One of the most faithful and popular conductors of all times would have been 100 today (November 18). Eugene Ormandy, who led the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1938 to 1980, made far more than 100 recordings that are as much in demand as ever. Nostalgics wistfully think back to the soft and round sound of the strings that made the Philadelphia Orchestra world famous. For four decades, Ormandy molded the character of his orchestra. This made Philadelphia a heaven for Ormandy whose career began on a stormy note. Ormandy started late as a conductor. When he was a child, he lived up to his father's expectations, pursuing a career as a violinist. He was promising. At age 17, he was a professor at the Franz Liszt Acadamy in his native Budapest, and at 18, he was concert master at the Bluethner Orchestra in Berlin. However, fate had another plan for him. He was led on by two concert agents, ended up in a pit orchestra for silent movies in New York, traded the violin for a conductor's baton and finally became an American citizen. Georg Hirsch traced back Eugene Ormandy's eventful life.
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