Slacker Logo

Eugene Ormandy

ON AIR
Advertisement
Advertisement

Bio

Longtime Philadelphia Orchestra conductor Eugene Ormandy (born Jenó Blau) developed what came to be known as the "Philadelphia Sound." (He groused that it should be called the "Ormandy Sound," even though its fundamentals had already been established during Leopold Stokowski's long tenure with the Philadelphia Orchestra.) Largely as an effort to overcome the dry acoustics of the orchestra's home, the Academy of Music, Ormandy emphasized lush string sonorities and, often, legato phrasing and rounded tone. He was lauded even by his own musicians for his ability to conduct everything from memory, even complex contemporary scores. Still, aside from the voluptuous tone, Ormandy's interpretations rarely bore an individual stamp. They were, however, highly polished, intelligently balanced, and well paced, always serving the scores honorably, and often with a dash of controlled excitement. Ormandy initially studied violin with his father, and entered Budapest's Royal Academy of Music at age 5, falling under the tutelage of Jenö Hubay at 9. He received a teacher's certificate at 17, and served as concertmaster of the Blüthner Orchestra in Germany, also giving recitals and performing as a concerto soloist. He moved to the United States in 1921 (taking citizenship in 1927), lured by the promise of a lucrative concert tour. That tour fell through, though, and Ormandy was forced to make ends meet by taking a back-desk job with the Capitol Theater Orchestra in New York City, accompanying silent films. Ormandy soon advanced to the position of concertmaster, and made his conducting debut there in September 1924 when the regular conductor fell ill. By 1926 he was named the orchestra's associate music director, and made extra money conducting light classics on the radio. Important debuts soon followed: he conducted the New York Philharmonic at Lewisohn Stadium in 1929, and the following year became guest conductor of the Robin Hood Dell Orchestra in Philadelphia. On October 30, 1931, came his first performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The following year he was engaged as music director of the Minneapolis Symphony, with which he made several recordings, but he didn't remain long in the Midwest. In 1936 the Philadelphia Orchestra called him back as associate conductor, to share baton duties with Leopold Stokowski, who was being eased out. Ormandy became the orchestra's music director in the autumn of 1938, and held that position for 42 years, until his retirement at the end of the 1979-1980 season (whereupon he was named Conductor Laureate). He led the Philadelphia Orchestra on several national and international tours, including, in 1973, the first appearance of an American symphony orchestra in the People's Republic of China. Ormandy was knighted in 1976 -- Queen Elizabeth II's way of observing the American bicentennial. Ormandy was always a proficient, well-prepared conductor, but he was most comfortable in Romantic and post-Romantic music; especially noteworthy were his performances and recordings of Richard Strauss and Sergei Rachmaninov. He established an especially close professional relationship with the latter in the 1930s, and premiered his Symphonic Dances. Ormandy also led the first performances of many works by American composers, and gave the U.S. premieres of several Shostakovich symphonies, among other works. In 1948 he led the Philadelphia Orchestra in the first symphony concert broadcast on American TV, beating Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony by 90 minutes. Ormandy and the orchestra recorded extensively for Columbia and RCA, especially during the stereo LP era; their discography ranged from the first recording of Shostakovich's thorny Symphony No. 4 to "easy listening" treatments of recent movie music, harking back to his nights in the Capitol Orchestra.
Read All Read Less

Albums by
Eugene Ormandy

false

    5 songs

    On Air

    Strauss Waltzes: Basic 100 Volume 6

    19 songs

    On Air

    Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake; Adam: Giselle; Meyerbeer: The Skaters

    14 songs

    On Air

    The Glorious Sound of Christmas

    13 songs

    On Air

    Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker (Highlights)

    8 songs

    On Air

    Respighi: The Fountains Of Rome/The Pines Of Rome

    6 songs

    On Air

    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture / Marche slave

    5 songs

    On Air

    Mahler: Symphony No. 10 [Performing Version by Deryck Cooke]

    8 songs

    On Air

    Viennese Waltzes and Polkas

    8 songs

    On Air

    Johann Strauss, Jr. Super Hits

    5 songs

    On Air

    The Fantastic Philadelphians

    9 songs

    On Air

    Beethoven: Greatest Hits

    4 songs

    On Air

    Bruckner: Symphony No. 5

    4 songs

    On Air

    Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 "Romantic"

    32 songs

    On Air

    Handel: Messiah

    19 songs

    On Air

    Ormandy Conducts Philadelphia Orchestra

    13 songs

    On Air

    Blaue Donau u.a.

    13 songs

    On Air

    Walzer & Polkas

    8 songs

    On Air

    Strauss: Wiener Walzer

    14 songs

    On Air

    Remember

    15 songs

    On Air

    30 Great Conductors - Eugene Ormandy, Vol. 23

    15 songs

    On Air

    Magnificent Marches

    14 songs

    On Air

    Strauss: Valses Et Polkas

    19 songs

    On Air

    Joy to the World

    18 songs

    On Air

    Joy to the World

See All Albums

Artists Related to
Eugene Ormandy

On Air

Robert DeCormier

On Air

Peter Matz

On Air

John Gary

On Air

Jimmy Boyd

On Air

Mabel Scott

On Air

Charles Brown

On Air

David Towse

On Air

Heitor dos Prazeres