The BMI Foundation mourns the loss of BMIF Advisory Panelist, BMI songwriter, and folk music legend Oscar Brand, who passed away on Friday at home in Great Neck, New York at the age of 96.
Brand is most famously remembered for his New York public radio show Folk Festival, which set the Guinness World Record in 2006 as the longest-running radio series in history with a single host. The Peabody Award-winning program featured a who’s who of folk music mainstays and other legendary artists including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, the Weavers, Burl Ives, Bill Monroe, Judy Collins, Odetta, Emmylou Harris, Merle Travis, John Denver, B.B. King, and Harry Chapin.
In addition to his more than 70 years of volunteer service as a WNYC radio broadcaster, Brand was a prolific singer, performer, scholar, and composer, writing music for Broadway musicals, documentary films, ballets, commercials, television shows, original studio albums, and popular recordings by artists such as Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, and Harry Belafonte.
A lifelong champion of new artists, Brand also served on the BMI Foundation’s Advisory Panel, providing support and counsel for its annual grantmaking to music nonprofits nationwide. His friends at the Foundation extend condolences to his family and salute his life and legacy.