Penn Library

Eugene Ormandy
A Centennial Celebration

Curated by Marjorie Hassen
Otto E. Albrecht Music Library
University of Pennsylvania


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Introduction

Eugene Ormandy dedicated his life to music, from the age of three, when he first picked up a violin, to shortly after his 84th birthday, when he conducted his last concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra. It is with this orchestra that Ormandy's name will forever be associated, by virtue of his serving as its Music Director for 42 years.


Drawing by Alfred Bendiner, ca. 1952
Courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Architectural Archives

Diminutive in stature, energetic yet graceful on the podium, Ormandy was known for his infallible ear and prodigious memory. He rarely conducted with a score and was widely recognized as an unsurpassed accompanist to the many soloists with whom he and the Philadelphia Orchestra performed. His training as a violinist governed much of his conducting technique and his frequent gesture of the bent left arm, bent fingers shaking, emulating a violinist's vibrato, was a familiar sight to musicians and audiences alike. The richness of tone he elicited from the Philadelphia Orchestra, in fact, was legend, known variously as the "Ormandy" or "Philadelphia" sound.


ca. 1950

This exhibition celebrates the centennial of Eugene Ormandy's birth and pays tribute to his extraordinary 64-year career. The materials on display are a part of the Eugene Ormandy Archive, which includes the Maestro's personal and professional papers, music scores, and sound recordings. Donated to the University Library in 1987 by Mrs. Margaret Ormandy, the collection is housed in the Annenberg Rare Book & Manuscript Library.


Photographer: Adrian Siegel, ca. 1965

Audio-visual excerpt of Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra in a performance of Gustav Holst's The Planets--"Jupiter" (opening)--recorded June 1977 at the Academy of Music, Philadelphia


Logo credit: Caricature by Al Hirschfeld, ca. 1970

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