Leopold Stokowski



Born: Apr 18, 1882; England   Died: Sep 13, 1977; England  
Leopold Anthony Stokowski, one of the true conducting luminaries of the twentieth century, was born in London in 1882. His father was Polish, his mother Irish, but he was raised as an Englishman. His famous, vaguely foreign, accent somehow appeared later in his life. The young Stokowski was a precocious musician, and as a child learned to play the violin, piano, and organ with apparently little effort. At the age of 13, he became the youngest Read more person to have been admitted to the Royal College of Music.
By 18, Stokowski had been appointed organist and choirmaster at St. James', Piccadilly. He attended Queen's College, Oxford, receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in 1903. He moved to the United States in 1905, but returned to Europe each summer for further musical studies in Berlin, Munich, and Paris. When a conductor fell ill in Paris in 1908, he made his debut as an emergency substitute. The impression he made led to a position with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in which he quickly achieved notable success. However, a more tempting prospect faced him when he was asked to take over the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1912. It was during his long and fruitful association with this ensemble that Stokowski established himself as one of the leading musicians of his day.
Stokowski gave the orchestra an entirely new sound, popularly known as the "Philadelphia Sound" or the "Stokowski Sound." Its foundation was a luxuriant, sonorous tone and an exacting attention to color. He pioneered the use of "free" bowing, which produced a rich, homogenized string tone. A relentless innovator, Stokowski experimented with orchestral seating, famously lining up the string basses across the rear of the stage and, in an early instance, massing all the violins on the left side of the orchestra and the cellos on the right. He also had spotlights directed on his hands and his impressively prominent hair to enhance his dramatic, theatrical aura. One of the first modern conductors to give up the use of the baton, Stokowski employed graceful, almost hypnotic, hand gestures to work his magic.
Indeed, Stokowski was the first conductor to become a true superstar. He was regarded as something of a matinee idol, an image aided by his appearances in such films as the Deanna Durbin spectacle One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937) and, most famously, as the flesh-and-blood leader of the Philadelphia Orchestra in Walt Disney's animated classic Fantasia (1940). In one memorable instance, he appears to be talking to the cartoon figure of Mickey Mouse, the "star" of a sequence featuring Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice. In a clever parody, when the slumbering apprentice dreams of himself directing the forces of Nature with the masterful sweep of his hands, Disney artists copied Stokowski's own conducting gestures.
Following his tenure in Philadelphia, Stokowski directed several other ensembles, including the All-American Youth Orchestra (which he founded), the NBC Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic (both as co-conductor), the Houston Symphony Orchestra (1955-1960), and the American Symphony Orchestra, which he organized in 1962. He continued to make concert appearances and studio recordings of both standard works and unusual repertoire (including the first performance and recording of Charles Ives' decades-old Symphony No. 4) well into his nineties. He made his last public appearance as conductor in Venice in 1975, remaining active in the recording studio through 1977. He died on September 13, 1977, in Nether Wallop, Hampshire, England. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 162 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Gustav Mahler Edition
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 14000 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 21
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Carl Maria von Weber
    Performer:  Jard van Nes,  Charlotte Margiono,  Dennis Egan,  Helen Watts  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter,  Bernard Haitink,  Jascha Horenstein,  Klaus Tennstedt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Saxony State Opera Chorus Dresden,  Dresden Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $98.99
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  • 2.
    Holst, Schoenberg, Bartok & Loeffler: Orchestral Works / Stokowski
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 158 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Charles Martin Loeffler,  Béla Bartók
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Roger Wagner Chorale Women,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Leopold Stokowski Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Tchaikovsky: Nutracker Suite, Capriccio italien, Polonaise & Waltz / Stokowski
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 186229 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Anna Moffo: The Complete RCA Recital Albums
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 503223 Release Date: 01/15/2016   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Anna Moffo,  Robert Kerns,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Alberta Alberti  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Leopold Stokowski,  René Leibowitz,  Fernando Previtali  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  American Symphony Orchestra,  RCA Italian Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    Stokowski - Gala Night at the Opera - 1962
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2410 Release Date: 01/05/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Spoken Word,  Richard Wagner,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Alexander Borodin  ... 
    Performer:  George London,  Birgit Nilsson
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
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  • 6.
    Glenn Gould Remastered: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503222 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 81
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Elizabeth Benson-Guy,  Donald Gramm,  Charles Bressler  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Walter Susskind,  Vladimir Golschmann,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  CBC Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Symphonia String Quartet  ... 
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  • 7.
    Britten: Piano Concerto; Enescu: Rumanian Rhapsody No. 1; Borodin: Dances Of The Polovetzki Maidens; Debussy: The Engulfed Cathedral; Bauer: Sun Splen
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2419 Release Date: 06/02/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Enescu,  Alexander Borodin,  Claude Debussy,  Marion Bauer  ... 
    Performer:  Jacques Abram
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
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  • 8.
    Camilla Wicks: Five Decades Of Treasured Performances
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1282 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms,  Maria Theresia Paradis,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Camilla Wicks,  Robert Levin,  Horace Martinez,  Martin Katz  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Busch,  Ari Rasilainen,  William Steinberg,  Leopold Stokowski  ... 
    CD: $58.99
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  • 9.
    Rachmaninov: Complete RCA Recordings
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88843073922 Release Date: 04/28/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Fritz Kreisler,  Natalie Rachmaninov,  Nadezhda Plevitskaya
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski,  Eugene Ormandy,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 10.
    CD Premieres of their Rarest 78 RPM Recordings / Stokowski / All-American Youth Orchestra
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1287 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ottokar Novácek,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Henry Cowell
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    CD: $44.49
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  • 11.
    Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1; Vaughan Williams: Fantasia On A Theme By Thomas Tallis
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2415 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Fikret Amirov,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Robert Kurka
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
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  • 12.
    Phase 4 Stereo - Stereo Concert Series
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002188302 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Charles A. Zimmerman,  Francis S. Van Boskerck,  George Norton  ... 
    Performer:  Stanley Black,  David Parkhouse,  Alan Loveday,  Robert Merrill  ... 
    Conductor:  Rodney Bashford,  Stanley Black,  Bernard Herrmann,  Edward Downes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grenadier Guards Band,  London Festival Orchestra,  London Festival Recording Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 13.
    Stokowski: Live From The Proms
    Label: Cameo Classics   Catalog: 9007 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    CD: $18.99
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  • 14.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Music
    Label: Cameo Classics   Catalog: 9022 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
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  • 15.
    Rimsky-korsakov: Scheherazade; Tchaikovsky: Romeo And Juliet
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2403 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    CD: $14.99
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  • 16.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 20 & 24; The Marriage Of Figaro Overture; Sleigh Ride; Turkish March
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2405 Release Date: 05/20/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Maria Isabella De Carli,  Ezra Rachlin
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
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  • 17.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection, Vol. 1
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 541497 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Jacques Ibert,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Berj Zamkochian,  John Weicher,  Philip Farkas,  Jascha Heifetz  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Fritz Reiner,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Arthur Fiedler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  New England Conservatory Alumni Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $125.98
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  • 18.
    Glenn Gould Plays Beethoven
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7685272 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
    Conductor:  Vladimir Golschmann,  Leonard Bernstein,  Leopold Stokowski
    CD: $22.99
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  • 19.
    Music For Pleasure [wienerworld]
    Label: Wienerworld   Catalog: 1367 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Dieter Goldmann,  Vladimir Horowitz,  Michael Conn,  Eugen D'Albert  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Macci,  Alberto Lizzio,  Leopold Stokowski,  Anton Nanut  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hyacinthe Eléonore Klosé
    CD: $14.99
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  • 20.
    Stokowski - Brahms Wagner 1960
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2402 Release Date: 12/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 21.
    Mahler: Symphony No. 8
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2013008 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Frances Yeend,  Carlos Alexander,  Uta Graf,  Camilla Williams  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    CD: $12.99
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  • 22.
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 22346 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    On sale! $15.98
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  • 23.
    Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps (10 Reference Recordings)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 546174 Release Date: 05/21/2013   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski,  Igor Stravinsky,  Pierre Monteux,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 24.
    Gunther Raphael, Vol. 4: Sinfonische Werke
    Label: Querstand   Catalog: 1221 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Günter Raphael
    Conductor:  Herbert Kegel,  Leopold Stokowski,  Rolf Reinhardt,  Carl Schuricht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    Schoenberg: Gurrelieder, Verklarte Nacht / Stokowski And His Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2388 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg
    Performer:  John Lanigan,  Gré Brouwenstijn,  Nell Rankin,  James McCracken  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leopold Stokowski Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $25.98
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