Stokowski was the role model for today's jet set maestros. Born in North London in 1882, a short distance from what was to become EMI's famous Abbey Road Studios, he started his musical career as organist in St James' Church, Piccadily. He moved to the US in 1905, and ten years later became a naturalized American. He took over the Philadelphia Orchestra (see my article Reflections on the Philadelphia Orchestra), and it was here that he built his reputation as orchestral trainer, contemporary music champion (including the first performance and recording of Charles Ives' Symphony No. 4) , pioneer of new technology, and womaniser. He is remembered for many things, most notably his wonderful recorded legacy, his Bach orchestrations, and his work with Walt Disney on the film Fantasia. Do listen to the audio files that Walt Santner has done us all a great favour by uncovering.
* The biography Leopold Stokowski by Preben Opperby was published by Hippocrene Books in the US and Midas Books in the UK (ISBN 0882546589 & 0859362531) but is now out of print.
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