Leroy Shield (Leroy Bernard Shields)
BiographyWaseca, Minnesota, USA
Versatile in many different musical fields, Leroy Shield started out as organist and pianist at the age of five. He made his professional début at 12 and at 15 became an arranger, composer and concert pianist. He accompanied opera singer Eva Gauthier during her American concert tours and pioneered the modernist composers Ravel, Milhaud, Holst, Baxt, and Casella. He won a scholarship in piano at Columbia Conservatory in Chicago and also studied at the University of Chicago. Read more... and Camden, later in other parts of the country. In 1930 he became "Musical Director in charge of Hollywood, Calif., Activities" and it was in this capacity that he composed and oversaw the recording of background and effect music at the Hal Roach Studios, producers of the Laurel & Hardy, Our Gang, and other comedies. Most of these tracks, recorded during 1930 and 1931, were so successful that the studio kept recycling them, hence their considerable familiarity even today. His contributions to the films, however, were rarely credited. In 1931 Shield became Director of Music for NBC's Central division, residing in Chicago. He became a very important and busy figure in Chicago, arranging for and leading his orchestra in several musical radio shows. In 1933, 1935 and 1936 he briefly returned to California to record more music for the Hal Roach Studios. In 1945 he relocated once again, to New York, as contractor of NBC's Orchestra section. In this capacity he worked closely with conductor Arturo Toscanini, joining him on his nationwide concert tour in 1950. He retired in 1955.