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FERDE GROFE

Ferde Grofé was born Ferdinand Rudolph von Grofé, to Emil and Elsa von Grofé, in New York City on 27 March 1892. Shortly thereafter the family moved to Los Angeles. Ferde Grofé came by his instinct for music quite naturally. His father was a baritone and actor, while his mother was a cellist and music teacher of some note.

In 1906 Grofé left home to work variously as a bookbinder, truck driver, usher, newsboy, elevator operator, lithographer, typesetter and steelworker, studying violin and piano in his spare time. By 1908 he began to take casual musical engagements at lodge dances, parades and picnics and in 1909 met Albert Jerome, a dancing teacher, with whom he toured Californian mining-camps. By day the pair operated a cleaning and pressing establishing, at night Grofé played for Jerome’s pupils. It was also in 1909 that Grofé wrote his first commissioned work, The Grand Reunion March, for an Elks Clubs convention in Los Angeles. He joined the American Federation of Musicians that year and began a ten-year association with the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra, playing the viola.

In 1915 Grofé was playing at the Portola Louvre in San Francisco where musicians would drop in after hours to hear his original arrangements and jazz improvisations. One of the musicians in the audience was Paul Whiteman, whose orchestra Grofé joined in 1917 as pianist, permanently employed from 1920 for the next twelve years as pianist, assistant conductor, orchestrator and librarian. He toured Europe with the orchestra in 1923 and in 1924 had his first real break when he orchestrated Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, a collaboration that brought immediate notice.

Grofé now undertook the composition of original works and among his earliest hits was the tone-poem, Broadway at Night. His subsequent Metropolis, Blue Fantasy in E Flat, Mississippi Suite and Three Shades of Blue, reveal an astonishing development in his handling of the symphonic jazz idiom. Challenged by a friend’s suggestion that he could even write music about a bicycle pump, he wrote two unusual works: Theme and Variations on Noises from a Garage (1926) and Free Air (1929). All the varied experiences of his life became inspiration for his music, as he himself observed, grateful for the background that made possible such compositions as Symphony in Steel, Tabloid Suite, Broadway at Night, Mississippi Suite, Metropolis, Henry Ford, Knute Rockne and Death Valley Suite.


Albums featuring this artist are available for download from ClassicsOnline.com
View by Role: Non-Classical Artist | Classical Composer | Arranger | Conductor
Role: Non-Classical Artist 
Album Title  Catalogue No  Work Category 
WHITEMAN, Paul: Sweet and Low Down (1925-1928) Naxos Nostalgia
8.120628
Nostalgia

Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
AMERICAN CLASSICS SAMPLER Naxos
8.559118
Orchestral
AMERICAN SALUTE (AN) - SPIRIT OF THE NATION Naxos
8.559147
Orchestral
COPLAND, A.: Hoe Down / An Outdoor Overture / Billy the Kid Suite / GROFE, F.: On the Trail (Western Classics) (Schwarz) Delos
DE1603
Orchestral
DORSEY, Jimmy: Dorsey Dervish (1936-1940) Naxos Jazz Legends
8.120625
Jazz
ENGINEER'S CHOICE Delos
DE3506
Orchestral
EXPLORE AMERICA Naxos
8.559187
Orchestral
GERSHWIN, G.: American in Paris (An) / GROFE, F.: Grand Canyon Suite (Seattle Symphony, Schwarz) Naxos
8.571205
Orchestral
GOOD MUSIC FOR LITTLE GUYS Delos
DE1615
Orchestral
Great Love Songs Naxos International
8.990020
Orchestral
GROFE, F.: Grand Canyon Suite / VILLA-LOBOS, H.: Bachianas brasileiras No. 2 / GERSHWIN, G.: Cuban Overture (American Classics, Vol. 1) (Baum) Capriccio
C10440
Orchestral
GROFE: Atlantic Crossing / Aviation Suite (Grofe) (1946-1950) Naxos Classical Archives
9.80172
Orchestral
GROFE: Death Valley Suite / Hudson River Suite / Hollywood Suite Naxos
8.559017
Orchestral
GROFE: Grand Canyon Naxos
5.110002
Orchestral
GROFE: Grand Canyon Suite / Mississippi Suite / Niagara Falls Naxos
8.559007
Orchestral
GROFE: Grand Canyon Suite / Mississippi Suite / Niagara Falls Naxos
6.110002
Orchestral
GROFE: Grand Canyon Suite / Mississippi Suite / Niagara Falls Naxos
8.559007
Orchestral
MCCORMACK, John: McCormack Edition, Vol. 9: Victor Talking Machine Company Recordings (1920-1923) Naxos Historical
8.111385
Vocal
MUSIC SURROUND SPECTACULAR (THE) - The Tests Delos
DE3179
Orchestral
Orchestral Music - GROFE, F. / SIHANOUK, N. / FALLA, M. de / WHITE, P. / TUCCI, T. / KAY, H. (Hudson River Suite) (Kostelanetz) (1955) Naxos Classical Archives
9.81034
Orchestral
PILGRIM'S PROGRESS: PIONEERS OF AMERICAN CLASSICAL MUSIC Naxos
8.559200
Orchestral
SINATRA, Frank: The Early Years, Vol. 1 (1940-1942) Naxos Nostalgia
8.120539
Nostalgia
SUNSET CLASSICS Capriccio
C67107-08
Orchestral
UNITED STATES NAVY BAND: Mystic Chords of Memory Altissimo
75442270162
Wind Ensemble/Band Music

Role: Arranger 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 

Role: Conductor 
Album Title  Catalogue No  Work Category 
GROFE: Atlantic Crossing / Aviation Suite (Grofe) (1946-1950) Naxos Classical Archives
9.80172
Orchestral





 
 
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5:13:42 PM, 25 July 2014
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