936 to study music at Los Angeles City College. As a young man, he sang in a chorus for the George Burns radio show and arranged music for bandleaders including Charlie Barnet.

Carlson helped found the Schoenberg Institute at USC and served on its board of directors. He was also a longtime musical director of the Ruskin Club, a Los Angeles organization that promotes local artistic projects, and was active in the Independent Composers Assn.

Among Carlson’s many compositions were “Dialogues” for oboe and piano, the 12-tone “Duets” for violin and trombone, “Polymorphics” for two guitars, “Angels Flight” for violin, cello and piano, and “Triptych” for viola and piano.

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