David A. Conner, a music director, composer, arranger, vocal coach, and musician for the children’s television shows “The Electric Company” and “Sesame Street,” died from a rare form of lung cancer on December 26, 2015. He was 79 years old and lived in New City, NY. He was the father of Ridgefield resident, Christine Thorn.
Mr. Conner began working for Children’s Television Workshop in 1972, and was honored to be a part of the creative team for over 38 years. A six-time Emmy Award winner, he conducted numerous concerts with Big Bird for major symphony orchestras throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia.
His work in television and film, and as a teacher touched many lives, as did his kind and gentle character, generosity, and his genuine belief in celebrating the humanity in all people.
Mr. Conner was born on June 2, 1936, in Hume, NY, to Mae Rich Conner, and Cassius Smith Conner. The middle son of three boys, he was raised in Lima, NY, and attended Lima High School where he was active in the band, dance band, county and regional select bands, varsity basketball, and National Honor Society.
A classically trained pianist, Mr. Conner graduated with a B.S. from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, and a Masters of Music in Orchestral Conducting from The New England Conservatory of Music. His teachers included Louis Greenwald (accompanist for Jascha Heifetz and Efrem Zimbalist), Frederick Zimmermann (Double Bass principal, New York Philharmonic), and Gunther Schuller (composer, conductor).
Early in his career, he directed instrumental and choral music in New York and Massachusetts public schools, played string bass in the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and was a founding member of the High Tor Opera Company. He directed the Musical Theater Department at The Boston Conservatory, and was music director for many productions performed at Boston College, The Cape Cod Melody Tent (Hyannis), The North Shore Music Theatre (Beverly), and The South Shore Music Circus (Cohasset).
Surviving are his loving wife, Toby; his children, Christine Thorn (son-in-law Rod Thorn), and David Conner, Jr. (daughter-in-law, Kathy Conner); and grandchildren, Sarah Thorn, Kyle Conner, and Katelyn Conner. He is predeceased by his parents and brothers, William Frank Conner, and Rear Admiral Donald Lee Conner.
Family will receive visitors on Saturday, January 2nd, from 9:30 to 11:30 am, at Michael Higgen’s Funeral Home, in New City. A memorial service will follow at the funeral home and interment will be at Ferncliff Cemetery, in Hartsdale, NY.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Mr. Conner’s name may be made to the American Cancer Society.