Roland Edward Banks, 81, pianist and composer

December 08, 2005

Roland Edward Banks, a pianist and composer, died of Parkinson's disease Dec. 1 at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital. He was 81 and lived in Baltimore.

Mr. Banks was born in Baltimore and was raised in the city and also in Harford County.

"He started playing the piano when he was 9 years old," said a daughter, Ronna S. Matthews of Ten Hills.

During World War II, he served as a rifleman and in the Army Quartermaster Corps. After the war, he moved to New York City and studied music at the Institute of Musical Arts.

Mr. Banks also studied with Leonard Bernstein and Baltimore pianist Louis J. Shub, family members said.

For many years, Mr. Banks was an accompanist and composed music for several ballet troupes.

"He also composed a suite, Moods of Frustrations, and the fantasia Cirque de l'Homme et Diable," Mrs. Matthews said.

Mr. Banks, who also played for private functions, retired in 1990.

Services will be held at 9 a.m. today at the Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Home, 5151 Baltimore National Pike.

Also surviving are another daughter, Deborah A. Scarpati of Albany, N.Y.; and four grandchildren. His three marriages ended in divorce.

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