LEROY ANDERSON CENTENNIAL ON WCLV
Sunday, June 29th is the Centennial of Leroy
Anderson, perhaps the 20th Century's foremost
composer of light orchestral music such as "The
Syncopated Clock," "Bugler's Holiday," and, his
biggest hit, "Sleigh Ride." At 1:00 PM on the
29th, WCLV will present a two-hour "Tribute to
Leroy Anderson," hosted by conductor Leonard
Slatkin and the composer's son, Kurt Anderson,
who at one time worked for The Cleveland
Orchestra at Blossom Music Center. Kurt
is also the General Manager of WMNR, the
classical radio station in Monroe, Connecticut.
The program features concert performances and world broadcast premiere recorded performances. The concert performance is by the WDR Symphony Orchestra of Cologne led by Charles Prince. The world premiere broadcasts are of new soon to be released recordings of Leroy Anderson’s music with Leonard Slatkin conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra.
The program includes many of Anderson's familar short orchestral works and a number of longer pieces including his Piano Concerto, some of his famous Boston Pops arrangements such as "The Irish Suite" and exceprts from his Broadway musical, "Goldilocks."
The program will also contain the world premiere broadcasts of some unknown Anderson music including "The Scottish Suite" and "Mother's Whistler." And there will be brief excerpts of Anderson talking about how he composed some of his delightful works.
Sources indicate that during the 2007 Christmas season, the various permutations of "Sleigh Ride" were played on American radio stations at least 3000 times a day, beating out "White Christmas" as the most played holiday selection.
The music of Leroy Anderson is firmly entrenched in American popular culture. A composer of distinctive and delightful miniatures, He wrote nearly all his pieces originally for orchestra, then transcribed most of them himself for band and often for other groups of instruments as well.
Leroy Anderson was born on June 29, 1908 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His parents
were Swedish immigrants who had come to the United States as children. In 1919, he
began piano and music studies at the
New England Conservatory of Music.
He was in high school when his father
bought him a trombone so that he
could play in the front row of the
Harvard Band, where he had been
accepted as an underclassman.
As a graduate student Leroy became
Director of the Harvard Band and wrote
numerous clever arrangements for the
band that brought him to the attention
of Arthur Fiedler, Director of the Boston
Pops Orchestra. His first arrangement for Fiedler in 1936 was a medley of Harvard songs
- "Harvard Fantasy." In 1938 the Pops performed his first composition, "Jazz Pizzicato."
It was an immediate hit. Fiedler encouraged him to write original compositions for the
orchestra. Leroy wrote "Jazz Legato" in 1939. This was followed by a succession of his
now famous delightful miniatures. Fiedler and the Pops were the first to perform and
record many of these compositions.