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Leopold Stokowski

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Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48 : Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48 - 2. Walzer: Moderato (Tempo di valse) London Symphony Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 03:49
The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71A, Chinese Dance Leopold Stokowski, The Philadelphia Orchestra 01:03
Chopin: Mazurka No. 13 in A Minor, Op. 17 No. 4 London Symphony Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski 05:54
Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48 : Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48 - 3. Elégie: Larghetto elegiaco London Symphony Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 07:09
J.S. Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 (Arr. Stokowski) Czech Philharmonic, Leopold Stokowski 10:17
Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64, TH.29 : Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64, TH.29 - 2. Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza - Moderato con anima New Philharmonia Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski 15:05
12 Pieces, Op. 40, TH.138 - Arr. Stokowski : Tchaikovsky: 12 Pieces, Op. 40, TH.138 - Arr. Stokowski - 6. Chant sans paroles London Symphony Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski 03:17
The Firebird - Suite (1919) : Stravinsky: The Firebird - Suite (1919) - 4. Infernal Dance of King Kaschei London Symphony Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski 04:30
Symphony No. 6 ("Pastoral"), Op. 68, II Andante molto mosso Leopold Stokowski, The Philadelphia Orchestra 06:25
Duparc: Extase David Gray, London Symphony Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski 03:07

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Biography

Charismatic and controversial, Leopold Stokowski had a long and successful career as a conductor who established the Philadelphia Orchestra in America as one of the world's best and achieved lasting fame in the cinema as the arranger of the music used in Walt Disney's animation epic 'Fantasia'. He worked with major orchestras around the world and was founder of both the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra and the American Symphony Orchestra. Known for the sumptuous sound that he drew from his musicians, he was criticised by some for the way he chose to amend composers' orchestrations according to his own taste. He remained a firm favourite, however, among those whose works he introduced successfully in performance and on record such as Mahler, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Rachmaninov, Schoenberg and Varèse.

Born in London of Polish and Irish heritage, he studied at the Royal College of Music from the age of 13, became an assistant church organist and joined the Royal College of Organists. Appointed organist and choir director of St. James's Church in London, he earned a music degree at Oxford and in 1905 moved to New York City as organist and choir director of St. Bartholomew's Church. He conducted the Colonne Orchestra in Paris and the New Symphony Orchestra in London and in 1909 was named conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in Ohio. He began his highly popular association with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1912 and conducted there for 23 seasons with 100 American or world premieres. Among them were Mahler's 'Eighth', 'Symphony of a Thousand', and 'Lied von der Erde', Schoenberg's 'Chamber Symphony No. 1' and 'Gurrelieder', Scriabin's 'Divine Poem' and Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring', 'Song of the Nightingale', 'Les Noces', 'Mavra' and 'Symphonies of Wind Instruments'.

Lauded in Hollywood, he became indelibly linked with Walt Disney with the 1940 release of 'Fantasia' in which celebrated works such as 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice', 'The Nutcracker Suite' and 'Symphony No. 6: Pastoral' were matched by animated images that featured many characters including Mickey Mouse. He continued to lead orchestras in concert and on recordings until he was in his 90s. His album 'Inspiration - Great Music for Chorus and Orchestra' was nominated as Best Gospel Or Other Religious Recording in the 1862 Grammy Awards and his 1965 release, 'Ives: Symphony No. 4' was nominated for Classical Album of the Year, winning for Best Classical Orchestral Performance. 'The World of Charles Ives (Washington's Birthday, Robert Browning Overture)' (1967) and 'Ives: Orchestral Set No. 2' both received Grammy Award nominations and in 1977 he received the Trustees Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Stokowski died following a heart attack at his home in England when he was 95. He made almost 500 recordings in his lifetime and many remain available today.