20 Facts About Eugene Ormandy


Eugene Ormandy was born on Jeno Blau; November 18,1899 – March 12,1985 and was a Hungarian-born American conductor and violinist, best known for his association with the Philadelphia Orchestra, as its music director.

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Eugene Ormandy's reputation was as a skilled technician and expert orchestral builder.

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Eugene Ormandy was born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary, as Jeno Blau, the son of Jewish parents Benjamin Blau, a dentist and amateur violinist, and Rozalia Berger.

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Eugene Ormandy's father changed his surname to "Ormandi" on March 22,1937, a few weeks before emigrating to the United States.

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At Judson's instigation Eugene Ormandy substituted for the ailing Arturo Toscanini with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1931.

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Eugene Ormandy took the Philadelphia Orchestra on several national and international tours, and appeared as a guest conductor with other orchestras in Europe, Australia, South America and East Asia.

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Eugene Ormandy built on what Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians calls "Stokowski's voluptuous 'Philadelphia Sound'" and added further polish and precision.

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Eugene Ormandy was thought superficial; Toscanini dismissed him as "an ideal conductor of Johann Strauss", and a similar remark is attributed to Igor Stravinsky.

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Donald Peck, principal flute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, reports that a fellow flutist was won over when Eugene Ormandy conducted the Chicago in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony; he told Peck that it was the greatest Ninth he had ever heard.

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Schonberg commented that Eugene Ormandy programmed very little Haydn or Mozart and approached Beethoven "in a rather gingerly manner".

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Eugene Ormandy conducted much less new music than his predecessor, Stokowski, had done, but did not ignore it, and gave the premieres of works including Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, which is dedicated to him and the orchestra, Bartok's Piano Concerto No 3, Britten's Diversions for Piano Left Hand and Orchestra and music by Ginastera, Hindemith, Martinu, Milhaud, Villa-Lobos and Webern.

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Eugene Ormandy did not neglect American composers, and among premieres he gave were works by Samuel Barber, David Diamond, Walter Piston, Ned Rorem, William Schuman, Roger Sessions and Virgil Thomson.

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In 1980, aged 80, Eugene Ormandy retired as chief conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, but has appeared as its conductor laureate.

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Eugene Ormandy died of pneumonia at his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 12,1985, at the age of 85.

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Eugene Ormandy was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II as an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1976, and received of Yale University's Sanford Medal.

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Eugene Ormandy was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1977.

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On 15 May 1950 Eugene Ormandy married Margaret Frances Hiltsch in a civil ceremony in Philadelphia.

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Eugene Ormandy's recording career began with the Minneapolis Symphony for RCA Victor in 1934 and included the first US recordings of symphonies by Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler.

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Eugene Ormandy remained with RCA Victor after becoming music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1938.

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Eugene Ormandy's first digital recording was a performance of Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra for RCA Red Seal in 1979.

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