The Stokowski Legacy


Including Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra - His Story and Recordings 1909-1977


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The Stokowski Legacy


Among the great conductors of the twentieth century, Leopold Stokowski had a unique and fascinating career.


Unique in the variety and quantity of his performances and recordings of music, and especially of new music, from composers of all musical persuasions.


Unique in his role in disseminating music to the public and in particular, the American public (most of whom in 1920, before the advent of radio and orchestral gramophone recordings, had never heard a symphony).  This was accomplished through Stokowski's innovative repertoire, innovative concert formats, youth concerts, pioneering broadcast techniques and especially by his recordings.  This dissemination of music was aided by Stokowski's flair for promoting himself and his music and by the popularity of his stream of great recordings from 1917 to 1977.


Unique in his involvement with the development of recorded sound.  Stokowski was involved in orchestral recording from the acoustic to the quadraphonic eras, and in pioneering efforts in High Fidelity and stereophonic recording with the Bell Laboratories.


Victor 1917 1975r

Two Victor Records: 1917 Acoustic recording of the Brahms Hungarian Dance no 5 and

1975 RCA Victor Quadraphonic recording of Stokowski Bach Transcriptions


It is important to add that Leopold Stokowski was one of the handful of greatest conductors of the Twentieth Century, a judgement which can be assessed by listening to the Stokowski recordings available on this site, and by reviewing the six decades of his innovative concerts located on the pages:

Listing of the Concerts of Leopold Stokowski 1909-1920

Listing of the Concerts of Leopold Stokowski 1921-1932 .

Listing of the Concerts of Leopold Stokowski 1933-1949

Listing of the Concerts of Leopold Stokowski 1950-1974 .


This page describes the information and recordings of Leopold Stokowski available in this site. 


Themes of this Website


This site concentrates on Stokowski's recordings as a witness not only of Stokowski's career, but also of the evolution of sound recording during his era. This site further benefits from the extensive scholarship and efforts of a number of researchers and amateurs of the work of Stokowski, so generously shared with all of us who enjoy Stokowski's legacy.


Primary development of this site is first, the acoustic recordings of Stokowski and the Philadelphians from 1917 to 1924, and second, the complete legacy of electrical recordings of Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1925 to 1940.


The website also includes a complete discography of Stokowski recordings 1917-1977 and a listing of his thousands of concerts performed during his long career, as well as a biography and excellent articles by José Serebrier, Edward Johnson and James H. North.


The recordings of Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra included here are nearly all of the commercial recordings released 1917-1940 in .mp3 format.  They are not from any commerical CD, and are from my source material and those of several friends who share the admiration of Stokowski's art.  However, they often lack advanced restoration technology (no de-clicking or CEDAR) and are therefore inferior to the many excellent restorations of the Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra recordings, about which you can read more at CDs of Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra


The music tracks included here will allow a modern audience to hear Stokowski's many great Philadelphia Orchestra recordings, and hopefully, encourage visitors to this site to purchase some of the many excellent CDs available reproducing the historic Stokowski legacy.  In particular, Pristine Classical offers a wide range of excellent CDs and downloads of Stokowski and other great recordings restored by Andrew Rose and Mark Obert-Thorn.  Click here to visit Pristine Classical Pristine Classical

I hope that the Stokowski material on this site will allow you to appreciate Stokowski's art and enjoy the performances and the music, which give great pleasure today, even sixty to ninety years later.

Organization of the site Stokowski 1920

  Stokowski in 1920


The contents of this site are organized below into three sections:


1.   Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra acoustic recordings from 1917 to 1924 and Stokowski electrical process recordings from 1925 to 1940.


2.   Information about recordings, concerts, and the career of Leopold Stokowski 1909-1977.


3.  Another project of this site is a biographical listing of the Musicians of Leading United States Orchestras, including complete musicians rosters of the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra from the beginnings of their organization until today.


In researching the "Principal" or "solo" musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra, I was surprised to find how little information is available about the fascinating story of their careers.  Therefore, I have included pages which list the Principal musicians of the leading orchestras listed above from their beginnings, and also pages that seek to list all the musicians of each orchestra from their beginnings.  (see the complete links further down this page).



In the paragraphs below, you will see links to all the pages of this site featuring the acoustic recordings, the electrical recordings, and other Stokowski material, plus the pages on the musicians of leading US orchestras, and articles by musical scholars.  Simply click on the links below.


1.  Stokowski Acoustic and Electrical Recordings.


Stokowski 1917

  Stokowski in 1917 just before his first acoustic recordings


Stokowski - Philadelphia Acoustic Recordings


From its first recordings, Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra inaugurated a period of recording made possible by the development of the acoustic recording process, invented by Edison, and further improved by the Victor Talking Machine Company.  To explore this era, click below to go to the appropriate web page:


The Development of Acoustic Recording


1917 - 1924 The Acoustic Recordings of Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra


1917 - first 78 RPM Acoustic Victor recordings of Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra


Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Other Acoustic Recordings from 1917 and 1919


Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Other Acoustic Recordings of 1920 and 1921


Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Other Acoustic Recordings from 1922 - 1924


Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Acoustic Recordings of Russian Music 1919 - 1924


Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra French Acoustic Recordings 1920 to 1924


Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Wagner Acoustic Recordings of 1921 and 1924


Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Tchaikovsky Acoustic Recordings 1921 - 1924


Leopold Stokowski - Serge Rachmaninoff and the Philadelphia Orchestra - 1924


Stokowski Academy

  Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra recording in the Academy of Music 1936 (Western Electric 394 condenser microphone suspended above)


Stokowski - Philadelphia Electrical Recordings

Beginning in 1925, Stokowski and the Philadelphians made the first electrical recordings of a symphony orchestra in the United States (and, in fact, the first in the world).  Click on the links below to read about and hear these superb and historic recordings:


Bell Laboratories and the Development of Electrical Recording


Licensing the Bell - Westrex Electrical Recording System


1925 - First Electrical Recording - Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra


1925 - Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Other Electrical Recordings


1926 - Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings


1927 Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings - Part 1


1927 Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings - Part 2


1928 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings       1929 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings


1930 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings       1931 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings


1932 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings       1933 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings


1934 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings       More 1934 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings


1935 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings       1936 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings


1937 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings       1939 - 1940 - Stokowski Philadelphia Recordings



In addition, there is a page describing the Victor Program Transcription Records . These were the series of 33 1/3 RPM long playing records which RCA Victor tried (unsuccessfully) to introduce during the period 1931 to 1933. 

Stokowski Program Transcription

This ambitious venture failed in part due to technical problems described by in the page, and also because it was undertaken during what were the most difficult years of the 'Great Depression'.

2. Recordings and Career of Leopold Stokowski


In addition, on this site, there are a number of pages of information related to the career and recordings of Leopold Stokowski. 


This information is being updated frequently, and just added are three interesting new articles:


-  an article about the Orchestral Transcriptions of Leopold Stokowski by Maestro José Serebrier , featuring the story of his superb new recordings of Leopold Stokowski Transcriptions performed by the Bournemouth Symphony.

Serebrier Wagner


-  an appreciation by the music scholar and Stokowski expert Edward Johnson writing about:

Leopold Stokowski and British Music


Vaughan Williams Stokowski


-  Edward Johnson also writes about the long association between:

Leopold Stokowski and Ralph Vaughan Williams


-  also, a selection of the letters to Stokowski on his 90th Birthday in 1972 from the many composers championed by Stokowski - from the collection of Edward Johnson.

Lou Harrison


-  Scholar and discographer James H. North has written about the famous series of Stokowski recordings released with the label "Leopold Stokowski and His Symphony Orchestra". Click here to read this fascinating article

Stokowski His Symphony Orchestra


-  also, a Listing of all Leopold Stokowski Concerts 1933-1974 is in the process of being compiled for your reference at:

Listing of the Concerts of Leopold Stokowski 1909-1920

Listing of the Concerts of Leopold Stokowski 1921-1932

Listing of the Concerts of Leopold Stokowski 1933-1949

Listing of the Concerts of Leopold Stokowski 1950-1974 Stokowski 1957


-  also, a A Discography of the recordings of Leopold Stokowski 1917-1977 is in the process of being compiled for your reference at

Phase Four


More:  More Stokowski information is included in the pages below.  Click the link below to read and hear more about Stokowski and his legacy:


Leopold Stokowski Biography


Interviews with Leopold Stokowski


Leopold Stokowski Discography


Leopold Stokowski, Harvey Fletcher and the Bell Laboratories Experimental Recordings


Masters of the Modern Restoration of Historic Disks


Camden Church Studio - Victor Talking Machine Recording Location


Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Recording in the Academy of Music Philadelphia


Further Material on Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra


CDs of Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra


Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Bibliography, Sources and Credits


Also newly added is a Fritz Reiner Discography which seeks to document all the commercial and private recordings of Fritz Reiner.

Reiner 1945

Also added is a Fritz Reiner Biography which provides a brief biography of the rich and varied career of Fritz Reiner.

3.  Musicians of Major American Orchestras


In constructing this site, there seemed to be a surprising lack of historical information about the musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra over the last 100+ years, and also, in general, about the musicians of other leading symphony orchestras of the United States since their creations.  I have attempted to constuct, out of this interest, brief biographies of the all of the musicians of the major orchestras listed below. 


Below are links to the web pages covering the named orchestras.  Each orchestra is organized into two different listings:


-   A listing of ALL the Musicians of each Orchestra since the orchestra's inception.

This list includes the names, country and date of birth and death, instruments, positions and dates of service of all known permanent musicians of the orchestra from its beginning.


-   A listing of the Principal or "solo" Musicians of each Orchestra since the orchestra's inception

This is a listing of all the Principal musicians of the Orchestra, chronologically during their histories, with a brief biographical sketches and photographs.


Listings of Orchestra Musicians: Click on the link below

Boston Symphony Principal Musicians

Boston Symphony List All Musicians

Chicago Symphony Principal Musicians

Chicago Symphony List All Musicians

Cleveland Orchestra Principal Musicians

Cleveland Orchestra List All Musicians

Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Musicians

Philadelphia Orchestra List All Musicians

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Musicians

Saint Louis Symphony Musicians

San Francisco Symphony Principal Musicians

San Francisco Symphony List All Musicians


1913 Philadelphia Orchestra

            Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra in his first season in 1913


A Note on listening to the Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings


The recordings in this site are files in mp3 format (mostly, 128 kbps) encoded from my recordings.  Links to the mp3 files are located in two places:


First - in the page covering the year of the recording.  For example, links to a 1926 recording are found in the page:   1926 - Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings


Second - in the Chronological Discography page.  For example, links to a 1926 recording are also found in the electrical recordings chronological discography page:  Chronological Discography of Electrical Recordings   This Chronological Discography page lists all the electrical recordings from 1925 to 1940 made by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski and issued by Victor, including of course the 1926 recordings.  For each recording listed in the Discography table, there is a MP3 link on the right-hand side which, when clicked, also will download the recording.


The mp3 files in this site are encoded usually at 128 kbps.  This means that the files are of different sizes, according to the length of the music.  For example, the second Stokowski electrical recording, the April 29, 1925 Borodin Polovetzki Dances is small (3.6 Mb).  In contrast, the 1929 Le Sacre du Printemps file is large.  Le Sacre part 1 is 14 Mb and Le Sacre part 2 is 16 Mb.


Consequently, a large file will take a longer time to download, depending on your internet connection speed.  Please keep this in mind when you click to listen to (which means to download) a particularly music file.  You may click the link to the music file, but need to wait a number of seconds or even minutes to listen to the file.


Your added or corrected information on any of these musicians would be welcome simply by contacting this site as shown at the foot of this page .

Stokowski 1968

      Stokowski in 1968


If you have any comments or questions about this Leopold Stokowski site, please e-mail me (Larry Huffman) at e-mail address:



1   Leopold Stokowski portrait by Elias Goldensky circa 1923



Full Navigation Menu of site (click any button below):


Rosters of Musicians of some Great Orchestras:


Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Acoustic Recordings 1917-1924:


Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Electrical Recordings 1925-1940:


Leopold Stokowski Recording Discographies and Listing of Concerts:


Other Information about Leopold Stokowski:


Leopold Stokowski and Development of Recording:


Fritz Reiner: