Morton Gould (1913-1996) was an American conductor, composer, and pianist. He was recognized as a child prodigy very early in his life, and as a result he published his first composition before his seventh birthday. His talents led him to become the staff pianist for Radio City Music Hall when it opened in 1932. He went on to compose movie soundtracks, Broadway musicals, and instrumental pieces for orchestra and band while also cultivating an international career as a conductor. Among the honors he received were the 1995 Pulitzer Prize, the 1994 Kennedy Center Honor, a 1983 Gold Baton Award, and a 1966 Grammy Award. By the time of his death in 1996 he was widely revered as an icon of American classical music.
There are several short biographies of Gould on the Internet. Each one is more glowing than the last:
Wikipedia – concise biography and list of works.
G. Schirmer – Gould’s publisher gives a much more eloquent account of the composer’s life (which wikipedia seems to have stolen and mangled).
Kennedy Center – Heaps yet more praise on the composer.
There is even an entire book dedicated to the biography of Morton Gould, by Peter W. Goodman. It is called American Salute.
Google books preview of the book here.
Review of said book here.
Santa Fe Saga was written in 1956 for a collaboration with ballet choreographer Elliot Feld. It draws on the sounds of folk life in Santa Fe, New Mexico, painting a vivid picture of the city and its people.
Santa Fe Saga is not among Gould’s most played pieces, so for a long time there were no videos of it on YouTube. Thankfully, that has changed. Here is a live performance by the University of Kentucky Wind Ensemble: