Gillis, Don (1912-1978) | University of North Texas Special Collections
Born in Cameron, Missouri on June 17, 1912, Don Gillis moved with his family to Texas in 1930. He went on to have some impact on nearly every institution of higher education in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, as well as the University of South Carolina. Gillis studied composition with Don Mixson at Texas Christian University, and then worked as a band director at TCU, a Director of Productions at the WBAP radio station in Fort Worth, a producer for NBC Radio in Chicago, and a producer and script writer for the NBC Symphony Orchestra in New York City, under the direction of Arturo Toscanini.
After the NBC Symphony was disbanded, Gillis played a major role in reconstituting the orchestra as the Symphony of the Air, which participated in a State Department-sponsored tour of Asia. Gillis later served as the vice president of the Interlochen Music Camp in Michigan, and produced the series Toscanini: The Man Behind the Legend for NBC Radio.
Gillis returned to Texas and served as chair of the music department of Southern Methodist University in 1967-68, and as the chair of the arts department and director of instructional media at Dallas Baptist College from 1968 until 1973. In 1973, Gillis took the position of Chair of the Institute of Media Arts at the University of South Carolina, where he remained until his death in 1978.
For a more detailed biography, please visit the article "UNT Music Library Celebrates Don Gillis Centennial."