On January 8 in Music History

today

. 1713 ~ Death of Italian composer and violinist Arcangelo Corelli in Rome age 59

. 1830 ~ Hans von Bulow, German pianist and conductor
More information about von Bulow

. 1906 ~ Arthur Rubinstein made his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The concert received only a few favorable reviews.

. 1912 ~ Jose Ferrer (Cintron), Academy Award-winning actor, Rosemary Clooney’s husband

. 1922 ~ Abbey Simon, American pianist

. 1924 ~ Ron Moody, Actor, singer in Oliver Twist

. 1925 ~ Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky, appeared in his first American concert, as he conducted the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a program of his own compositions.

. 1935 ~ Elvis Presley, American rock-and-roll singer and guitarist. He had 90 top-20 hits.

. 1937 ~ Shirley Bassey, Singer

. 1940 ~ Anthony Gourdine, Singer with Little Anthony and The Imperials

. 1940 ~ Vincent Lopez and his orchestra recorded the third version of Lopez’ theme song titled Nola. This version, recorded in Hollywood on Bluebird Records, is recognized as his best rendition of the classic song.

. 1946 ~ Robbie Krieger, Guitarist with The Doors

. 1947 ~ David Bowie, British rock singer and actor

. 1947 ~ Terry Sylvester, Musician with the groups Swinging Blue Jeans and the Hollies

. 1952 ~ Vladimir Feltsman, Pianist

. 1961 ~ Robert Goulet made his national TV debut this night on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on CBS.

. 1965 ~ The TV dance show, “Hullabaloo”, debuted on NBC~TV. The show, a weekly trip into the world of rock and roll, featured plenty of mini-skirted go~go girls; which didn’t hurt ratings any. ABC countered with “Shindig”, a similar show, similar concept, similar everything.

. 1966 ~ The Beatles LP, “Rubber Soul”, began a 6-week reign at the top of the album chart. This was the seventh Beatles LP to reach the #1 position since February, 1964. “Rubber Soul” stayed on the charts for 56 weeks. The other #1 albums for the Fab Four to that date were: “Meet The Beatles“, “The Beatles Second Album”, “A Hard Day’s Night”,“Beatles ’65”, “Beatles VI” and “Help!”.

. 1973 ~ Carly Simon received a gold record for the single, You’re So Vain.

. 1997 ~ George Handy died. Handy was a jazz music arranger, composer and pianist whose musical beginnings were fostered under the tutelage of pianist Aaron Copland.

. 1998 ~ Sir Michael Tippett, British Composer and librettist, died
More information about Tippett

. 2000 ~ Pianist Jeffrey Biegel appeared on Good Morning America. He discussed his performance of the New York Premiere with Maestro Vakhtang Jordania and the American Symphony Orchestra and performed selections from the manuscript edition of Rhapsody in Blue, with more than 50 bars restored that hadn’t been heard in New York since the famous 1924 premiere concert at Aeolian Hall.

The concert that evening was at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. The Rhapsody was the feature piece in an evening of premieres by American composers and Russian orchestral masterpieces. Works on the program included Variations on The Wayfaring Stranger (New York Premiere) by James Cohn; Peanuts Gallery for Piano and Orchestra by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich; the Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin; Islamey by Balakirev (World Premiere-transcription for piano and orchestra by Jeffrey Biegel), and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

On January 7 in Music History

. 1762 ~ The first public concert by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, age 6 and his sister Nannerl, age 12 was on this day.

. 1857  ~ First performance of Franz Liszt‘s Piano Concerto No. 2 in A, in Weimar. Liszt conducted and the soloist was his pupil, Hans von Bronsart.

. 1876 ~ William Yeates Hurlstone, composer

. 1899 ~ Francis Poulenc, French composer
More information about Poulenc

. 1922 ~ Jean-Pierre Rampal, French flutist
More information about Rampal

. 1924 ~ George Gershwin completed the incomparable score of Rhapsody in Blue. Incidentally, George was only 26 years old at the time. George didn’t even have an interest in music until his family got him a piano when he was twelve. Nine years later he had his first hit, Swanee, with lyrics written by Irving Caesar. Rhapsody in Blue was commissioned in 1924 by Paul Whiteman and then orchestrated by Ferde Grofe of Grand Canyon Suite fame. This first orchestration of Gershwin’s score was never quite right. Grofe’s style didn’t gel with Gershwin’s. Several other artists attempted to do justice to Rhapsody in Blue, never quite making the grade. Some thirty years later, orchestra leader Hugo Winterhalter with Byron Janis at the piano did a jazzed up version; pretty close to the way Gershwin had described his piece. However, it wasn’t until Gershwin’s original solo piano was accompanied by a jazz band led by Michael Tilson Thomas, that the true arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue was heard. No matter how you hear it, Rhapsody in Blue will remain the signature of one of the most influential of composers, songwriters and pianists in American music history.

. 1926 ~ A famous marriage that endured for many years is remembered this day. It’s the wedding anniversary of George Burns and Gracie Allen who were married by a Justice of the Peace in Cleveland, Ohio.

. 1930 ~ Jack Greene, The Green Giant, CMA Male Vocalist, Album, Single and Song of the Year

. 1940 ~ The gate to Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch opened. The ‘singing cowboy’ would entertain on CBS radio for the next 16 years.

. 1941 ~ Good-for-Nothin’-Joe was recorded by the sultry Lena Horne. She sang the classic song with Charlie Barnet and his orchestra on Bluebird Records.

. 1942 ~ Paul Revere, Singer, keyboards with Paul Revere and The Raiders

. 1946 ~ Jann Wenner, Publisher of Rolling Stone Magazine

. 1947 ~ “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was the #1 song on the U.S. pop charts

. 1948 ~ Kenny Loggins, American pop-rock singer, Grammy Award-winning songwriter and guitarist

. 1950 ~ Ernest Tubb made his first appearance at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. Ernest also did a 15-minute radio program each day that became very popular in West Texas. So popular, in fact, that he bought the radio station that had aired the program for years and years: KGKL in San Angelo, Texas.

. 1955 ~ The first black singer at the Metropolitan Opera was Marian Anderson, who appeared as Ulrica in Verdi’s “The Masked Ball”.

. 1958 ~ The Flying V guitar, which is a favorite of rock musicians, was patented this day by the Gibson Guitar Company.

. 1985 ~ Yul Brynner returned to the Broadway stage this night as “The King and I” returned to where Yul first began his reign, 33 years before. Through his career to that date, Brynner appeared in 4,434 shows without missing a single performance.

. 2002 ~ Jon Lee, drummer for the Welsh rock band Feeder, died at the age of 33. The trio’s biggest hit single was the 2001 single Buck Rogers, which reached No. 5 on the British charts. Feeder released its first full-length album, “Polythene,” in England in 1997; it was released in the United States in early 1998. The band released its third album, “Echo Park,” last year, which debuted at No. 5 in Britain and swiftly sold more than 100,000 copies.

. 2002 ~ Nauman Steele Scott III, co-owner of Black Top Records which gained an international reputation for its blues, rhythm-and-blues and zydeco recordings, died. Scott suffered from heart disease. He was 56. Scott owned Black Top Records with his brother, Hammond. The label featured such artists as Earl King, Snooks Eaglin and the Neville Brothers. Black Top releases picked up two Grammy nominations and have won more than 30 W.C. Handy Blues Awards.

. 2018 ~ Ray Thomas, Moody Blues Founding Member, died at the age of 76. Born in 1941, Thomas founded The Moody Blues in 1964 with fellow musicians including Mike Pinder and Denny Laine.

On January 6 in Music History

Today is National Shortbread Day.

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1695 ~ Giuseppe Sammartini, Italian composer

. 1803 ~ Henri Herz, Austrian pianist and composer

. 1838 ~ Max Bruch, German Composer
More information about Bruch

. 1850 ~ Franz Xaver Scharwenka, Polish composer
More information about Scharwenka

. 1852 ~ Louis Braille died. He was a French educator and inventor of a system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. His system remains virtually unchanged to this day and is known worldwide simply as braille.

. 1856 ~ Giuseppe Martucci, Italian composer, conductor, pianist and teacher influential in reviving Italian interest in non-operatic music.

. 1863 ~ First performance of Johannes Brahms‘ Piano Sonata No. 3 in f, in Vienna.

. 1872 ~ Alexander Scriabin, Russian composer and pianist
Recommended Books and CD’s by Scriabin

. 1878 ~ Carl Sandburg, Author, poet, folk balladeer

. 1916 ~ Philip Bezanson, American composer and educator

. 1924 ~ Earl Scruggs, American country music singer, banjo player and songwriter, born. He was with the Grand Ole Opry.

. 1929 ~ Wilbert Harrison, Singer

. 1934 ~ Bobby Lord, Country singer

. 1937 ~ Nino Tempo, Sax musician, singer with April Stevens

. 1937 ~ Doris Troy, Singer

. 1938 ~ Trummy Young played trombone and sang with the Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra in New York City as Margie became Decca record number 1617.

. 1946 ~ Roger Keith, Lead guitarist, Pink Floyd

. 1946 ~ Syd (Roger) Barrett, Guitarist, singer with Pink Floyd

. 1959 ~ Kathy Sledge, Singer with Sister Sledge

. 1964 ~ Premier of “Hello Dolly”

 

 

. 1966 ~ Duke Ellington’s concert of sacred music, recorded at 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, was broadcast on CBS-TV.

. 1975 ~ The Broadway premiere of “The Wiz” opened, receiving enthusiastic reviews. The show, a black version of “The Wizard of Oz”, ran for 1,672 shows at the Majestic Theatre. Moviegoers, however, gave a thumbs down to the later cinema version of the musical that starred Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. One memorable song from the show is Ease on Down the Road.

. 1993 ~ The great jazz trumpeter, Dizzy Gillespie died of cancer at age 75. He has been credited with being a co-founder (with Charlie Parker) of ‘bebop’ music and wrote many jazz numbers (Salt Peanuts, Night in Tunisia). Gillespie also created the ‘afro-cuban’ sound in jazz music. A few of the disciples who preached Dizzy’s gospel of bebop were Thelonious Monk, Earl ‘Bud’ Powell, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.

. 2000 ~ Ancient note: music as bridge between species

It’s Alfred Brendel’s Birthday!

brendel
Alfred Brendel was born in 1931 in Wiesenberg, Czech Republic.

After World War II, Brendel composed music, as well as continuing to play the piano, to write and to paint. However, he never had more formal piano lessons and, although he attended master classes with Edwin Fischer and Eduard Steuermann, he was largely self-taught after the age of six.

He made his debut in Graz (1948), and has since performed widely throughout Austria, where he lives.

He is known for his interpretations of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, and Schoenberg. He tours internationally, and has written many essays on music.

A short insight from Alfred Brendel on his recording career:

On January 5 in Music History

. 1875 ~ Opening of the Paris Opera building.

. 1880 ~ Nicolai Karlovich Medtner, Russian composer and pianist

. 1919 ~ Erica Morini, Concert violinist

. 1923 ~ Sam Phillips, Record executive with Sun Records: The [Memphis] Million Dollar Quartet: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich

. 1931 ~ Alfred Brendel, American Pianist
More information about Brendel

. 1931 ~ Alvin Ailey, was an African-American choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City

. 1935 ~ Phil Spitalny’s All-Girl Orchestra was featured on CBS radio this day on the program “The Hour of Charm”.

. 1938 ~ Lindsay Crosby, Actor, son of crooner Bing Crosby

. 1941 ~ Decca record #23210 was recorded. The title was Chica Chica Boom Chic by the lovely Carmen Miranda. She sang the song in the film, “That Night in Rio”.

. 1942 ~ Maurizio Pollini, Italian pianist

. 1949 ~ George ‘Funky’ Brown, Drummer with Kool and The Gang

. 1950 ~ Chris Stein, Guitarist with Blondie

. 1955 ~ A tune used in a “Studio One” production became the #1 song on the pop music charts this day. Joan Weber’s song, Let Me Go, Lover, rode the hit parade as the most popular record in the U.S. for four weeks straight. Before being aired on television, the song had only been heard on a limited basis. In fact, the title was even different. It used to be known as Let Me Go, Devil.

. 1972 ~ John Denver received a gold record for the album, “Aerie”, this day.

. 1979 ~ Charles Mingus passed away.  He was an American jazz double bassist, composer and bandleader.

. 1979 ~ John Travolta probably remembers that the soundtrack LP of “Saturday Night Fever” reached $25 million in sales.

 

. 1980 ~The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” becomes hip-hop’s first Top 40 hit

. 1984 ~ The group, The Police, planned a farewell concert for March 2 in Australia. After nine years together, band members decided to go their separate ways.

. 1997 ~ Burton Lane died at the age of 84.  He was an American composer and lyricist. His most popular and successful works include Finian’s Rainbow and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.

. 2000 ~ Mejla Hlavsa, a Czech rock performer and friend of President Vaclav Havel, died of cancer at the age of 49. He was a bass player and singer with the band Plastic People of the Universe. Hlavsa, whose group was banned in the 1970s, was imprisoned in 1976 for unauthorized performances, deemed political protests under the former communist regime. At the time, the band had been performing at private gatherings, including parties at Havel’s summer house in Hradecek, northern Bohemia. Now the country’s president, Havel was Czechoslovakia’s best known anti-communist dissident at the time. After the collapse of the communist regime in 1989, the band resumed public performances. Hlavsa also performed at the White House in September 1998, at a dinner organized by President Clinton during an official visit by the Czech president. One of Hlavsa’s influences, Lou Reed, also performed during Havel’s visit. Reed was a founding member of the rock group Velvet Underground, which helped inspire Havel’s leadership of the “Velvet Revolution” that brought democracy to the Czech Republic. Havel had called the musicians “two legends from our two nations who both, in one way or another, are bound with the ideal of freedom.”

. 2016 ~ Pierre Boulez, classical music’s maverick, died aged 90.  As well as composing, Boulez was a prolific writer and pianist and an inspiration for generations of young musicians.

About Carnegie Hall

carnegie-hall

You’ve all heard it before.  How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice, practice, practice.

We took the easier route with the tour December 1, 2014.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t posting much on my travel blog yet so I don’t remember everything that happened.  I do highly recommend the tour if you’re in New York City.

If you want to go, other than practicing, Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park.

carnegie-hall-map

The tour was very inexpensive, maybe $10 each.  We were taken by elevator up to the Main Hall (Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage) first.  The stories that were told were fascinating!  I don’t remember most but I remember the guide telling us that after renovations audience members complained of a buzzing sound.  The floor had to be removed…

From 1995:

SOURCE OF CARNEGIE HALL COMPLAINTS DISCOVERED: CONCRETE UNDER STAGE
MARY CAMPBELL , Associated Press
Sep. 13, 1995 11:53 PM ET

NEW YORK (AP) _ For nine years, the people who run Carnegie Hall insisted there was nothing wrong with the acoustics at the famed concert hall.

Wednesday, they sang a different tune

This summer, a layer of concrete, apparently left over from a major renovation job in 1986, was discovered under the stage. The concrete was ripped out and a new floor was installed that administrators say should improve acoustics.
Since the renovation, musicians and critics have complained about the acoustics, saying the sound the hall was world famous for wasn’t the same, that the bass had become washed out and the higher instruments harsh.

Executive Director Judith Arron said Wednesday she had been assured there was no concrete under the stage since arriving at the hall in 1986.

But the tongue-in-groove maple stage floor, which usually lasts 20 years, had warped so badly after just nine years, it was difficult to push a piano across it.

The hall closed for repairs after three Frank Sinatra tribute concerts the last week in July. “As we tore the whole floor up,” Arron said, “we learned we had a lot more hard substance than we had anticipated.”

She speculated the concrete was added to reinforce the stage while scaffolding was on it during the 1986 renovation and then simply left there in workers’ haste to finish.

The concrete had been placed under two layers of plywood, on which the maple stage floor rests.

“Concrete retains moisture,” Arron said. “As the moisture collected in the concrete, it went into the plywood, which expands with moisture and pushed up the floor.”

Jim Nomikos, the hall’s director of operations, compared the removal of hundreds of pounds of concrete to “an archeological dig.”

Nomikos said the floor is now constructed the way it was from Carnegie Hall’s opening in 1891 until 1986.

“In my opinion we’re not reconstructing the floor. We just restored it,” he said. “I think what we have now is a floor that will have some resonance, as opposed to a floor that was dead.”

The project cost $180,000.

Aaron said there are no plans to sue anybody for the way the floor was laid in 1986. “We’ve been focused on doing the job right,” she said. “We think this is going to be great.”

The new floor will meet its first test Sept. 26, when the Philadelphia Orchestra plays. The hall’s official gala opening for its 105th season will be Oct. 5 by the Boston Symphony.

I remember the guide not being happy with us because I knew the answers to some of the questions she asked such as Tchaikovsky conducting at the opening.  When she mentioned that Ignacy Jan Paderewski had made his debut there,  Tom piped up that he had lived near Steinway Hall (and that Michael and I had just played there in the final concert in the old building).  She gave us the evil eye and we stopped talking so much 🙂

padereski-me

Plaque on Steinwall Hall (old building). This was just after Michael and I played there.

 

Paderewski

Plaque on Steinwall Hall (old building).

There were many, many pictures on the walls of people who had performed there.  All in all, a fantastic tour.  Take it if you’re in NYC!

1891 Andrew Carnegie’s new Music Hall opened

Andrew Carnegie’s new Music Hall opened with a five-day music festival beginning on May 5.

Guest of honor Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky conducted his Marche Solennelle on Opening Night and his Piano Concerto No. 1 several days later.

William Tuthill’s design reflects Gilded Age architectural tastes and engineering.  Since the Hall was built shortly before the advent of structural steel construction, its walls are made of fairly heavy brick and masonry, to carry the full load of the structure without the lighter support that a steel framework soon made possible. The Italian Renaissance design of the exterior reflects the eclectic architectural tastes of the period, which look to European models of earlier centuries for inspiration.  Tuthill deliberately chose to keep the styling and decorative elements simple, elegant, and functional, focusing his energies on designing an excellent acoustic environment.

I came across this interesting 1947 movie about Carnegie Hall for my Music Studio Blog and I’m posting it here, as well.

Jascha Heifetz (violinist) Tchaikovsky – “Violin Concerto in D, First Movement” – New York Philharmonic, Fritz Reiner, conductor
Harry James (trumpeter)
Vaughn Monroe (band leader)
Jan Peerce (vocalist)
Gregor Piatigorsky (cellist)
Ezio Pinza (vocalist)
Lily Pons (vocalist)
Fritz Reiner (conductor)
Artur Rodzinski (conductor)
Arthur Rubinstein (pianist)
Rise Stevens (vocalist)
Leopold Stokowski (conductor)
Bruno Walter (conductor)
Walter Damrosch (conductor)
Olin Downes (music critic)
New York Philharmonic Quintette (John Corigliano Sr., William Lincer, Nadia Reisenberg, Leonard Rose, Michael Rosenker)
New York Philharmonic

Storyline:
A mother (Marsha Hunt) wants her son (William Prince) to grow up to be a pianist good enough to play at Carnegie Hall but, when grown, the son prefers to play with Vaughan Monroe’s orchestra. But Mama’s wishes prevail and the son appears at Carnegie Hall as the composer-conductor-pianist of a modern horn concerto, with Harry James as the soloist. Frank McHugh is along as a Carnegie Hall porter and doorman, and Martha O’Driscoll is a singer who provides the love interest for Prince. Meanwhile and between while a brigade of classical music names from the 1940’s (and earlier and later) appear; the conductors Walter Damrosch, Bruno Walter, Artur Rodzinski, Fritz Reiner and Leopold Stokowski; singers Rise Stevens, Lily Pons, Jan Peerce and Ezio Pinza, plus pianist Arthur Rubinstein, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and violinist Jascha Heifetz.

Victor Borge’s Birthday

Victor BorgeVictor Borge was born in 1909 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was an entertainer and pianist – a deliciously funny performer. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen, and in Vienna and Berlin.

He made his debut as a pianist in 1926, and as a revue actor in 1933. From 1940 until his death in 2000 he worked in the USA for radio, television, and theatre, and has performed with leading symphony orchestras on worldwide tours since 1956.

He was best known for his comedy sketches combining music and narrative. He used his classical training to skew serious music and performers.

From his obituary:

Pianist Victor Borge, died in his sleep Dec 23, 2000 at his Greenwich, Connecticut home, was known as the unmelancholy Dane of international show business. He would have turned 92 on Jan. 3, 2001.

“The cause of death was heart failure,” his daughter, Sanna Feirstein, told Reuters.

“He had just returned from a wonderfully successful trip to Copenhagen … and it was really heartwarming to see the love he experienced in his home country,” she said.

Borge was one of five performers selected for the Kennedy Center Honors in 1999.

“He went to sleep, and they went to wake him up this morning, and he was gone,” said his agent, Bernard Gurtman.

“He had so much on the table, and to the day he died he was creative, and practicing piano several hours a day,” Gurtman told Reuters. “He was just a great inspiration.”

Funeral services will be private, his daughter said.

Borge made a career of falling off piano stools, missing the keys with his hands and getting tangled up in the sheet music.

One of his inspirations was a pianist who played the first notes of the Grieg A Minor Concerto and then fell on the keys dead.

He said that the only time he got nervous on stage was when he had to play seriously and adds that if it had not been for Adolf Hitler he probably would never have pursued a career as a concert-hall comedian.

Until he was forced to flee Denmark in 1940 he was a stage and screen idol in his native country.

Lampooned Hitler

But as a Jew who had lampooned Hitler, Borge — his real name was Boerge Rosenbaum — was in danger and fled first to Sweden and then to the United States, where he arrived penniless and unknown and by a fluke got booked on the Bing Crosby radio show. He was an instant success.

He became an American citizen in 1948, but thought of himself as Danish. It was obvious from the numerous affectionate tributes and standing ovations at his 80th birthday concert in Copenhagen in 1989 that Danes felt the same way.

In the concert at Copenhagen’s Tivoli gardens, Borge played variations on the theme of “Happy Birthday to You” in the styles of Mozart, BrahmsWagner and Beethoven — all executed with such wit that the orchestra was convulsed with laughter that a woman performing a piccolo solo was unable to draw breath to play.

“Playing music and making jokes are as natural to me as breathing,” Borge told Reuters in an interview after that concert.

“That’s why I’ve never thought of retiring because I do it all the time whether on the stage or off. I found that in a precarious situation, a smile is the shortest distance between people. When one needs to reach out for sympathy or a link with people, what better way is there?

“If I have to play something straight, without deviation in any respect, I still get very nervous. It’s the fact that you want to do your best, but you are not at your best because you are nervous and knowing that makes you even more nervous.”

His varied career included acting, composing for films and plays and writing but he was best known for his comic sketches based on musical quirks and oddities.

Unpredictable Routine

His routines were unpredictable, often improvised on stage as his quick wit responded to an unplanned event — a noise, a latecomer in the audience — or fixed on an unlikely prop — a fly, a shaky piano stool.

Borge was born in Denmark on January 3, 1909, son of a violinist in the Danish Royal Orchestra.

His parents encouraged him to become a concert pianist, arranging his first public recital when he was 10. In 1927 he made his official debut at the Tivoli Gardens.

Borge’s mischievous sense of humor was manifest from an early age. Asked as a child to play for his parent’s friends he would announce “a piece by the 85-year-old Mozart” and improvise something himself.

When his mother was dying in Denmark during the occupation, Borge visited her, disguised as a sailor.

“Churchill and I were the only ones who saw what was happening,” he said in later years. “He saved Europe and I saved myself.”

From 1953 to 1956, he appeared in New York in his own production “Comedy in Music,” a prelude to world tours that often took him to his native Scandinavia.

On radio and television, Borge developed the comedy techniques of the bungling pianist that won him worldwide fame.

Many of his skits were based on real-life events. One of his classics evolved from seeing a pianist playing a Tchaikovsky concerto fall off his seat.

Borge’s dog joined the show after it wandered on stage while he was at the keyboard — an entrance nobody would believe had been unplanned.

One incident could not be repeated. A large fly flew on to Borge’s nose while he was playing. “How did you get that fly to come on at the right time?” people asked. “Well, we train them,” Borge explained.

Borge’s book, “My Favorite Intervals”, published in 1974, detailed little-known facts of the private lives of composers describing Wagner’s pink underwear and the time Borodin left home in full military regalia but forgot his trousers.

In 1975, Borge was honored in recognition of the 35th anniversary of his arrival in the United States and his work as unofficial goodwill ambassador from Denmark to the United States. He celebrated his 75th birthday in 1984 with a series of concerts at Carnegie Hall and in Copenhagen.

Borge received a host of honors from all four Scandinavian countries for his contributions to music, humor and worthy causes.

Borge, who had lived in Greenwich since 1964, is survived by five children, nine grandchildren, and one great grandchild. His wife of many years, Sanna, died earlier that year.

Borge’s birthday

Anniversary of Borge’s death