Composer David Maslanka dies in Montana home at age 73

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MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — David Maslanka, a composer who was renowned for his music written for wind ensembles, has died in his Montana home at age 73.

Maslanka died Sunday night, his son Matthew Maslanka wrote on his father's website. David Maslanka suffered from colon cancer, and his health declined rapidly after his wife, Alison Matthews, died in July, Matthew Maslanka said.

Maslanka, who moved to Montana in 1990 to compose music full time, wrote more than 150 works — including 50 pieces for wind ensembles, eight symphonies and 17 concertos. His works have been included in more than 50 recordings and performed around the world.

"His music had that Americana feel even though it might have been using new techniques," University of Montana School of Music Director Maxine Ramey told Montana Public Radio. "It still sounded American. You could still hear familiar tunes, and familiar harmonies. And he just had that as part of his composition."

Maslanka was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1943. He studied at the Oberlin College and Conservatory, Michigan State University and Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria.

Maslanka taught at several universities and colleges in New York between 1970 and 1990 before moving to Montana to compose full time.

His decision was "an enormous leap of faith. It worked out," his daughter, Kathryn Maslanka, told the Missoulian.

A memorial service is planned for both David Maslanka and Alison Matthews on Sept. 3 in Missoula.

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