George Szell: Born June 7, 1897

1978 SPECIAL CITATION for distinguished service to the arts (Posthumous)~
http://clevelandartsprize.org/awardees/george_szell.html
NAXOS: George Szell~ http://www.naxos.com/person/George_Szell_38224/38224.htm

“Szell stories”—tales of his irascibility, hauteur and genius—are still popular when musicians gather to drink and dish after concerts. Pianist Glenn Gould referred to Szell’s “Dr. Cyclops” reputation and nearly walked out of his one and only collaboration with the conductor. (“That nut’s a genius” was Szell’s personal appraisal of Gould.) In 1946, his first year as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, Szell fired 22 of the 94 musicians in the group, and he later dismissed his brilliant principal oboist of almost two decades for a single insubordinate comment at a rehearsal. Most of his players were terrified of him; some frankly despised him. After Szell’s death, one Cleveland violinist refused to cut his hair, letting it grow down to his waist in posthumous rebuke to the martinet who could no longer object.

And yet Szell’s accomplishments in Cleveland cannot be overstated. He summed up his approach succinctly three years before his death. “My aim in developing the Cleveland Orchestra has been to combine the finest virtues of the great European orchestras of pre-World War II times with the most distinguished qualities of our leading American orchestras,” Szell wrote. “We put the American orchestra’s technical perfection, beauty of sound, and adaptability to the styles of various national schools of composers into the service of warmhearted, spontaneous music-making in the best European tradition.” And indeed, such was his legacy.
http://www.gramilano.com/2011/07/conductor-george-szell-was-his-own-worst-enemy-not-while-rudolf-bing-was-alive/

Leopold Stokowski: Born on April 18, 1882

This great conductor was born on 18 April 1882 and died on 13 September 1977. There is much confusion about his life, a lot of it due to his own meddling with his biography, in some ways trying to recreate his life much like it was music. For example, he was not born of Polish and Irish parents as is often stated in notes in discs.
Stokowski’s began his conducting career at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1909, at the young age of 27. Prior to that he had been organist at churches in England and New York. After a few years in Cincinnati, however, Stokowski moved on to the Philadelphia Orchestra and molded it into one of the finest orchestras in the world. In fact, Rachmaninoff claimed that the Philadelphia WAS the finest orchestra in the world.
http://www.classical.net/music/guide/society/lssa/stokybio.php

Stokowski arrived in Los Angeles January 2, 1938 to record the Sorcerer’s Apprentice with a hand-picked orchestra of 85 Hollywood session musicians 3.  These recordings had some technical difficulties as to synchronization, but Stokowski approved them and they were used in the final film.  However, Walt Disney had decided that The Sorcerer’s Apprentice short film needed to be expanded to a full-length movie, in order to be financially viable.  After discussing added musical selections with Stokowski, Disney secured the rights to Le Sacre du Printemps in April, 1938 5.  In December, 1939, Stravinsky visited the Disney studios, and although in later years he was critical of Fantasia, Stravinsky at the time seemed supportive.
Fantasia was issued in 1941 and 1942, and was released again many times over the years, and continues even today to play in some theaters.   It has been widely sold in DVD, in several restored versions.   The music sound track of Fantasia by Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra has never been out of the recording catalogues, since it was first issued by Disney Studios on LP in 1957 in stereo on Disney’s newly-formed record label: “Disneyland Records”.
http://www.stokowski.org/1939_1940_Electrical_Recordings_Stokowski.htm

Mickey

Stokowski sought to combat Nazi propaganda touting the wonders of Hitler youth with an artistic statement from young emissaries of the free world.
But his goal was not entirely selfless, as he seized the opportunity to vent his frustration with RCA, his record company, which had refused to sponsor a Stokowski tour but then launched one with Toscanini, its other star conductor. While his Philadelphia Orchestra remained under exclusive contract to RCA, Stokowski would face no such constraints with an entirely new ensemble. And so he created one, arranged a contract with rival Columbia and then proceeded to cut with his new orchestra many of the works that RCA had wanted him to record.
Announcements for the 1940 troupe generated 15,000 applicants. The finalists were selected through five rounds of local, state, regional and national auditions. The members represented all 48 states and included many women, a rarity in orchestras at the time. Intensive, concentrated rehearsals were followed by tours of the US and South America.
http://www.classicalnotes.net/columns/youthweb.html

Leopold Stokowski was a frequent visitor to the [New York] Philharmonic over the years, appearing with the Orchestra on nearly 200 occasions, taking part in Young People’s Concerts, and, in the 1940s, leading the Orchestra on tour. During the 1949-50 season he shared the position of Principal Conductor with Dimitri Mitropoulos. In his last appearance with the Philharmonic, on February 8, 1969, he led a program of music by Bach and two modern works inspired by him: Lukas Foss’s Phorion, and Rock Variations and Fantasy on a Brandenburg Concerto, written and performed by the New York Rock and Roll Ensemble.
https://nyphil.org/about-us/artists/leopold-stokowski

Arturo Toscanini: Born on March 25, 1867

Perhaps the most internationally famous conductor ever, Toscanini rose to instant stardom when he put down his cello and jumped up to the podium to fill in for the conductor during a performance of Verdi’s opera Aida. It was 1886; he was 19, and it was the first time he’d ever conducted.

The last time he’d conduct a live performance was in 1954, 68 years later. By then, he was the first conductor to have appeared regularly on television, and was certainly considered the first true media star of the conducting world.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89059352

January 25~

Wilhelm Furtwängler (1886-1954)
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/wilhelm-furtw%C3%A4ngler-mn0001786588/biography

Etta James (1938-2012)
http://entertainment.time.com/2012/01/20/a-voice-of-gold-a-life-of-pain-etta-james-1938-2012/

Visual Artist Birthday Quiz for 1/25~ https://schristywolfe.com/2016/01/25/artist-birthday-quiz-for-125/
Answers here~ https://schristywolfe.com/2015/01/25/january-25/