Don Dorsey

To call Don Dorsey an "electronic music whiz" would be to greatly oversimplify his long and varied musical and creative career.

In 1975, Don Dorsey began his forty-plus year association with Disney theme parks as audio engineer and production consultant, control system designer and creator of fireworks and nighttime spectacular shows (including Laserphonic Fantasy, IllumiNations, Sorcery in the Sky, and Starlight Magic). In 1999, Don created and directed Epcot’s "Reflections of Earth” spectacular to celebrate the dawn of the new millennium. The hit show has continued to run nightly for over eighteen years (so far)!

For Don’s first 17 years with Disney, he served as the main audio recording and post-production engineer for the Entertainment Division of the Disneyland® Park, manning console knobs and faders for recording sessions with Mickey and his cohorts, and for musical groups which ran the gamut from bagpipes, steel drums and accordion to marching band, 100-voice choir and symphony orchestra. His electronic arrangements and performances for Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade have been heard by over 150 million Disney park guests.

Don's original compositions have also been heard on television, radio, recordings, industrial shows, half-time shows, and spectacular events around the world. His lighthearted, synthesized arrangement of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was featured in The Magnificent Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall from 1981 to 1989.

Don consults with many major entertainment companies on the development and writing of spectacular entertainment shows, concepts, marketing, and uses of entertainment technology. His consulting client list includes Universal and Six Flags theme parks, Harrah's Entertainment, Radio City Music Hall, as well as numerous other convention and live event producers. Don has also produced professional digital sound effects libraries for the motion picture and audio production industries under the trademark Sonic Boon®. These effects have been heard in such mega-movies as Unforgiven, Patriot Games, Terminator II, Total Recall, Lethal Weapon II, and The Hunt for Red October.

In 1974 Telarc persuaded Don to create a unique all-digital opening selection for the CD Time Warp with the invitation; "How’d you like to blow up people’s stereos?" The soundscapes of Don’s high-powered "Ascent" challenged speakers so successfully that Telarc requested a full-length synthesizer project as a follow-up.

That project, Bachbusters, has been described as "Bach that is innovative yet never disrespectful" and "serious business and fun, too." Dorsey reflected this unique approach with the whimsical subtitle "as realized on Digital and other Authentic Period Synthesizers." Bachbusters became the first-ever Telarc recording to claim the #1 position on the Billboard Classical chart and held that spot for fourteen weeks. At the end of the year, Bachbusters ranked #4 on Billboard's Top Classical CDs of 1986. Bachbusters still held the #11 spot on Billboard's Top Classical Crossover Albums at the end of 1987, a full year later.

Telarc then requested another original Dorsey composition for Star Tracks II. Dorsey surprised everyone with a new-age-inspired piece entitled "Dimensions" in which rhythmic motifs in multiple time signatures parallel each other while a melodic motif floats over the top.

Don next brought his "delightfully warped synthetic sense of humor" to bear on Beethoven. This second full-length solo release, Beethoven or Bust claimed the #1 spot on the Billboard Classical Crossover chart on April 16, 1988, stayed there for 24 weeks and was ranked #2 on Billboard's Top Classical Crossover Albums of 1988. On this recording, Dorsey supplements his vast array of synthetic tones with an occasional dose of drums, bells, gunshots, automobile horns and trains which are "precisely in tune and unobjectionable" according to at least one reviewer.

Don’s recording career was put on hold as other creative projects became more demanding. It wasn’t until August of 1997 that Telarc released his final CD, "Busted” which contains many previously unreleased tracks by Don, including the original 1983 soundtrack to Epcot's nighttime spectacular "Laserphonic Fantasy" (by special arrangement with the Walt Disney Company). Also featured are several selections from an uncompleted project Mozart's a Must, and a special bonus track: "Don Dorsey Unplugged" performed on synthesizer without the aid of any electricity whatsoever. Really.