Kostelanetz, Andréhighly successful Russian-born American conductor, uncle of Richard Kostelanetz; b. St. Petersburg, Dec. 22, 1901; d. Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 13, 1980. He studied at the St. Petersburg Cons. In 1922 he went to the U.S., becoming a naturalized American citizen (1928). He came to prominence as a conductor on the radio; appeared regularly with the CBS Sym. Orch. (from 1930); later enjoyed tremendous success with his own orch. on radio and recordings, making the lush “Kostelanetz sound” and arrangements his trademark. He marriedLily Pons in 1938, but they subsequently were divorced. During World War II, he conducted many concerts for the U.S. armed forces. He later appeared as a guest conductor with leading orchs. in North America, Europe, Israel, and Japan. He also conducted popular concerts in America and in Europe; made successful arrangements of light music, his technique of massive concentration of instrumental sonorities and of harmonic saturation by means of filling in harmonies with inner thirds and sixths having influence upon film music. An intelligent musician, he commissioned special works from American composers, of which the most successful was Copland’s Lincoln Portrait. With G. Hammond, he wrote Echoes: Memoirs of André Kostelanetz (N.Y., 1981).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire
KOSTELANETZ, ANDRÉ (1901–1980), conductor, pianist, and composer. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Kostelanetz gave his first piano recital at the age of five. In 1920 he became assistant conductor and choirmaster of the Petrograd Grand Opera. He left Russia for the United States in 1922, and served as an operatic coach and accompanist. Later, Kostelanetz entered commercial broadcasting, and from 1931 became renowned for his arrangements of light classical and popular compositions, performed by his own orchestra. He married the soprano Lily Pons.