Biography

Al Yankee has been a musical leader since he organized his first band at age 14. He attended Mt. Hood Community College, The Berklee College of Music, The University of California at Riverside, and holds a Master's Degree in Music Composition from Redlands University. He spent 3 years with the Stan Kenton Orchestra as saxophonist and arranger, touring through the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Yankee's arrangement of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life," one of many contributions to the Kenton Orchestra library, was featured as the band's opening concert number for more than 2 years. Following that, Yankee spent a year traveling with elephants and tigers as a musician with Harry Blackstone's Magic Show.

Yankee then joined the United States Air Force, spending 16 years as staff composer for the bands at March Air Force Base, California, most of that time as director of the "Jazz West" big band, which he led on tours throughout the Southwest and Mexico. Memorable events with the Air Force Band include several performances at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library (the opening ceremonies, and presentation of the Freedom Medal to Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau), the 50th anniversary and dedication of Mt. Rushmore with President George H. W. Bush, and the state funeral of President Richard M. Nixon. In 1988, his "Stealth Fanfare" composition for the roll-out of the B-2 bomber garnered the attention of the international press when it was broadcast worldwide on CNN.

Currently, Yankee is a producer and entertainment consultant with Legacy Artists in Palm Desert, specializing in designing entertainment events for corporate business meetings. In addition, he continues to perform on woodwinds and act as orchestra manager for Performance Riverside, and has conducted productions of The Who's "Tommy" and "Man of La Mancha." As music contractor for the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, Alan has worked with such diverse acts as Roger Daltrey, Harry Connick, Jr., Johnny Mathis, and Bernadette Peters, as well as national tours of Broadway productions, such as "Victor/Victoria" with Toni Tenille, "The Sound of Music," with Marie Osmond, "Man of La Mancha" with Robert Goulet, "Hello, Dolly" with Carol Channing, etc. Special events of the last few years have included leading the orchestras for the "Let Freedom Ring" 9-11 charity fundraiser which featured Jack Jones, Keely Smith, and Barry Manilow, amongst a long list of luminaries, and the "Salute to Gerald Ford" gala, another star-studded event, hosted by Gavin McLeod and featuring a presentation by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A particular favorite has been his work with the Palm Springs Opera Guild, conducting special performances featuring both established operatic vocalists alongside scholarship winning young vocalists. His musical works have been commissioned and performed by the Oregon Shakespearean Festival, Interlochen Arts Academy, the Count Basie Orchestra, and the Monterey Jazz Festival, and he currently publishes with Warner Brothers. His recordings on Klavier records include his big band (Al Yankee Conducting´┐Ż), his "jazztet" (Bermuda Triangle) and his trio (Somewhere in a Dream). As a faculty member of the Riverside Community College music department since 1985, Alan imparts his love of music and theater of all types to both his students and his audiences.