Friday, September 17, 2010

Sept. 17: Orchestra arranger and composer Hugo Winterhalter died on this date is 1973. died on this date is 1973...

... he was 64 years old when he died from cancer.

Hugo Winterhalter, born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, played the violin, reed instruments and conducted an "easy listening" orchestra.  After studying violin and reed instruments at the New England Conservatory of Music, he taught school for several years before turning professional.
Dinah Shore
In the mid 1930s, serving as a sideman and arranger for Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Raymond Scott, Claude Thornhill and others. Hugo also arranged and conducted sessions for singers including Dinah Shore, Doris Day and Billy Eckstine.

Press links below to view You Tube video performances:

Doris Day 

In 1948 he was named musical director at MGM Records. After moving to Columbia Records, he scored a hit with his orchestral reading of "Blue Christmas." In 1950, he moved to RCA Victor, where he arranged sessions for artists including Perry Como, Eddie Fisher and the Ames Brothers. He also recorded several instrumental albums, among them 1952's Great Music Themes of Television, one of the first collections of TV theme songs ever recorded.
Hugo with Billy Ekstine

Winterhalter also notched a series of chart hits, including "Blue Tango," "Vanessa," "The Little Shoemaker" and "Song of The Barefoot Contessa" with pianist Eddie Heywood, he reached the number two spot with 1956's "Canadian Sunset."
He remained with RCA until 1963, at which time he moved to Kapp; that same year, he penned the main title theme for the film, Diamond Head. At Kapp he recorded  albums including The Best of '64 and its follow-up, The Big Hits of 1965, before leaving the label to work on Broadway. He later worked in television and continued recording an occasional album.
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