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Roger Deegan: Biography

Roger Deegan
1928 - 2006
Region: Prairie

Roger Deegan

Roger Deegan, born in Turtleford, Saskatchewan in 1928, grew up on the Canadian prairies. He attended public school in Turtleford and Edmonton, then earned his Master of Music in Composition from the University of Southern California, where he took special classes in motion picture scoring conducted by Miklos Rozsa and Ingolf Dahl.

Working in Los Angeles from 1949, Deegan married Betty Brown in 1958. The Deegans and their two children spent some time on a ranch near Beatty, Nevada, but moved back to Edmonton in 1967.

Deegan has written the music for more than 100 films, including the National Film Board documentary, "Long Lance," for which he won the Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association (AMPIA) award for best musical score, and which inspired a McCurdy Commission choral work, "Death of Long Lance." Deegan has also collaborated with Albert Karvonen on several award-winning nature films, and was nominated for the 1981 Canadian Film Television Association (CFTA) Bijou Award for Outstanding Original Score for the NFB production, "China Mission." His works also include a considerable amount of piano music and a great many songs, as well as--as he puts it--"a lot of music begun but destined to remain unfinished".

Deegan is renowned for his use of unorthodox instrumentations, such as telephone poles and wrecking bars, to achieve the desired sounds for a particular soundtrack. As he says, "The film must be served." Deegan has also written music for dance, in collaboration with Canadian artists Evelyn Roth and Maria Formolo, and performed regularly as a member of the Edmonton ensemble, Plumber's Union. Roger Deegan died on 28 August 2006 after a prolonged battle with cancer.


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