Born in 1908 in Holland, Johan Franco became a U.S. Citizen in 1935, soon after moving to the United States, where he settled in Virginia Beach. Franco's compositional output included five symphonies, works for piano, chorus, chamber works, theater works, solo sonatas for the violin, viola, cello, saxophone and many, perhaps hundreds of works for carillon. Two months after his death in 1988, he was honored at the GCNA Congress in Berkeley, where he had planned to play one of his works for carillon.
From Moldenhauer Archives: Johan Henri Gustave Franco was born in Zaandam, Netherlands on July 12, 1908. The son of architect, S. Franco, and artist, Margaretha Gosschalk, who was also a singer and pianist, Johan began improvising on the piano at age four. He composed his first piece, Fantasy about Princess Erea, when he was ten and a half. He attended the Amsterdam Conservatory from 1929-1934 and studied with Dutch composer Willem Pijper for five years. During this same time period he studied law at the University of Amsterdam and then architecture and furniture design at the Kunstniverheid Institute. His First Symphony premiered in Rotterdam in 1934.
Franco arrived in the United States in 1934, and for fourteen years he lived in New York City. During World War II he served in the United States Army, and later in the Air Force. He and Eloise Bauder Lavrischeff, an author and poet, and the mother of John T. and David T. Lavrischeff, were married in Washington, D.C. on March 28, 1948. They settled in Virginia Beach, and lived there until his death on April 14, 1988.
Interview with the composer by Bruce Duffie can be found here.