André Kostelanetz

Andre Kostelanetz was a Russian-born arranger and conductor who "brought classical music to mass audiences while helping the works of modern composers find their way into the classical repertoire", according to the Washington Post in its obituary following his death in 1980. As well as classic works by composers such as Brahms, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky, his repertoire included orchestral arrangements of pop songs and Broadway show tunes which made him one of the best known conductors in America. He championed contemporary composers including Richard Rodgers, Alan Hovhaness, William Schuman, Virgil Thompson, Paul Creston, Cole Porter and George Gershwin and commissioned such works as Aaron Copland's 'A Lincoln Portrait', Ferde Grofe's 'Hudson River Suite', William Schuman's 'New England Tryptch' and Jerome Kern's 'Mark Twain'. He made a great many recordings including 'New York Wonderland' (1964) which went to number 68 on the Billboard 200, 'Traces' (1969) which reached number 200, 'Sounds of Love' which achieved number 194 and 'Love Story' (1971) number 183. His arrangement and orchestral performance of Lorenz Hart's 'With a Song in My Heart' was used as the theme tune of the BBC Radio show 'Family Favourites' and 'Two-Way Family Favourites' from the 1950s to the 1980s. Born in St. Petersburg to a wealthy family, he studied at the conservatory despite the turmoil of World War I and the Russian Revolution, finally making his way West in a perilous journey to join his already departed family. In New York in the 1920s, he conducted radio orchestras and in the 1930s began his own weekly radio show conducting CBS Symphony Orchestra. For many years he was associated with New York Symphony with whom he established the Promenade summer concerts at Lincoln Center and then Central Park in New York where the audience picnicked and enjoyed music and other entertainment in the 1960s and '70s. He was a guest conductor in concert halls around the world and he made his final appearance in public conducting four concerts with the San Francisco Symphony during the Christmas season in 1979. He died in a hospital in Haiti in January 1980 aged 78.

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Stations Featuring André Kostelanetz

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