Grofé, Ferde, (actually, Ferdinand Rudolph Von)

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Grofé, Ferde, (actually, Ferdinand Rudolph Von)

Grofé, Ferde, (actually, Ferdinand Rudolph Von), American composer, arranger, and pianist; b. N.Y., March 27, 1892; d. Santa Monica, Calif., April 3, 1972. He studied with Pietro Floridia. He was a violist in the Los Angeles Sym. Orch. (1909-19); he also played piano in film theaters, ragtime bands, and vaudeville. In 1917 he became an arranger and pianist for Paul Whiteman, for whom he prepared highly successful arrangements of Avalon, Japanese Sandman, and Whispering. His arrangement of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue for Whiteman in 1924 established Grofe’s reputation. After his association with Whiteman ended in 1933, he conducted on the radio (1933-34) and taught at the Juilliard Graduate School in N.Y. (1939-42). In 1944 he won an Academy Award for his score for the film Minstrel Man. of his many light orch. works, he remains best known for his Grand Canyon Suite (1931).


ORCH Mississippi: A Tone Journey (1926); Grand Canyon Suite (Chicago, Nov. 22, 1931); Tabloid Suite (1933); Killarney: An Irish Fantasy (1934); Hollywood Ballet (1935); Symphony in Steel (1935; N.Y, Jan. 19, 1937); Tin Pan Alley:The Melodic Decades (1938); Biography of an American (1943); Atlantic Crossing (1950); Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (1954); Hudson River Suite (1956); Niagara Falls Suite (1960); World’s Fair Suite (1963;N.Y, April 22, 1964); Virginia City: Requiem for a Ghost Town (Virginia City, Nev., Aug. 10, 1968); Piano Concerto (n.d.); pieces for Jazz Band and Brass Band. OTHER: Film scores, including The King of Jazz (1930), Yankee Doodle Rhapsody (1936), Minstrel Man (1944), and Time out of Mind (1946); piano pieces; songs; arrangements.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Grofé, Ferde, (actually, Ferdinand Rudolph Von)

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