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Allan Zavod OAM (16 October 1945 – 29 November 2016) was an Australian pianist, composer, jazz musician and occasional conductor whose career was mainly in America.[1][2]

Allan Zavod
Born(1945-10-16)16 October 1945
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died29 November 2016(2016-11-29) (aged 71)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
GenresJazz fusion, jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, actor
InstrumentsPiano, electric piano
Years active1972–2016
Associated actsGlenn Miller Orchestra, Cab Calloway, Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Jean-Luc Ponty, Frank Zappa
Allan Zavod and Family.tif
Allan Zavod and Family 2.tif

Zavod completed a music degree from the Melbourne Conservatorium, University of Melbourne in 1969. His talent as a pianist was recognised by Duke Ellington, who arranged for him to study at the Berklee College of Music, Boston – where Zavod was later a professor of music.[3]

Zavod was based in the US for 20 years, where he played, toured and recorded. He scored more than 30 American and Australian films and television shows.[citation needed] His symphonic works have been performed by orchestras in Australia, Europe and the U.S. He composed the Environmental Symphony for orchestra, narrator and synchronized visuals which was performed at the 2010 Banksia Environmental Awards and narrated by Sir Richard Branson.[citation needed]

The University of Melbourne awarded Zavod the Degree of Doctor of Music in recognition of his international achievements as a composer.[4]



Zavod was classically trained at University of Melbourne Conservatorium after being awarded the prestigious full Ormond scholarship.[2] In the late 1960s he was discovered by Duke Ellington, who arranged for him to further his jazz studies at famed Berklee College of Music, Boston, where Zavod taught.

He spent the following 30 years in the US performing. He performed before the Queen and years later Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and recently Prince and Princess Norodom of Cambodia, heads of country and state, foreign dignitaries, government bodies, universities and charitable organizations in many countries. Zavod was also a studio musician with such artist as Jean Luc-Ponty, toured in Frank Zappa's band in 1984, and provided studio work on Zappa's release "Guitar".

As a film composer he wrote scores for more than 40 films, documentaries, television and theatre, including:

  • Six Concertos: (for Piano, Trumpet, Trombone, Violin, Guitar, Oboe)
  • Concertato for Orchestra: Works for Choir, Brass Band, Classical and Jazz Ensembles
  • The International Red Cross, celebrating the centennial of the first Nobel Peace Prize, United Nations Geneva Switzerland:
  • Work for The Olympic Games I.O.C. Performance and recording Sydney, Australia
  • Hurricane Katrina commemoration, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Australian archive of Jewish Music
  • Bi Centennial Australia Day celebrations Televised Nationally Opera House Sydney.
  • Orchestrations of Traditional Folk songs for Vietnamese National Symphony Orchestra, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • 2015 Anzac Gallipoli commemoration Zavod performed on board ship at a dawn service in Anzac Cove Gallipoli with New Zealand Opera Singer Dame Malvina Major: ‘Australia Remembers’ WW11 Gala tribute (arrangements)
  • 5-movement symphony ‘The Environmental Symphony for Orchestra, Narrator and Synchronized Visuals.’ Narration written by Scientist Dr Alan Finkel Chancellor of Monash University and narrated by Sir Richard Branson.


In 2009, he was awarded the Doctor of Music Degree by the University of Melbourne. Being one of only five recipients of an earned doctorate in composition over the history of the University, this higher doctorate is awarded to scholars who have “made an international contribution to music knowledge.”[citation needed]

Original compositions performedEdit

  • 2015 Flurry A work for violin, clarinet and piano
  • 2015 Good Vibrations Concertato for Orchestra Queensland Youth Orchestra Conductor John Curro AM MBE World Premiere Q.PAC Concert Hall Qld. Aus.
  • 2011 Concerto for Oboe soloist Diana Doherty, Queensland Youth Symphony conductor John Curro AM MBE. World Premiere QPAC Qld.
  • 2010 Urban Concerto for Guitar, Jazz Ensemble and Orchestra soloist Slava Grigoryan with SBS Television and Radio Youth Orchestra. World premiere, Sydney Aus.
  • 2010 Environmental Symphony for Orchestra and Narrator to be performed Oct 15 at The Banksia Awards, Sydney, Narrator Sir Richard Branson Narrative written by Dr Alan Finkel AM World premier, Sydney.
  • 2010 The Super Jam Sessions- Nigel Kennedy violin, Zavod keyboards Abbotsford Convent Melb, Basement, Sydney.
  • 2008 Australian Concert Trio on tour with “Sting” Zavod piano, David Berlin cello, Slava Grigoryan guitar Sydney Opera House. Melb. Concert Hall. Festival Theatre Perth. Adelaide, Australia.
  • 2006 Force D’Esprit commissioned and performed by Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra conductor Klauspeter Seibel. World premiere New Orleans US.
  • 2003 Concerto for Jazz Trombone soloist James Morrison with the Munich Radio Orchestra conductor Gavin Sutherland. World premiere Munich, Germany.
  • 2003 Concerto for Trumpet, Jazz Trio and Orchestra soloist James Morrison with the Munich Radio Orchestra, conductor Gavin Sutherland- Munich, Germany.
  • 2001 Concerto for Trumpet, Jazz Trio and Orchestra soloist James Morrison with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Opera House Sydney Aus.
  • 2000 Olympic Rhapsody Zavod solo piano: composed and performed for I.O.C. Sydney Olympics
  • 2000 Youth Suite for Classical Orchestra and Jazz Ensembles Wesley College, Melbourne
  • 2000-1985… Thirty US and Australian film scores including a movie with celebrated guitarist Eric Clapton, A Disney film and an award-winning Australian children’s film for "Shines" director Scott Hicks.
  • 1996 The Hobbit scored for Australian live theatre nationally (Polyglot Theatre Company) Recording.
  • 1995 Concerto for Trumpet, Jazz Trio and Orchestra soloist James Morrison with the Adelaide Symphony Orch. World Premiere Adelaide Concert Hall.
  • 1989 Le Promenade for Symphonic Band Melbourne Youth Symphonic Band (Melbourne Youth Music Council).
  • 1988 Concerto Australiana A Piano Concerto for Jazz Trio and Orchestra. (Australia Council commission) Performed on Australia Day, Australian Bicentennial at the Sydney Opera House. Soloist/composer Allan Zavod with Australian Youth Orchestra- live national broadcast ABC TV. Released in association with ABC for audio recording and televised broadcast-World premiere
  • 1988 Rockin Along Commissioned by and for the Australian Girls Choir.
  • 1987 Winner Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union Song Contest held in Kuala Lumpur, representing Australia sponsored by SBS Song Composer and Music Director.


  • Speaker Composition Seminar Monash University for Dr Thomas Reiner.
  • Monash University Mannix Fellow and speaker Mannix College Fellowship Lecture.
  • Tutor for Composition courses years 1-3 Victorian College of the Arts. Guest juror Victorian College of the Arts.
  • Twice speaker for “Careers In Music”(Melbourne University).
  • Artist in Residence Melbourne University
  • Devised and taught an elective on Classical/Jazz Fusion in Composition and Performance.
  • Twice Artist in Residence Wesley College Melbourne-
  • Devised and taught courses in jazz improvisation.
  • Composed and conducted a large orchestral work for Wesley College incorporating Symphonic Band, String Ensemble, Big Band and members of the Choir.
  • Melbourne Youth Music Camp as head of the Jazz Choir-visited in 1988 by HRH. Prince of Wales and Princess Diana.
  • Australian Musician Magazine writer -music lessons-15 years.
  • Speaker Stonnington Council Mentors Program (Melbourne).
  • Challenging youth through orchestral works in the classical/jazz genre.(e.g. Australian Youth Orchestra, SBS Youth Television and Radio Orchestra, Queensland Youth Symphony).

International and national toursEdit

  • 2015 Europe Tour. Solo and trio
  • 2014 Asia Tour Vietnam, Cambodia Hong Kong
  • 2008 Aus Concert trio ZBG Australian ‘Sting’ Tour
  • 2004 Hardbite Northern European tour
  • 1973–1990s Allan Zavod Trio Australia wide
  • 1974-1986 Frank Zappa, Jean-Luc Ponty, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Glenn Miller Orchestra

Discography as primary and associate artist, and/or composerEdit

  • Concerto for Trumpet, Jazz Trio and Orchestra (broadcast ABC)
  • Concerto for Jazz Trombone (broadcast Munich)
  • Urban Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra (broadcast SBS)
  • Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra Resiliant Spirit - Oboe Soloist Dianna Doherty (DVD jvd video prod
  • Environmental symphony for Orchestra, Narrator and synchronised visuals (Five movement)Narration Dr Alan Finkel Narrator Sir Richard Branson (rec)
  • Concertato for Orchestra Good Vibrations (ABC Recording )(DVD)
  • A work for Violin, Clarinet and Piano – Flurry(ABC Recording) Plexus Trio
  • Force D'Esprit (broadcast Louisiana)
  • What’s New (Larrikin Records)
  • Death of a Soldier- film soundtrack (Avante-Guard Records)
  • The Hobbit -soundtrack (Zav Music/Fantasy Records)
  • Classic Hymns Vol 1, Vol 11 (Brunson Brother Recordings)
  • More Great Australian Film and TV Themes (ABC Records)
  • w/Frank Zappa: Does Humor Belong in Music?, You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1, 3, 4 and 6, Guitar (Barking Pumpkin Records and Rykodisc)
  • w/Maynard Ferguson “Chameleon” (Columbia)
  • w/Jean-Luc Ponty: Jean-Luc Ponty Live, A Taste for Passion, Cosmic Messenger, Enigmatic Ocean, Imaginary Voyage (Atlantic Records)
  • New York Mary (Geffen Records)
  • Zavod, Berlin, Grigoryan “The Australian Concert Trio” (ZBG Records)
  • Ballade For Annia (Move Records)
  • Live at BMW Edge “So Many Notes” (Jewish Museum of Australia/Gandel Centre of Judaica)
  • w/Billy Cobham-John Scofield “Life and Times” WEA
  • w/Gary Burton-Mike Gibbs “In the Public Interest” Polydor Records
  • Olympic Rhapsody (Zav Records)
  • Humanity United (Zav Records)
  • The Anthony I. Ginnane Collection (1M1 Records)
  • w/Australian Crawl “Between A Rock and a Hard Place” (EMI)
  • w/Maurie Fields “Cheers”, “All The Best”, “Music of a Lifetime” (Virgin and CEL)
  • Lil Elvis (ABC Records)
  • Australia Land of Today (Polygram)

Selected 20th-century workEdit

  • 1972 American Tour with Glenn Miller Orchestra under Buddy De Franco
  • 1974 World Tour and recording with the Maynard Ferguson Big Band - "Chameleon" Available on Columbia
  • 1976 Recorded with the Billy Cobham Band, "Life and Times" Available on C.B.S
  • 1980 A.B.C Showband – Music Arranger
  • 1984 World Tours with Frank Zappa, including Live Video and Recording "Does Humour Belong in Music" produced by Frank Zappa, "Frank Zappa Guitar" Disc 1 and 2 Ryko Disc, US and "You Can’t Do That On Stage" 1-6 Barking Pumpkin Records, US
  • 1985 Guest Recording Artist with "Australian Crawl"
  • 1988 Winner W.R.O.K. Australian Bicentennial Songwriters Award
  • 1992 "All the Best" Maurie Fields – Virgin Records, (Producer)
  • 1992 "Cheers" Maurie Fields – Virgin Records, (Producer)
  • 1989 Winner Australian Writers and Art Directors Award
  • 1992 Conductor Judith Durham, M.C.G – Final World Cup Cricket
  • 1993 "Let me Find Love" Judith Durham (Co-Producer, Music Director, Arranger)
  • 1993 "Australia Land of Today" Judith Durham (Producer, Music Director, Arranger)
  • 1993 A.B.C Soundtrack C.D "More Great Australia Film and TV Themes" (Right hand Man Theme)
  • 1993 – 1995 Judge, Australian Film Institute Awards for Music
  • 1996 "Maurie Fields – Music of a Lifetime" CEL Records (Producer)
  • 1996 "Lil Elvis" Australian Children's Television Foundation (Songwriter)
  • 1997 Began Australian Musician magazine Music Educator.
  • 1997 Featured in Oxford Companion to Australian Music
  • 1999 JRR Tolkien "The Hobbit" Australia wide Theatre production
  • 2000 Australian composers Guild Award (Sandy Dennis), Government House Sydney
  • 1999-2001 Special guest lecturer Melbourne University "Careers in Music".
  • 2000 "Olympic Rhapsody 2000" CD – IOC Performance Olympic Games Sydney
  • 2001 Stonnington Council "Mentor program" guest speaker


  1. ^ "Allan Zavod's Website". Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Frank Zappa composer Dr Allan Zavod dies". 1 December 2016. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Allan Zavod, pianist, dies aged 71". 30 November 2016. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Dr Allan Hyam Zavod (OB 63)". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.