Henri René


Conductor and arranger Henri Rene was born and raised in Germany, where he studied at Berlin's Royal Academy of Music; he emigrated to the U.S. during the mid-1920s, appearing with a series of orchestras before returning to Berlin a few years later to serve as an arranger with a German record label. Rene came back to the States in 1936 to accept the position of musical director with RCA-Victor's international arm; in 1941, he also formed his own orchestra. After serving with the Allied forces in World War II, he returned to RCA to arrange and conduct a variety of classical recordings; during the mid-1950s, he began issuing a series of LPs -- Music for Bachelors, Music for the Weaker Sex, Compulsion to Swing and Riot in Rhythm among them -- that were forerunners of the space-age pop aesthetic. As a producer, Rene also helmed a number of releases for RCA's "Stereo Action" series, as well as Harry Belafonte's 1956 landmark LP Calypso and a handful of Eartha Kitt efforts; he left the label in 1959, working freelance for the remainder of his career.