Born in Los Angeles, Gordon Getty has lived in San Francisco since 1945. He graduated from the University of San Francisco in 1956 with a B.S. degree in English literature, having meanwhile studied piano with the late Robert Vetleson and voice with Easton Kent. Following six months of active duty in the army and four years in family businesses, he studied music theory at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
His works includes Plump Jack which has a number of performances as a work in progress and in semi-staged concert versions, by such distinguished orchestras as the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the BBC Philharmonic in London, among others.
Getty's Emily Dickinson song cycle, The White Election, was released by Delos on CD in a performance by the late Kaaren Erickson to extraordinary international acclaim. The recording followed highly praised concert performances by Erickson and others.
Victorian Scenes, the composer's choral settings of poems by Tennyson and Housman, and a setting for men's voices of Poe's Annabel Lee, had their first performance by the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Sinfonia in the Chandler Pavilion at the Los Angeles Music Center.
Three Waltzes for Piano and Orchestra - Tiefer und Tiefer, Madeline, and Ehemals were performed by André Prévin and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. In 1991, orchestral arrangements of the Three Waltzes were performed both at Tanglewood under the baton of Zuohang Chen, and by the California Symphony conducted by Barry Jekowsky.
Honored as an Outstanding American Composer at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in 1986, Getty continues to win high praise for performances of his music in major concert halls across the United States and overseas.
His works have also been heard at major festivals around the world, including Tanglewood, Aspen, Newport, Miami, the Schubert Festival in Washington, the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, and the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, where his opera Plump Jack was performed in concert version to critical acclaim in 1989.
Getty was honored by Loyola in 1988 - 89 with the prestigious Distinguished Guest Artist Award.