Stanley Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Composition at the University of Michigan. Early instrumental training in Fresno, Calif., led to service during World War II as a trombonist and arranger with the 13th Armored Division Band in France and Germany. Following the war he attended Fresno State College and was Principal Trombone with the Fresno Symphony. Bassett's long association with the University of Michigan began in 1947: his composition studies with Homer Keller and Ross Lee Finney were interrupted by a Fulbright Fellowship for study in Paris with Arthur Honegger at l'Ecole Normale de Musique and with Nadia Boulanger in her private studio. In addition he studied at Michigan with Argentine-American composer Mario Davidovsky and with Catalan composer Roberto Gerhard. Leslie Bassett was a recipient of the Prix de Rome (1961-3), the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Variations for Orchestra, Guggenheim Fellowships, the Naumburg Recording Award, and awards from the Koussevitsky Music Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 1981 he has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
A number of Bassett's students at the University of Michigan have themselves had distinguished careers in music: among them are Lettie Alston, Kevin Beavers, Thomas Clark, Gabriela Lena Frank, Paul Yeon Lee, John Anthony Lennon, Gerald Near, P. Q. Phan, Preston Stahly, Frank Ticheli, and Richard Toensing.
Leslie Bassett's music is published by the C. F. Peters Corporation, Merion Music (Theodore Presser), Editions Alphonse Leduc, the E. C. Schirmer Music Company, and World Library Publications but several early works are available from American Composers Alliance.