Donald Kahn and SGA - "A Beautiful Friendship"


On April 11, 2008, the world lost a kind, sensitive, generous, humble and gentle soul, SGA board member Donald Gustave Kahn. Donald not only inherited his parents', Gus and Grace Kahn's renowned musical talents and legacy, he embodied a variety of beautiful music with its myriad of styles.

Donald grew up in a special milieu, amongst such greats as Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Harry Warren, Richard Rodgers, Al Jolson (his godfather), Eddie Cantor and Judie garland, just to name a few. As a songwriter, musical arranger, musician/pianist, television and radio personality, he created his own unique and poignant style, touching many.

A graduate of Pomona College, Donald Kahn served as navigational instructor for the Air Force in Hollbrook, AZ during World War II. Throughout the course of his over 70-year career, Donald Kahn collaborated with the likes of Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn, Stanley Styne, etc., even writing the song, "When Its Peach Blossom Time in Georgia," with his mother Grace. In the 1950s, he produced arranged and recorded, together with his first wife, vocalist Lois Marx, and songwriter Ray Gilbert "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" an LP which contained several of his father Gusí admired and popular songs. Donald's own music was recorded by such pivotal artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Margaret Whiting, Kenny G., Bobby Troupe, Jack Jones, Shirley Horn, Sarah Vaughan, etc. Rosemary Clooney closed many of her shows with a rendition of Kahn/Styne's "A Beautiful Friendship." Skitch Henderson, Benny Carter, Van Alexander, Vic Mizzy, Ray Charles and Neal Hefti were counted among his vast array of friends.

Donald Kahn was often a key player (member or board member) in the service of some of music's finest organizations, such as the Songwriters Guild of America, ASCAP, Hal Leonard Music Publishing and the Johnny Mercer Foundation.

Donald Kahn is survived by his devoted and loving wife Bobby Kahn, his children, Linda, Katherine, Gwynne, Melinda, Brooke and Carter, 8 grand children and 5 great-grandchildren.

The Songwriters Guild of America will miss him profoundly.






Donald Kahn

Donald Kahn serving on a panel
at the Los Angeles SGA office