Sunday, February 12, 2017

Can a Classical Musician Get A Star on Hollywood Blvd? Yes, You Can!

By Andy Fein, luthier and Fein Violins
 and Miranda Crawford, Fein Violins

I recently saw a quick social media post that showed a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame with the name of the great violist William Primrose.

Really? A classical musician with their own star. And a violist, no less! I thought the stars were all reserved for glamorous movie stars. Most of them are, but there are stars for some great string players, conductors, and composers. What would the movies be like without great music to go with them?

Curious about what it takes to get a star on Hollywood Blvd? You have to have made a significant contribution to the entertainment industry.  Then, for starters, you or an admirer need to pony up $30,000 and convince the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce that you're worthy. The rest is easy.

So here's some of the great string players, conductors, and composers whose stars you can see on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. All of them have made great musical contributions on TV, movies, and/or radio.

Leonard Bernstein: A composer and conductor, you know him by his works in musicals such as West Side Story, or Candide. Along with many other great works. 

Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra

Arthur Fiedler: 18th conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, he conducted for 20+ years. He was one of the main reasons the orchestra became one of the top known orchestras in the US. He did this by leading the orchestra in some wildly popular recordings.

Elmer Bernstein: Best known for is hundreds of film and TV production scores, such as The Magnificent Seven, Ghostbusters, To Kill A Mockingbird, and many, MANY others.

Ennio Morricone: Composing over 500 scores for films and television, as well as over 100 classical works. He was known for being very versatile in his writing.
Some of his works include The Good the Bad and the Ugly, The Exorcist II, The Hateful Eight. From 1960-1975 Morricone became internationally known for his work in "spaghetti" westerns.

Arturo Toscanini: Italian, if the name didn't inform you of that already. Known for his perfectionism, intensity, and photographic memory. He has been the conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Later, he became the conductor for the NBC Symphony Orchestra, which
was broadcast regularly throughout the US.

Mischa Elman: Violinist with perfect pitch! At a young age, Mischa was sent to study music and at age 11 he auditioned to be a student of Leopold Auer, playing  the Wieniawski Concerto No. 2 and Paganini's 24th Caprice. Auer was so impressed he admitted Mischa to the St. Petersburg Conservatory, at age 11!

Jascha Heifetz: A quote from Fritz Kreisler (another world famous violinist with a Hollywood Star) upon hearing Jascha debut at age 7, "We might as well take our fiddles and break them across our knees." Jascha at age 5 was a student of Leopold Auer, at age 9 he began studying at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory.

A year later (1911), at age 10, he performed in an outdoor concert in front of 25,000 people. He had done such a great job that police had to "protect" him after the concert was over.
Fun Fact: Mischa Elman was in the audience the day of Jascha's first performance in America at Carnegie Hall (NY).

Yehudi Menuhin: American- born violinist and conductor. Also making his first debut at age 7, this amazing violinist had his first recording session at age 15, recording Bruch's G minor. Also in that year (1931),  London record labels called him "Master Yehudi Menuhin".


Yes three stars, for TV, film, and radio. Jack Benny made a constant joke of being an extremely bad violinist. But, of course, to pretend to be that bad you actually have to be pretty good. Not quite as fine a musician as the others listed above, but pretty good. And successful enough to own a Stradivarius that he loved.

Other greats from Classical Music that have stars on Hollywood Blvd. include Leroy Anderson, Morton Gould, Zubin Mehta, Pierre Monteux, Frederick Stock, Alfred Newman, Leopold Stokowski, Bruno Walter, Zino Francescatti, Fritz Kreisler, Nathan Milstein, Eugene ormandy, and Joseph Szigeti.

Not quite a musician, but the son of great violinist Efrem Zimbalist and opera star Alma Gluck-

Need more information? The Hollywood Walk of Fame website is a good place to start.

And, if one of your goals is to get a Hollywood Blvd star, the same directions go there as well as Carnegie Hall- Practice, practice, practice.

Are you a string musician or interested in becoming one? Take a look at our Fine Violins, Violas, and Cellos!

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