Andre Kostelanetz

Andre and Sarah Kostelanetz (1963)

Andre Kostelanetz (Russian: Абрам Наумович Костелянец, December 22, 1901 – January 13, 1980) was a Russian-born American popular orchestral music conductor and arranger who was one of the major exponents of popular orchestra music.

Biography[]

Abram Naumovich Kostelyanetz was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia to a prominent Jewish family. He was a cousin of physicist Lew Kowarski.[1][2][3]

His father, Nachman Yokhelevich (Naum Ignatyevich) Kostelyanetz was active on the St. Petersburg stock exchange; his maternal grandfather, Aizik Yevelevich Dymshitz, was a wealthy merchant and industrialist, engaged in timber production. Kostelanetz escaped in 1922 after the Russian Revolution.[4]

He arrived in the United States that year, and in the 1920s, conducted concerts for radio. In the 1930s, he began his own weekly show on CBS, Andre Kostelanetz Presents. Kostelanetz was known for arranging and recording light classical music pieces for mass audiences, as well as orchestral versions of songs and Broadway show tunes. He made numerous recordings over the course of his career, which had sales of over 50 million. For many years, he conducted the New York Philharmonic in pops concerts and recordings, in which they were billed as Andre Kostelanetz and His Orchestra.[citation needed]

Kostelanetz may be best known to modern audiences for a series of easy listening instrumental albums on Columbia Records from the 1940s until 1980. Kostelanetz actually started making this music before there was a genre called "easy listening". He continued until after some of his contemporaries, including Mantovani, had stopped recording. Outside the United States, one of his best known works was an orchestral arrangement of the tune "With a Song in my Heart", which was the signature tune of a long-running BBC radio program, at first called Forces Favourites, then Family Favourites, and finally Two Way Family Favourites.[citation needed]

He commissioned many works, including Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait, Jerome Kern's Portrait of Mark Twain, William Schuman's New England Triptych, Paul Creston's Frontiers, Ferde Grofé's Hudson River Suite, Virgil Thomson's musical portraits of Fiorello La Guardia and Dorothy Thompson, Alan Hovhaness's Floating World, and Ezra Laderman's Magic Prison. William Walton dedicated his Capriccio burlesco to Kostelanetz, who conducted the first performance and made the first recording, both with the New York Philharmonic.[5]

His last concert was A Night in Old Vienna with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra at that city's War Memorial Opera House on December 31, 1979.[6][7][4]

Personal life[]

His first wife was actress/singer Sarah Loy; they were married from 1923-37, when the marriage was dissolved. He was then married to soprano Lily Pons from 1938-58, when the marriage was dissolved. They owned a home in Palm Springs, California which was built in 1955.[8] In 1960 he married Sara Gene Orcutt; the marriage lasted several years.[4] All three unions were childless.[9][4]

His brother, Boris Kostelanetz (1911–2006), was a prominent tax defense lawyer.[10]

Death[]

After the December 31, 1979 concert with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Kostelanetz left for a vacation in Haiti. While in Haiti, Kostelanetz contracted pneumonia and died on January 13, 1980, aged 78.[11][4][12]

Discography (partial)[]

It should be noted that many of the early LP releases were actually re-releases of albums released earlier on 78 rpm records. Musical Comedy Favorites, for example, was released as Volume 1 (album M-430) in late 1940 for songs 1 through 8, and Volume 2 (M-502) in 1941 for the remaining 8 songs on the second side of the LP.

References[]

  1. ^ Евгений К (2013-12-14). "Tonkosti zhizni-Письмо от Коварской Евгении Львовны". Kovarski.ru. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  2. ^ "Oral History Transcript — Dr. Lew Kowarski". Aip.org. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  3. ^ "Robert Farnon Society". Rfsoc.org.uk. Archived from the original on 2013-11-03. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Cross, Lucy E. (2015). "Andre Kostelanetz". Masterworks Broadway. Sony Music Entertainment. Retrieved October 5, 2017. 
  5. ^ Liner notes from Musical Evenings: Andre Koselanetz, mfp Classics, CFP 4074.
  6. ^ "Andre Kostelanetz Papers Donated to Library of Congress - News Releases (Library of Congress)". Loc.gov. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  7. ^ "Andre Kostelanetz". Andre Kostelanetz. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  8. ^ Meeks, Eric G. (2012). The Best Guide Ever to Palm Springs Celebrity Homes. Horatio Limburger Oglethorpe. p. 282. ISBN 978-1479328598. 
  9. ^ Rubin, Stephen E. (May 6, 1973). "Andre Kostelanetz‐Middlebrow Toscanini?". New York Times. New York: New York Times. Retrieved October 5, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Boris Kostelanetz, 94, Tax Defense Lawyer for the Notable, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  11. ^ Profile, findagrave.com; accessed October 3, 2015.
  12. ^ Smith, J.Y. (January 15, 1980). "Conductor Andre Kostelanetz, 78, Dies". Washington Post. Washington, DC: Washington Post. Retrieved October 5, 2017. 

Bibliography[]

External links[]