Eugene Ormandy (November 18, 1899 – March 12, 1985) was a Hungarian-born conductor and violinist who became internationally famous as the music director and conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The maestro's 44-year-long association with the Philadelphia is one of the longest enjoyed by any conductor with a single orchestra. Under his baton, the Philadelphia had three gold records and won two Grammy Awards.
Ormandy was born Jenő Blau in Budapest, Austria-Hungary, the son of Jewish parents Rosalie and Benjamin Blau, a dentist who was also an amateur violinist. Ormandy began studying violin at the Royal National Hungarian Academy of Music (now the Franz Liszt Academy of Music) at the age of five. He gave his first concerts as a violinist at age seven and, studying with Jenő Hubay, graduated at 14 with a master's degree. In 1920, he obtained a university degree in philosophy. In 1921, he moved to the United States of America. Around this time Blau changed his name to "Eugene Ormandy," "Eugene" being the equivalent of the Hungarian "Jenő". Accounts differ on the origin of "Ormandy"; it may have either been Blau's own middle name at birth, or his mother's. He was first engaged by conductor Erno Rapee, a former Budapest friend and fellow Academy graduate, as a violinist in the orchestra of the Capitol Theatre in New York City, a 77-player ensemble which accompanied silent movies. He became the concertmaster within five days of joining and soon became one of the conductors of this group. Ormandy also made 16 recordings as a violinist between 1923 and 1929, half of them using the acoustic process...
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