Steve Fowler


Born into a family that for generations has produced writers, scientists, artists, and musicians, and surrounded by classical and jazz music from an early age, Steve began playing flute at seven and saxophone at 14. 

In 1967 Steve graduated from Skyline High School as a National Merit Scholar and went on to earn a degree in English literature at Brown University. In 1971, Steve returned to Utah and music. His experiences as part of the academic jazz programs led by his father at the University of Utah and Westminster College led to further pursuit of a career in music. In 1975, Steve moved to Los Angeles and immersed himself in the music made available by the city’s vast diversity. With his brothers, Steve formed the Fowler Brother’s Band, a pioneer in the early days of fusion and use of synthesizers in jazz.  The Fowler Brothers developed their own record company and found work in the recording and film industry of Los Angeles.  Steve continued to play flute recitals of his own classical compositions and is the published composer of two ballets, many jazz tunes, a book of flute music, and poetry. 

He toured and served as music director of the Brian Setzer Orchestra, and was the long time music director and composed for the Los Angeles jazz tap ensemble, Rhapsody In Taps. In 1997, at a time when Steve was a busy member of the musical community, with work in sound recording, including his third solo CD project with his brother Ed,  touring with the Brian Setzer Band, and working on film soundtracks with his brother, Bruce, he was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.   Within months of his diagnosis, he was unable to continue to play flute and saxophone.  Still needing a creative outlet, Steve’s focus for the next two years turned to the study and theorizing about the etiology of ALS. He became frustrated by the existing testing process and the highly politicized nature of ALS funding and research and soon helped establish a group of patients and doctors willing to explore new ideas about how to combat ALS.   During this time, the ALS Therapy Development Foundation was formed, now the ALS-TDI, the world's largest ALS research center and the only nonprofit biotechnology company with more than 30 professional scientists focused on a single disease indication. Steve served on the Board of Directors until 2006.  As Steve’s condition worsened with ALS, he met the challenges of the disease like all other aspects of his life, with intellectual clarity and purpose and passion to succeed.  He found ways to continue quality of life and enjoy the people who were dear to him.

His struggle with ALS came to an end in California, August 17, 2010. 


The best thing I can think of When I'm not dreaming Is the smell of cut grass and quiet.
Is it because I am a prisoner of dreams that these successful thoughts must be intruded upon?The imagination runs its hand over a tired old keyboard and I see myself passing through the fields of a fragrant memory. The piper's tardy child Furiously limping toward paradise With those strangest of twins Elation and fear frozen on my expectant face But merely crippled, I am again left with the horses. -Steve Fowler