Veteran Music Publishing Exec Al Kohn Dies at 96

Al Kohn

Al Kohn

Al Kohn, a big band music arranger, a music publishing executive and an author, has died of natural causes in Encino, Calif. He was 96.

Kohn, who grew up in the Bronx, had a successful career as a big band arranger for such musical giants as Irving Berlin and Paul Whiteman before embarking as a successful music publishing career, which culminated in is co-authoring the book, "Kohn On Music Licensing," which he wrote with his son Bob Kohn.

Kohn caught the music bug early and by 15 he started his own band, The Crestonians, named after Creston Junior High School, which he attended, according to his Website,

Soon he turned professional  and before World War II he began working as a music arranger for such radio programs as "Waltz Time" and "Manhattan Merry-Go-Round. During the war, he orchestrated Berlin's all-soldier show, "This Is The Army," according to his son Bob Kohn. He also arranged and conducted for Billy Rose, Ted Dale, Orrin Tucker, Bob Hope and Jerry Vale and among others. And he arranged music for television specials for Milton Berle, George Jessel, Martha Raye, Katherine Murray and Jane Pickens.

He began his music publishing career with Francis, Day & Hunter and then worked for 23 years with Warner Music Group's music publishing company that would eventually evolve into Warner/Chappell Music, retiring in 1993. While there he worked with such songwriters as Ira Gershwin, Harry Warren, Sammy Cahn, Herb Magidson, Ben Oakland, Jerry Livingston and Rupert Holmes.

Ralph Peer II, chairman and CEO of Peer Music, said in a statement on Kohn's passing, "I and many others had a great deal of respect for Al who I considered the 'dean' of music copyright executives during his years at W/C. His wealth of knowledge and calmness were an important influence on the community and improved the professional standards throughout the industry."

Kohn was preceded in death by his wife Edna to whom he was married to for over 65 years.
Kohn -- a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Pacific
Pioneer Broadcasters, and the Lambs Club -- is survived by his sons Ted, Matt, and Bob, six grandchildren, three great grandchildren, and his younger brother Roy Kohn.

Services will be held at Mt. Sinai Hollywood Hills, 5950 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068, (800) 600-0076, at 11:30AM on Wednesday, April 8, 2015.