Harold Wheeler (musician)
|Birth name||William Harold Wheeler Jr.|
|Born||July 14, 1943|
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||orchestrator, conductor, composer, record producer, music director|
|Associated acts||The Wiz, Star Wars, Hairspray, Dancing with the Stars|
William Harold Wheeler Jr. (born July 14, 1943), better known as Harold Wheeler, is an American orchestrator, composer, conductor, arranger, record producer, and music director. He has received numerous Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominations for orchestration, and won the 2003 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations for Hairspray.
Wheeler first worked in the 1960s as the musical director for Burt Bacharach making him the first African-American MD of a major pop act. He also was doing arranging for Tony Orlando and Nina Simone during that time. He was named Music Conductor for the 76th Academy Awards, becoming only the second African-American conductor in the Academy's history. He also was a music arranger on the 79th Academy Awards. Wheeler was one of two conductors (the others being fellow composers John Williams and Paul Shaffer) during the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Wheeler was the musical director on the ABC Network show, Dancing with the Stars for the shows first 17 seasons. In January 2014, it was announced that former American Idol bandleader Ray Chew would take over as musical director for the show's 18th season.
- Nina Simone – Here Comes the Sun (1971) – Arranger, conductor & producer
- Bruce Springsteen – Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. (1973) – Piano on Blinded By the Light and Spirit In The Night
- Grind (1975) – Additional orchestrations
- The Harold Wheeler Consort – Black Cream (album) (1975) RCA BGL1-0849 – Producer, arranger, piano/keyboards/organ/Moog, composer credit for tracks Black Cream and Color me Soul 
- Meco – Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk (1977) – arranger & producer
- The Wiz (1978) – soundtrack
- Straight Out of Brooklyn (1991) – original music
- Mississippi Rising (2005) – Arranger and conductor
With Bernard Purdie
- Biography. Interview Date: 10/3/2005 The HistoryMakers. 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017
- "'Dancing With the Stars' fires Harold Wheeler, band". USA Today. February 4, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- "Harold Wheeler – The HistoryMakers". www.thehistorymakers.org. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
- "The Harold Wheeler Consort". Discogs. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
- "Harold Wheeler". IMDb. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- Harold Wheeler at the Internet Broadway Database
- Harold Wheeler on IMDb
- Harold Wheeler discography at Discogs
- All Music Guide
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