Leopold Stokowski Poster


Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (5) | Trivia (28)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 18 April 1882Marylebone, London, England, UK
Date of Death 13 September 1977Nether Wallop, Hampshire, England, UK  (heart attack)
Birth NameLeopold Anthony Stokowski

Mini Bio (2)

Flamboyant, latterly white-maned, U.S. conductor known best for his popularization of classical music. (He is also known for teaching 'Mickey Mouse' a few things about music in Walt Disney's Fantasia (1940), in which Stokowski was featured with the Philadelphia Orchestra). He was a pioneer in the use of hi-fi sound and bringing great music to the screen.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Bill Takacs < kinephile@aol.com>

Leopold Stokowski, the most flamboyant conductor of the 20th century, was as famous for his flashy effects as for his music-making. Although always acclaimed as technically a great conductor, he was, until recently, looked down on by intellectuals and ultraserious critics as a conductor who often cheapened the music for popular acceptance, as opposed to conductors like Toscanini. He would re-orchestrate great masterpieces often, making Bach sound as if he had written his works in the style of Tchaikovsky, and he would often cut even short works and rewrite their endings. But he was also a pioneer in the use of hi-fi-sound and in bringing great music to the screen, and today there is a new respect for his orchestrations and the rich sound he got from his orchestras.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Albert Sanchez Moreno <a.moreno@mindspring.com>

Spouse (3)

Gloria Vanderbilt (21 April 1945 - 1955) (divorced) (2 children)
Evangeline Brewster Johnson (1926 - 1937) (divorced) (2 children)
Olga Samaroff (1911 - 1923) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (5)

He never conducted with a baton
He would ensure that, at his concerts, his face was lit so that its shadow appeared onthe wall.
Massive mane of white hair
Faux-Eastern European accent
The richest, most voluptuous sound from an orchestra that a conductor could possibly get.

Trivia (28)

Is generally regarded as being the first conductor to seat the first and second violins together, which has become part of the standard seating plan used by most orchestras today.
Signed a recording contract at the age of 94 which would have kept him active until he turned 100 (he died a year later).
Was always experimenting with different orchestral seating plans.
Founded the New York City Symphony in 1944.
Served as music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra from 1955 to 1961.
Founded the American Symphony Orchestra in New York, a training orchestra for young musicians, in 1962.
Founded the All America Youth Symphony in 1940.
Pictured on one of a set of eight 32¢ US commemorative postage stamps in the Legends of American Music series, issued 12 September 1997, celebrating "Classical Composers & Conductors". Others honored in this issue are Arthur Fiedler, George Szell, Eugene Ormandy, Samuel Barber, Ferde Grofé Sr., Charles Ives, and Louis Moreau Gottschalk.
Spoofed in the Bugs Bunny cartoon Long-Haired Hare (1949).
Made his long past due debut with the Metropolitan Opera conducting Puccini's "Turandot" in 1961, and he made that debut with a cast on his foot. He had suffered a broken foot two weeks earlier playing a vigorous game of touch football with his sons by third wife 'Gloria Vanderbilt'. The boys, at the time, were 9 and 11 years old. Stokowski was 78.
He was, until the era of Leonard Bernstein, one of the most popular, as well as one of the best, conductors of the 20th century. His radio work and recordings made him, along with conductor Arturo Toscanini, a household name, even among those who had never attended a classical concert. A concert was often promoted by simply "Stokowski" and the date.
A chance meeting with Walt Disney at Chasen's resulted in the two men agreeing to have dinner together. Disney outlined his plans to do "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and other projects combining classical music with animation. Disney was surprised when he responded with "I would like to conduct that for you". To have the prominent conductor volunteer for the project was an opportunity that Disney couldn't pass up. The project expanded into a number of shorts that would be combined into the "Concert Feature". While considering a number of better titles for the project, it was Stokowski himself who suggested the musical term "fantasia", which means "a musical composition without a strict form" - a perfect title for a film with music and no plot.
One of the greatest conductors of the 20th Century, famed for introducing many composers into the orchestral repertoire, the Maestro was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His star, for his achievements in the Recording Indusry, is located at 1600 Vine St.
Conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1912 until 1938, returning in 1940 to conduct it for Walt Disney's classic film, Fantasia (1940).
He was responsible for making the Philadelphia Orchestra into one of the great orchestras of the world. It was completely unknown before he began conducting it, and by the 1920s, he had already made it world famous. It was Stokowski who first gave the orchestra the rich, lush sound for which it was known.
One of his greatest concerns was achieving the ultimate fidelity in sound reproduction. He was experimenting with stereophonic sound as far back as 1931, long before Herbert von Karajan ever did. His first great achievement in the field was the musical soundtrack for Walt Disney's "Fantasia", in which he conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra. The film used what we would now probably consider a very primitive kind of stereo, much more so than the stereophonic sound first marketed on audio tape in 1954 and on LPs in 1958, but it was a true breakthrough in its time.
Spoofed in Hollywood Steps Out (1941).
Spoofed in Slick Hare (1947).
He was able to duplicate the rich sound he got from the Philadelphia Orchestra with virtually every other orchestra that he conducted.
All born after his death, he has two granddaughters and one grandson by his son Stan Stokowski (with third wife Gloria Vanderbilt ): Aurora (born March 1983), Abra (born c. 1986) and Myles (born 1998).
Father of Leopold Stanislaus "Stan" Stokowski, Jr. (born 1950) and Christopher Stokowski (born 1952) by third wife Gloria Vanderbilt.
Once claimed that his birth name was Leopold Stokes.
Granduncle of George Hickenlooper.
Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra 1909-1912.
He was memorably satirized in the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Long-Haired Hare", when Bugs, wearing a white hairpiece, enters a concert auditorium through the orchestra pit and the players exclaim, one by one, "Leopold! Leopold! Leopold!" He is given a baton, which he promptly breaks (deliberately), and begins to conduct using Stokowski-like gestures.
Made the first U.S. recording ever of Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony", for RCA Victor.
Friz Freleng's 1937 cartoon She Was an Acrobat's Daughter (1937) features a canine caricature of him called "Stickoutski".

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