Leopold Stokowski

Born: 1882
Died: 1977

Born in London, Stokowski is best known for his association with the Philadelphia Orchestra and for his free-hands style of conducting. Stokowski was music director of orchestras including the NBC Symphony and New York Philharmonic, and founded the Hollywood Bowl SO among others. He conducted music for Disney’s Fantasia and was a lifelong champion of contemporary composers. 

Tribute by José Serebrier

When I was 17 Leopold Stokowski premiered my First Symphony as a last-minute replacement for the still-unplayable Fourth Symphony by Charles Ives. He took a big chance because he had invited the world music press to attend the long awaited Ives premiere. It was typical. He was constantly launching new works by composers from all over the world. Very few conductors today take such chances. That habit cost him his position with the Philadelphia Orchestra, when the board got tired of the constant barrage of new music. Stokowski performed more new works than any other musician in history. When I was Stokowski’s Associate Conductor at Carnegie Hall for four years, I observed his instant magic. As soon as he started conducting the sound changed. Early in the history of the gramophone, Stokowski pioneered high-quality recorded sound. He could balance the orchestra by changing the traditional seating patterns. Rehearsal technique was planned like a general going to war. When the Stokowski Society asked me to record his transcriptions I turned it down. They then sent me many contemporary recordings by various conductors and I accepted, recording four volumes with the Bournemouth Symphony, a small tribute to one of my great mentors.

Recommended recording

Tchaikovsky Hamlet

Stadium SO of New York / Stokowski

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£64/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2017