Alexander Faris, Irish composer, died at 94

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45g45645f645Samuel Alexander “Sandy” Faris, born on June 11, 1921, and died September 28, 2015, Alexander was an Irish composer, conductor and writer, known for his television theme tunes, including the theme music for the 1970s TV series Upstairs, Downstairs.

Alexander composed and recorded many operas and musicals, and also composed film scores and orchestral works.

As a conductor, he was especially known for his revivals of Jacques Offenbach and Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.

Alexander was born in Caledon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, the son of a Presbyterian minister and his headmistress wife; he was the third of four children.

His aunt was the sculptress Anne Acheson. Alexander attended Oxford University, where he studied music, and served in World War II with the Irish Guards.

After the war, still stationed in Europe, he was involved with the restoration of damaged German opera houses. He then attended the Royal College of Music.

Alexander first conducted in London for a 1949 revival of Song of Norway at the Palace Theatre.

In the 1950s, he served as the musical director for the Carl Rosa Opera Company and the Royal Ballet.

In 1956 Alexander was given a Commonwealth Fund fellowship to study in New York at the Juilliard School.

Back in London, he was musical director, in 1959, for the European premiere of Candide by Leonard Bernstein.

In 1960, with Sadler’s Wells Opera, he helped to revive interest in the operettas of Jacques Offenbach, beginning with Orpheus in the Underworld, followed in 1961 by La Vie Parisienne in 1961.

Other operas that he conducted at Sadler’s Wells included Madam Butterfly in 1966.

He conducted Carl Davis’s television opera The Arrangement in 1965

Alexander Faris died at age 94 on September 28, 2015.

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