Orlov, Nikolay (Andreyevich)
(b Elets, Orlov govt., 14/26 Feb 1892; d Grantown-on-Spey, Scotland, 31 May 1964). Russian pianist. He studied at the Gnesin Music School, Moscow, and then at the conservatory with Konstantin Igumnov, from whose class he graduated in 1910. Orlov also studied composition and counterpoint as a private pupil of Taneyev. He gave his first concert in 1912 and in the same year gave the première of Glazunov's First Piano Concerto. He taught in the Moscow Philharmonic School (1913–15) and was a professor at the conservatory (1916–21). From 1921 he lived abroad, giving concerts in eastern and western Europe, Latin America and the USA (début 1926), with particular success in Yugoslavia, Belgium, Poland, Latin America and England. In 1933 he gave a series of Chopin concerts in London; he settled in Britain in 1948. A distinguished artist with an immaculately finished technique, Orlov was particularly successful in achieving poetic tonal effects; his elegant style of playing belonged more to the late 19th century than to the modern Russian school. He was especially noted as an interpreter of Chopin, Schumann and Skryabin.
I.M. YAMPOL'SKY/JAMES METHUEN-CAMPBELL
(b Warsaw, 1811; d Rouen, 11 Feb 1861). Polish violinist, pianist, conductor and composer. He studied at the Warsaw Conservatory (1824–9), where his teachers included Elsner (composition) and Bielawski (violin); in 1830 he left for Paris, where he studied composition with Le Sueur and played violin, viola and timpani in the orchestra of the Théâtre Feydeau. In 1832 he moved to Rouen, where he was a violinist at the Théâtre des Arts; from 1835 to 1837 he conducted the orchestra there, successfully staging Halévy's La Juive and his own opera Le mari de circonstance. While he was highly respected in Rouen as an instrumentalist, conductor and teacher, his compostions aroused less interest. His piano miniatures, particularly the mazurkas, polonaises and waltzes, were modelled on Chopin.
lost unless otherwise stated
Stage: Walka rybołowców [The Battle of the Ospreys] (ballet), Warsaw, 30 Aug 1827; Gertruda w grochu [Gertrude in a Spot] (comic op, F. de Planard), 1831, Rouen, 1836; Le mari de circonstance (comic op, F. de Planard), Rouen, 1836
Inst: Ov., orch, c1838; 2 str qnts; 2 str qts; Pf Trio (Warsaw, 1830); Vn Sonata (Paris, c1833)
Pf: 2 rondeaux brillants, opp.3 and 7 (Paris, c1833); 5 capriccios in the form of a waltz, op.18 (Bonn, before 1843); Mazurka on themes from Chopin’s conc., fantasy and rondo (Warsaw, 1830); Waltz on Chopin’s themes (Warsaw, 1830)
Other pf miniatures and vocal works
‘Antoni Orłowski’, Pamiętnik muzyczny i teatralny, vi (1862), 371–6, 389–93, 417–23, 465–70, 532–7
B.E. Sydow, ed.: Korespondencja Fryderyka Chopina, i (Warsaw, 1955), 30, 116, 120, 135–6, 139, 142–3, 157
Ormandy, Eugene [Blau, Jenő]
(b Budapest, 18 Nov 1899; d Philadelphia,12 March 1985). American conductor of Hungarian birth. He was proficient enough as a violinist to enter the National Hungarian Royal Academy of Music at five, and by the age of seven he was giving concerts. He began studying with Jenő Hubay two years later and graduated with a master’s degree at 14. After performing as leader of the Blüthner Orchestra in Germany and as a soloist on tours of central Europe, he was appointed professor of violin at 17. A concert agent persuaded him to emigrate to New York, but when he finally arrived in 1921 he found work hard to come by. He was forced to suffer the indignity of playing in the back of the orchestra at the Capitol Theatre in New York, but within a year he had graduated to leader. He made his début there when the regular conductor fell ill in September 1924, and was appointed associate music director in 1926. In 1927 he became an American citizen and met Arthur Judson, who helped him find guest conducting work (mostly light music for radio broadcasts) to supplement his activities at the Capitol. Judson brought him to Philadelphia to substitute for an indisposed Toscanini in 1931; this led to his appointment as music director of the Minneapolis SO (1931–6), where he became nationally known through his recordings, including the first-ever recordings of Kodály’s Háry János Suite and Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht. He returned to Philadelphia in 1936 to share the podium with Stokowski for two years, before becoming sole music director for 42 years (1938–80), after which he became conductor laureate. He took the orchestra on numerous transcontinental and international tours, and also appeared as a guest conductor in Europe, Australia, South America and East Asia.
Ormandy was quick to learn new works and usually conducted without baton or score. With a notably fine ear, he built on Stokowski’s voluptuous ‘Philadelphia Sound’ and soon added even greater polish and precision. Philadelphia paid the musicians well so he could afford the best; and, like Stokowski, he worked with them daily, often conducting over 100 concerts a year. Despite the glory he brought to his orchestra and his numerous awards (including an honorary KBE in 1976) and honorary doctorates, critics were always slightly circumspect in their praise. Whether the gloss of the orchestra offended a Puritan streak or the brilliance seemed too easy, his intepretations were often thought to be vulgar or shallow. Ormandy perhaps contributed to this image by playing so much of the late-Romantic and early 20th-century repertory which showed to advantage the lush sound he could command: Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, Strauss, Bruckner, Debussy, Ravel and reorchestrated Bach were his staple fare. He was less successful with Beethoven and Brahms. But he conducted much new music and gave the premières of Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, Bartók’s Piano Concerto no.3 and works by Britten, Hindemith, Martinů, Milhaud, Persichetti and Webern. His large and enterprising discography includes the first recordings of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto no.1 and Symphony no.4, and of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony in the performing version by Deryck Cooke. He also played much American music and gave premières of works by Barber, Creston, Diamond, Ginastera, Hanson, Piston, Rorem, Schuman, Sessions, Thompson and Villa-Lobos.
R. Gelatt: Music Makers (New York, 1953/R)
H.C. Schonberg: The Great Conductors (New York, 1967/R)
H. Kupferberg: Those Fabulous Philadelphians: the Life and Times of a Great Orchestra (New York,1969) [with discography of Philadelphia records]
J.L. Holmes: Conductors: a Record Collector's Guide (London, 1988), 214–17