2004-04-11 02:55:23 UTC
Edmond G. DeLuca, 95, of Margate, a pianist, composer and
conductor, died March 6 at Shore Memorial Hospital in Somers
Point of complications from a fall. He had lived in Drexel
Hill for many years.
Mr. DeLuca learned to play the piano while growing up in
South Philadelphia and began composing music when he was 12.
In 1936, he was awarded first prize in a national
competition for his Robin Hood Dell Suite, which was
performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra. He later studied at
the Juilliard School in New York on a four-year fellowship.
In 1960, the London Philharmonic recorded his Conquerors of
the Ages Suite.
By then he had also composed string quartets, a piano and a
violin sonata, and three symphonies. Recordings of his
compositions did not make him rich, his niece Madeline
Farnese said. "His music was ahead of its time," she said.
"It sounds contemporary now."
She said Mr. DeLuca turned down the chance to write scores
for movies because he didn't want to raise his family in
Hollywood. Instead, he earned a living arranging music,
teaching privately and at the Philadelphia Music Academy and
the Curtis Institute of Music - one of his students was
Mario Lanza - and as a band leader. His orchestra performed
at the Drexelbrook Inn, at the Warwick Hotel, and at summer
resorts at the Jersey Shore. In 1968, Mr. DeLuca was one of
the lyricists of the song "Philadelphia, My Home Town." He
retired in the 1980s.
His niece said he continued to play the piano until last
year, when his wife, Carolyn Durso DeLuca, died. The couple,
who had been childhood sweethearts, had been married 71
years. He is survived by sons Edmond Jr. and Michael; a
sister; and five grandchildren. Another son, Charles, died
The funeral and burial were private.