World-renowned conductor, led the Philadelphia Orchestra for 44 years!
Description: (b. Jenő Blau, 1899-1985) Hungarian-Jewish born conductor and violinist best known for his 44-year association with the Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the longest enjoyed by any conductor with a single orchestra. Under his baton, the Philadelphia Orchestra earned 3 gold records and 2 Grammy Awards.
Ormandy began studying violin at the Royal National Hungarian Academy of Music at 5, gave his 1st concerts as a violinist at 7, graduated at 14 with a master’s degree. In 1920, he obtained a university degree in philosophy and moved to the U in 1921. Around this time he changed his name to Eugene Ormandy.
He was first engaged by a former Budapest friend and fellow Academy graduate, as a violinist in the orchestra of NYC’s the Capitol Theatre in New York City, a 77-player ensemble which accompanied silent films. He became concertmaster 5 days after joining, soon became one of the conductors. Ormandy made 16 recordings as a violinist 1923-29.
The most powerful American classical music manager during the 30s, Arthur Judson, greatly assisted Ormandy’s career, and when Toscanini was too ill to conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1931, Judson asked Ormandy to stand in. This led to Ormandy’s 1st major appointment in Minneapolis as a conductor.
Ormandy conducted the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (now the Minnesota Orchestra) 1931-36 and RCA Victor contracted Ormandy and the Minneapolis Symphony for many recordings. There were several premiere recordings made in Minneapolis: John Alden Carpenter’s Adventures in a Perambulator; Zoltan Kodaly’s Hary Janos Suite; Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht, and a specially commissioned recording of Roy Harris’ American Overture, based on “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”. Ormandy’s recordings also included Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2.
Ormandy’s 44-year Philadelphia Orchestra tenure began in 1936 and 2 years after his appointment as associate conductor under Leopold Stokowski, he became its music director. As music director, Ormandy conducted 100-180 concerts each year in Philadelphia. Upon his retirement in 1980, he was made conductor laureate.
Ormandy was a quick learner of scores, often conducting from memory and without a baton. He demonstrated a formal and reserved podium manner like Toscanini, his idol and friend. He was particularly noted for conducting late Romantic and early 20th century music, favoring Bruckner, Debussy, Dvorfak, Ravel, Richard Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and Bach. He was a champion of Rachmaninoff’s music, conducting the premiere of his Symphonic Dances and leading the orchestra in the composer’s own 1939-40 recordings of 3 of his piano concertos. He also directed the US premiere of several Shostakovich symphonies. He also performed much American music and gave many premières of works by Barber, Creston, Diamond, Hanson, Piston, Rorem, Schuman, Sessions, Thomson, and Yardumian.
The Philadelphia Orchestra under Ormandy frequently performed in New York and US cities, and undertook a number of foreign tours. After Ormandy officially retired as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1980, he served as a guest conductor of other orchestras and made a few recordings.
He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Nixon in 1970, was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1976, the Ditson Conductor’s Award for championing American music in 1977, and received Kennedy Center Honors in 1982, amongst other honors and awards.
Frameable signed 4 ½ x 6 yellow autograph album page (in person signature), collector’s identification and 1982 date on bottom edge.
Condition: Very good