Crawford Gates was born in San Francisco, California on 29 December 1921 to Gilbert Marion Gates and Leila Adair Gates. He graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1938 and completed a BA degree “with great distinction” from San Jose State College in 1944. He received an MA degree from Brigham Young University in l948 and a PhD from Eastman School of Music in 1954. He did graduate studies in orchestral conducting with Eleazar de Carvalho at Tanglewood in1957 and advanced conducting studies from Hans Swarowsky of the Vienna State Opera in 1967. His three teachers of music composition were Dr. Leroy Robertson, winner of the Reichhold Award, Dr Howard Hanson of Eastman School of Music, and Dr. Ernst Toch of Zurich and Los Angeles. The latter two were Pulitzer Prize winning composers. He served on the music faculty of Brigham Young University from 1947-1966, on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music 1948-1950 and on the faculty of Beloit College l966-1989.
He served as Chair of the Music Department at Brigham Young University 1960-1966, during which time he participated in the planning and design of the multi-million dollar Harris Fine Arts Center. In 1963 he organized and conducted a Utah Nevada California tour of a 300 voice combined choirs and 100 piece Symphony Orchestra in a progam consisting of Bach’s MAGNIFICAT and Walton’s BELSHAZZAR’S FEAST. He conducted this program for the 3,300 members of the National Music Educators Conference in Bakersfield, CA without score.(1963)
Maurice Abravanel, internationally known conductor of the Utah Symphony (1947-1979) , invited Gates to guest conduct the Utah Symphony Orchestra 25 times during his tenure and commissioned three major orchestral works by Gates, all of which were premiered under the composer’s baton.
Gates served as orchestral conductor of the Beloit Janesville Symphony (WI)
(1963-1999),the Quincy Symphony Orchestra (IL) (1969-1970) and the Rockford Symphony Orchestra(IL) (1970-1986), and was recognized for his appealing programming and innovations in orchestral presentation.
Gates served in WWII as a naval officer in the Amphibious Forces of the Pacific Fleet. He is married to Georgia Lauper of San Francisco and they are parents of 4 children, 15 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren.