Eugene Ormandy

Eugene Ormandy

Eugene Ormandy (born Jenő Blau; November 18, 1899 – March 12, 1985) was a Hungarian-born conductor and violinist, best known for his association with the Philadelphia Orchestra, as its music director. The maestro's 44-year association with the orchestra is one of the longest enjoyed by any conductor with a single orchestra. Under his baton, the Philadelphia Orchestra had three gold records and won two Grammy Awards.

Eugene Ormandy's many recordings spanned the acoustic to the electrical to the digital age. From 1936 until his death, Ormandy made hundreds of recordings with the Philadelphia Orchestra, spanning almost every classical music genre. Writing in Audoin (1999), Richard Freed wrote: "Ormandy came about as close as any conductor anywhere to recording the "Complete Works of Everybody," with more than a few works recorded three and four times to keep up with advances in technology and/or to accommodate a new soloist or to commemorate a move to a new label."

Thomas Frost, the producer of many of Ormandy's recordings for Columbia Records, called Ormandy "...the easiest conductor I've ever worked with — he has less of an ego problem than any of them... Everything was controlled, professional, organized. We recorded more music per hour than any other orchestra ever has."[citation needed] In one day, March 11, 1962, Ormandy and the Philadelphia recorded Sibelius's Symphony No. 1; the Semyon Bogatyryov arrangement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 7 (for which Ormandy had given the Western hemisphere premiere performance); and Delius's On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring.

The orchestra's performing venue at the Academy of Music (Philadelphia) was seldom employed for recording, because record producers believed that its dry acoustics were less than ideal. Moreover, Ormandy felt that the remodeling of the Academy of Music in the mid-1950s had ruined its acoustics. The Philadelphia Orchestra instead recorded in the ballroom of Philadelphia's Broadwood Hotel/Philadelphia Hotel, the Philadelphia Athletic Club at Broad and Race Streets, and in Town Hall/Scottish Rite Cathedral on North Broad Street near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The latter venue featured a 1692 seat auditorium with bright resonant acoustics that made for impressive-sounding "high fidelity" recordings. A fourth venue was the Old Metropolitan Opera House used for later EMI recording sessions.

Ormandy recorded for RCA Victor in Minneapolis (in 1934 and 1935), and continued with the label until 1942, when an American Federation of Musicians ban on recordings caused the Philadelphia Orchestra to switch to Columbia, which had reached an agreement with the union in 1944, before RCA did so. Among his first recordings for Columbia was a spirited performance of Borodin's Polovtsian Dances. Ormandy conducted his first stereophonic recordings in 1957; these were not the orchestra's first stereo recordings because Leopold Stokowski had conducted experimental sessions in the early 1930s and multi-track recordings for the soundtrack of Walt Disney's 1940 feature film Fantasia. In 1968, Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra returned to RCA; among their first projects was a new performance of Tchaikovsky's Sixth symphony, the Pathetique.

Ormandy was also famous for being an unfailingly sensitive concerto collaborator. His recorded legacy includes collaborations with Arthur Rubinstein, Claudio Arrau, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vladimir Horowitz, Rudolf Serkin, David Oistrakh, Isaac Stern, Leonard Rose, Itzhak Perlman, Emil Gilels, Van Cliburn, Emanuel Feuermann, Robert Casadesus, Yo-Yo Ma, Sergei Rachmaninoff and others.

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Eugene Ormandy

Eugene Ormandy

Eugene Ormandy (born Jenő Blau; November 18, 1899 – March 12, 1985) was a Hungarian-born conductor and violinist, best known for his association with the Philadelphia Orchestra, as its music director. The maestro's 44-year association with the orchestra is one of the longest enjoyed by any conductor with a single orchestra. Under his baton, the Philadelphia Orchestra had three gold records and won two Grammy Awards.

Eugene Ormandy's...

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23 albums
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SIBELIUS A Collection of Shorter Works
Recorded 1930-41
Total duration: 73:44

Featuring various orchestras conducted by:
Beecham, Heward, Kajanus, Koussevitzky, Ormandy
plus chamber music recordings featuring:
Emil Telmanyi
and Louis Jensen

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MOZART Symphony No. 35 'Haffner'
MOZART Symphony No. 40
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 20

Recorded 1949-51
Total duration: 67:57

London Philharmonic Orchestra,
conducted by Eduard van Beinum
conducted by Eric Kleiber
Rudolf Serkin,
piano
Philadelphia Orchestra
conducted by Eugene Ormandy

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SCHUMANN Cello Concerto
DVORAK Cello Concerto (stereo recording) 
Studio and Live Recordings · 1953 and 1960
Total duration: 64:30

Pablo Casals, cello
Prades Festival Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy
Festival Casals Orchestra of Puerto Rico, Alexander Schneider


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BLOCH Schelomo
R. STRAUSS Don Quixote

Recorded in 1940
Total duration: 58:08

Emanuel Feuermann, cello
The Philadelphia Orchestra
conducted by Leopold Stokowski and Eugene Ormandy

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GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue
GERSHWIN Preludes Nos. 2 & 3

Recorded in 1945
Total duration 17:05

Oscar Levant, Piano
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Conducted by Eugene Ormandy

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LALO Symphonie espagnole
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto
DVOŘÁK Violin Concerto

Recorded 1936-47
Total duration: 66:17

Nathan Milstein, violin

The Philadelphia Orchestra
conducted by Eugene Ormandy

Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York
conducted by Arturo Toscanini
conducted by Leopold Stokowski