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Alfred Burt Biography

Alfred Burt

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Born: 1920. Died: 1954. Lived in: United States

Alfred Burt (born April 22, 1920) was an American jazz musician who composed fifteen now famous Christmas carols between 1942 and 1954. Burt studied music at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and served as an officer in the United States Army during World War II. After the war, he traveled to California, developing a career as trumpeter and arranger, and eventually joined the Alvino Rey Orchestra. His most famous carol, "Caroling Caroling", is often heard during the Christmas season, and many others have been recorded by dozens of artists. John Williams wrote two medleys of his works for the Boston Pops Orchestra. Burt wrote his carols for "publication" on the back of his Christmas cards each year. They are among the few modern carols to address serious spiritual themes. A heavy smoker, he died of lung cancer in 1954 at the age of 33. In 2003 Burt's niece, the composer Abbie Betinis, revived the traditional of sending Christmas cards with an original carol each holiday season.