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Leopold Stokowski

Composers

Biography

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
Leopold Stokowski - The Columbia Stereo Recordings
Release Date: 09/11/2012   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 197115   Number of Discs: 10
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Tchaikovsky: Francesca Da Rimini, Serenade / Stokowski, London SO
Release Date: 04/18/2006   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186122   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 192 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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  ... 
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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    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  ... 
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  • 4.
    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
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  • 5.
    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
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  • 6.
    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
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  • 7.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22346 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
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  • 8.
    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  ... 
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  • 9.
    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
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  • 10.
    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
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  • 11.
    Beethoven: The 5 Piano Concertos  / Glenn Gould
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 541288 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
    Conductor:  Vladimir Golschmann,  Leonard Bernstein,  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  American Symphony Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Leopold Stokowski - The Columbia Stereo Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 197115 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Charles Ives  ... 
    Performer:  Shirley Verrett,  Fernando Valenti,  Anshel Brusilow,  William Kincaid  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski,  Gregg Smith
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  American Symphony Orchestra,  Schola Cantorum New York members  ... 
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  • 13.
    The Blue Danube Waltz And Music For Strings / Leopold  Stokowski And His Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2392 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Alexander Borodin,  Niccolò Paganini,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
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  • 14.
    Leopold Stokowski - The Stereo Collection 1954-1975
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 1916852 Release Date: 08/21/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Gustav Mahler,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Anna Moffo,  Martina Arroyo  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Norman Luboff Choir  ... 
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  • 15.
    Stravinsky, Hindemith, Hartmann, Hanson, Harris & Hovhaness / Stokowski
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2379 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Howard Hanson,  Roy Harris,  Paul Hindemith  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra,  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 16.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 059 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
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  • 17.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 087 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
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  • 18.
    Rachmaninov Plays Rachmaninov
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 1918 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Canteloube: Songs of the Auvergne; Villa-Lobos, Rachmaninov / Anna Moffo
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802085 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Canteloube,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Anna Moffo
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Bbc Legends: Stokowski
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 50072 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Otto Klemperer  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Rae Woodland
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Goldsmiths' Choral Union,  BBC Choral Society  ... 
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  • 21.
    Essential Strings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94919 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Luigi Boccherini,  George Frideric Handel,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Maxim Vengerov,  Vag Papian,  Georges Armand,  Jean-Patrice Brosse
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Iona Brown  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Virtuosi,  Twelve Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic
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  • 22.
    Ibert: Divertissement; Escales; Symphonie Marine; Flute Concerto
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94693 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jacques Ibert
    Performer:  Dennis Brain,  Leonard Brain,  Stephen Waters,  Gareth Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Frémaux,  Leopold Stokowski,  Robert Irving,  David Zinman  ... 
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  • 23.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 114 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Aram Khachaturian
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
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  • 24.
    Music Of Spain - Rodrigo, Falla, Albeniz / Williams, Entremont, Ormandy, Stokowski
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64340 Release Date: 04/23/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Manuel de Falla,  Isaac Albeniz,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams,  Shirley Verrett,  Teresa Llacuna,  Philippe Entremont  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Leopold Stokowski,  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
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  • 25.
    Bach By Stokowski
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 95713 Release Date: 04/05/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leopold Stokowski,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
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