Vernon Duke

Biography

Born: October 10, 1903; Parafianovka, Russian Empire   Died: January 16, 1969; Santa Monica, CA  
Vernon Duke was among the most popular composers of the Depression era, scoring a series of hits including the standards "April in Paris," "Autumn in New York," and "I Can't Get Started"; under his real name Vladimir Dukelsky, he also enjoyed a concurrent career in classical music. Born October 10, 1903, in Parafianovo, Russia, he was raised in Kiev, and at age 11 was admitted to the Kiev Conservatory, studying composition under Reinhold Gliere Read more and theory under Boleslaw Jaworski. Civil unrest forced the Dukelsky family to flee Russia in 1919, and after spending some 18 months in Constantinople, they settled in New York City in 1921. There, Dukelsky befriended George Gershwin, who suggested he Americanize his name to Vernon Duke; although he made the change for the Gershwin-inspired pop material he began writing at that same time, the composer retained his given name for his more ambitious musical projects as well as his poetry.

Duke settled in Paris in 1924, receiving a commission from Serge Diaghilev to compose the ballet Zephyr and Flora, which premiered the following year; although his "First Symphony" was performed in 1928 by Serge Koussevitzky and his orchestra, he spent much of the latter half of the decade in London, writing for the musical stage. Duke returned to New York in 1929 and began writing for Broadway, teaming with lyricist Yip Harburg to score his first major pop hit with "April in Paris," from the 1932 musical Walk a Little Faster. He authored his own lyrics for "Autumn in New York," from 1934's Thumbs Up, and that same year also penned "I Like the Likes of You" and "What Is There to Say" for the Ziegfeld Follies, to whom he later contributed "I Can't Get Started," "An Island in the West Indies," and "That Moment of Moments" as well. In the meantime, as Dukelsky he continued working on ballets (1934's Jardin Public, from a scenario by André Gide), concertos ("Dédicaces [Posviashcheniia]"), and oratories ("The End of St. Petersburg," perhaps his most challenging composition).

Duke's greatest commercial success followed with the 1940 Broadway premiere of Cabin in the Sky, an all-black musical choreographed by George Balanchine; Ethel Waters introduced the production's most famous number, "Taking a Chance on Love." Two years later, Duke entered the U.S. Navy, but after the war his career floundered, and in 1946 he returned to Paris before settling in California two years later. In 1952, he collaborated on the musical Two's Company with Ogden Nash, and in 1957 married singer Kay McCracken. Five years later, Duke published his first book of poetry, Epistles; his memoir Passport to Paris appeared several years earlier, and he additionally published dozens of articles in both English and Russian. 1966's "Anima Eroica (Ode to St. Brigitte)" was Duke's last major completed work; he died during a lung cancer operation on January 16, 1969. ~ Jason Ankeny Read less
Browse 1-24 of 24 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Label: Ps Classics   Catalog: 1526 Release Date: 06/16/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vernon Duke
    Performer:  Clay Ruede,  Richard Brice,  Martin Agee,  Charlie Pillow  ... 
    Conductor:  Scott Dunn
    On sale! $16.97
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  • 2.
    Two's Company / Original Broadway Cast
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 508759 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vernon Duke
    Performer:  David Burns,  Hiram Sherman,  Peter Kelley,  Bette Davis  ... 
    Conductor:  Milton Rosenstock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Vernon Duke: Violin Concerto / Darvarova, Dunn
    Label: Urlicht   Catalog: 5990 Release Date: 12/02/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vernon Duke
    Performer:  Elmira Darvarova,  Scott Dunn,  Kim Laskowski
    Conductor:  Scott Dunn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Got A Little Rhythm / Amy Burton,  Patrick Mason
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9430 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Fred Hersch,  Cole Porter,  Jerome Kern  ... 
    Performer:  Amy Burton,  Patrick Mason,  John Musto
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  • 5.
    Virgins, Vixens & Viragos / Susan Graham
    Label: Onyx   Catalog: 4105 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Hector Berlioz,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Susan Graham,  Malcolm Martineau
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  • 6.
    Let's Dance / Eckert, United States Air Force Band
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: ALT61652 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Mancini,  John LaBarbera,  Arthur Johnston,  Edward "Duke" Ellington  ... 
    Conductor:  Joe Eckert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  United States Air Force Band Airmen of Note
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  • 7.
    Music & Painters - Music Of The Era Of Monet, Chagall, Courbet & Picasso
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5283 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Ernest Chausson  ... 
    Performer:  Anne Gastinel,  Daniel Blumenthal,  Marie-Nicole Lemieux,  Noel Lee  ... 
    Conductor:  Dmitry Yablonsky,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Alain Lombard,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kasbek Ensemble,  Russian State Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Orchestra  ... 
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  • 8.
    Sweet Bye And Bye / 2011 Studio Cast
    Label: Ps Classics   Catalog: 1198 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vernon Duke
    Performer:  Georgia Engel,  Rebecca Luker,  Telly Leung,  Graham Rowat  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Stern
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  • 9.
    April In Paris / Coleman Hawkins
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61063 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johnny Green,  Coleman Hawkins,  Vernon Duke,  Harlan Thompson  ... 
    Performer:  Coleman Hawkins
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  • 10.
    Seasons… Dreams / Anne Akiko Meyers
    Label: eOne   Catalog: 7780 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Richard Wagner,  Gene Pritsker,  Vernon Duke  ... 
    Performer:  Emmanuel Ceysson,  Reiko Uchida,  Anne Akiko Meyers
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  • 11.
    The Indispensable Coleman Hawkins - Body And Soul
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 66495 Release Date: 09/02/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas "Fats" Waller,  Don Redman,  Red McKenzie,  James P. Johnson  ... 
    Performer:  Coleman Hawkins
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  • 12.
    Ruby Braff - This Is My Lucky Day
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 6456 Release Date: 08/19/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Walter Donaldson,  Donald Heywood,  Vernon Duke,  Irving Berlin  ... 
    Performer:  Dick Hafer,  Steve Jordan,  Pee Wee Russell,  Ruby Braff  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ruby Braff Octet,  Ruby Braff Sextet
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  • 13.
    Roots - My Life, My Song / Jessye Norman
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 764263 Release Date: 06/15/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Edward "Duke" Ellington,  Billy Strayhorn,  Thelonious Monk  ... 
    Performer:  Jessye Norman
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  • 14.
    Love And The Dickens - Richard Pearson Thomas / Muriello, Thomas
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1007 Release Date: 03/04/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Rodgers,  Cole Porter,  George Gershwin,  Vernon Duke  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Pearson Thomas,  John Muriello
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  • 15.
    That's Entertainment III
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 55215 Release Date: 12/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Irving Berlin,  Harry Warren,  Vernon Duke,  Nacio Herb Brown  ... 
    Performer:  Judy Garland,  Howard Keel,  Betty Hutton,  Lena Horne  ... 
    Conductor:  John Mauceri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
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  • 16.
    American Classics - Duke: Piano And Cello Concertos, Etc / Yablonsky, Magill, Dunn, Russian Philharmonic
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559286 Release Date: 11/20/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vernon Duke
    Performer:  Scott Dunn,  Samuel Magill
    Conductor:  Dmitry Yablonsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Stardust - Rodgers, Gershwin, Sondheim / Utterback
    Label: Connoisseur Society   Catalog: 4253 Release Date: 08/30/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Carlos Jobim,  Bill Evans,  George Duning,  Frankie Laine  ... 
    Performer:  Joe Utterback
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  • 18.
    Serious Fun ! - Berners, Nicholas, Baker/ Applebaum, Hamelin
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 744 Release Date: 06/28/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Nathaniel Baker,  Tom Lehrer,  Peter Winkler,  Stephen Sondheim  ... 
    Performer:  Jody Karin Applebaum,  Marc-André Hamelin
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  • 19.
    Gemini - Menuhin & Grappelli Play Gershwin, Berlin, Etc
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 86230 Release Date: 02/15/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Jack Strachey,  David Raksin,  Vernon Duke  ... 
    Performer:  Denny Wright,  Ike Isaacs,  Lennie Bush,  Alan Clare  ... 
    Conductor:  Max Harris,  Nelson Riddle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Instrumental Ensemble,  Alan Clare Trio
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  • 20.
    Historic Two-piano Wizardry - Morley & Gearhart Rediscovered
    Label: Ivory Classics   Catalog: 72004 Release Date: 09/18/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Egbert Anson Van Alstyne,  John Waldo Green,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Zoltán Kodály  ... 
    Performer:  Virginia Morley,  Livingston Gearhart
    On sale! $34.98
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  • 21.
    Merit - Trio America Vol 4 - Luening, Et Al / Mirecourt Trio
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 4952 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lloyd Rogers,  Vernon Duke,  Thomas Benjamin,  Otto Luening
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mirecourt Trio
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  • 22.
    Bennett: I Never Went Away
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 5001 Release Date: 12/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Irving Berlin,  Ray Henderson,  Nathaniel Davis Ayer,  Richard Rodney Bennett  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Rodney Bennett
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  • 23.
    I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues / Eileen Farrell
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47255 Release Date: 07/26/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Harold Arlen,  Harry Barris,  Erroll Garner,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell
    Conductor:  Luther Henderson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Luther Henderson Orchestra
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