Ian Fraser


It is with a heavy heart I inform you that my dear friend, Ian Fraser, passed away this morning aged 81. After years of treatment he finally succumbed to cancer.

Ian had been a mainstay of the Hollywood community since he arrived in the US from his English homeland in the 1960s and there will many obituaries written for him. Most will laud his multiple Emmy wins for Outstanding Musical Direction from a record-breaking number of nominations, his Grammy and Oscar nominations and his extensive work with the likes of Julie Andrews, Bricusse & Newley and Bing Crosby. However, I want to reflect on the gentleman that was Ian Fraser.

I had the good fortune of working with Ian on several occasions. He did not suffer fools but embraced excellence. He was fastidious in crafting his arrangements and expected no less of all with whom he worked. He was possibly the most accomplished vocal arranger I’ve known as his sense of balance and voice leading was beyond compare.

He loved the SCL and everything for which it stands. It was only a few months ago that he was part of a Musical Direction seminar that I had been trying to put together for years and despite his ailing health he was determined to participate. So we found a way to hook him in from his home, via Skype, and while it wasn’t a perfect solution, it meant so much to Ian to be a part of that event along side his peers. Ian was always ready to give back.

When I went to his house to show him how the Skype setup would work, I took the picture below of him with his shelf-full of Emmys, just so those in attendance who weren’t familiar with his stellar accomplishments, as an MD, would appreciate them.

Only last week, I sent him a message asking how he was getting on. This was his reply:

Hi Ash:

Thanks so much for checking in. I finished my treatments 5 weeks ago, which left me very fatigued. I’m getting back some energy slowly, but still no voice, and need plenty of naps!

They’ll be doing a follow up scan in a couple of weeks, to see if they got everything.

Hope all’s well with you, and that the SCL is flowing along smoothly.

My life is so much richer for having known Ian. I’m sure there are many of you who feel the same.

Farewell my friend. We’ll miss you.

Ashley Irwin