Will Irwin

William C. K. Irwin (3 January 1907 – 23 October 1998) was an American pianist, conductor, and songwriter.

Irwin was born in San Francisco, and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. With Australian composer Percy Grainger, Irwin studied composition before joining the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

The musical theatre composer Vernon Duke introduced Irwin to composer and songwriter George Gershwin in the 1920s. Irwin would subsequently join Gershwin and pianist Oscar Levant in piano improvisations at Gershwin's apartment. Irwin began a six-year professional relationship with songwriter and composer Irving Berlin, after being introduced to him by Gershwin. As Berlin could not read or write music Irwin would write down music as Berlin composed, often writing music down for Berlin in the middle of the night.

Irwin was professionally engaged as the musical director of touring productions of the musicals Oklahoma!, South Pacific and The King and I in the 1940s. In the 1960s Irwin became the choral director for Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall and later the halls staff composer and musical director. Irwin retired in 1979, and his wife Helen, died in 1984. They had a son, Dean, who was a television producer for ABC News. Irwin had lived in Staten Island for many years before his death in 1998.

Birth and Death Data: Born January 3, 1907, Died October 23, 1998

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1926 - 1949

Roles Represented in DAHR: conductor, composer

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-87226 10-in. 1/2/1935 Love, come take me Jolly Coburn Orchestra ; Harold van Emburgh Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Victor BS-03035 10-in. 11/10/1936 What a dummy love has made of me Florence Case ; Ruby Newman Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo composer  
Victor BS-03887 10-in. 1/5/1937 Long as you have your health Merry Macs ; Ray Noble Orchestra Jazz dance band, with female vocal solo and male vocal trio composer  
Victor BS-058267 10-in. 12/17/1940 How did it get so late, so early Bea Wain Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band composer  
Brunswick XE20581-XE20583 12-in. 10/29/1926 An American tragedy, part 1 Orchestra (unidentified; Brunswick Records) Orchestra composer  
Brunswick XE20584-XE20585 12-in. 10/29/1926 An American tragedy, part 2 Orchestra (unidentified; Brunswick Records) Orchestra composer  
Decca 75620 12/22/1949 Texas, li'l darlin' Kenny Delmar conductor  
Decca 75621 12/22/1949 Hootin' owl trail Danny Scholl conductor  
Decca 75622 12/22/1949 The big movie show in the sky Danny Scholl conductor  
Decca 75623 12/22/1949 Reprise : The yodel blues Kenny Delmar conductor  
Decca 75624 12/22/1949 Affable, balding me Fredd Wayne conductor  
Decca 75625 12/22/1949 A month of Sundays Mary Hatcher ; Danny Scholl ; Fredd Wayne conductor  
Decca 75626 12/22/1949 The yodel blues Kenny Delmar ; Mary Hatcher conductor  
Decca 75627 12/22/1949 Politics Kenny Delmar ; Loring Smith conductor  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Irwin, Will," accessed December 2, 2023, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/100352.

Irwin, Will. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved December 2, 2023, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/100352.

"Irwin, Will." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 2 December 2023.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/100352

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