The Stokowski Collection includes marked conducting scores and orchestral parts. Stokowski's manuscript orchestral transcriptions and arrangements, rececordings, photographs, letters, programs, and memorabilia, as well as the research files of the conductor's principal biographer Oliver Daniel (1909-1977), related to Stokowski's musical career.
The Leopold Stokowski Collection of Scores
The Leopold Stokowski Collection of Scores includes over 900 scores and sets of parts marked by the conductor for performance. He typically treated his scores as scrapbooks, pasting in postcards, photos, related texts, and letters, Stokowski's curiosity about the Tallis theme on which Vaughan Williams had based his Fantasia led him to query the composer about its provenance. Vaughan Williams' response is preserved in the conductor's score of the work.
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One of the most influential conductors of his generation, Leopold Stokowski was at the same time one of the most controversial. His progressive views, flamboyant presence on the concert stage, and innovative approach to music-making provoked both the epithets "genius" and "charlatan." He invented various myths about his heritage, going so far as to affect an unidentifiable accent that heightened the mystery he perpetuated. In his personal life, his three high-profile marriages (to the pianist and pedagogue Olga Samaroff; to Evangeline Johnson, the daughter of the founder of Johnson & Johnson; and to Gloria Vanderbilt, at the time of their marriage 42 years his junior), as well as his highly-publicized relationship with Greta Garbo at the height of her career, contributed even more so to the drama of his professional image.
Stokowski embraced everything modern, and synthesized music, art, and dance in ways that were new to American audiences. His interest in sound reproduction and transmission resulted in pioneering recordings utilizing the latest technological developments. And in his pursuit of the perfect balance and blends of color in the concert hall, he often experimented with the placement of players' seating by moving sections of the orchestra to different parts of the stage.