Striking a Chord: Paul Whiteman’s Recording of “Button Up Your Overcoat/My Lucky Star,” February 1929

by Paul R. Spitzzeri Paul Whiteman (1890-1967) was accounted the "King of Jazz," a title that made him a target of critics who said that his well-arranged and precisely performed orchestral popular music, while including ornaments of jazz sounds, lacked the improvisation, syncopation and general power and excitement of real jazz. More authentic versions, according... Continue Reading →

Striking a Chord: A Woman’s Symphony Orchestra of Los Angeles Program, 9 February 1927

by Paul R. Spitzzeri This year marks the centennial of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, established under the patronage of William Andrews Clark, Jr., son of the mining tycoon who left his mark in many areas and ways in the American West stemming from his spectacular success as one of the "copper kings" of Butte,... Continue Reading →

Striking a Chord with a Grand Opera Festival, Los Angeles, December 1912-January 1913

by Paul R. Spitzzeri Among the many indications that Los Angeles was, in the first years of the 20th century, emerging into a major American metropolis was the growth of the arts.  This applied to the so-called "legitimate theater" as well as the onrush of film; the increase in the "fine arts"; the 1913 opening... Continue Reading →

Striking a Chord With a Recording by the “Prince of Pep,” Charlie Wellman of KHJ Radio, Los Angeles, October 1928

by Paul R. Spitzzeri In the early days of Los Angeles radio, one of the first major stations to go on the airwaves was KHJ, launched in April 1922 by C.R. Kielruiff and Company.  Though it has been said that the call letters were for "Kindness, Happiness and Joy," there are other indications that the... Continue Reading →

Striking a Chord with a Phonograph Record by Abe Lyman’s California Orchestra, 11 May 1925

by Paul R. Spitzzeri One of the early music recording stars in the greater Los Angeles firmament was Abe Lyman, a popular dance band leader, whose career stretched from the early 1920s through the late 1940s and achieved significant local and some national renown.  Lyman's music was definitely grounded on popular styles, but, as was... Continue Reading →

Striking a Chord at the Earl and Olive Valentine Music and Art Studio, Los Angeles, 1927-28

by Paul R. Spitzzeri Today's "Striking a Chord" entry on greater Los Angeles era music is a striking photograph by Miles F. Weaver of the summer class of the Earl and Olive Valentine Studio of Music and Art in Los Angeles for the 1927-28 year.  The husband-and-wife proprietors stand at the center of the first... Continue Reading →

Striking a Chord at the Hollywood Conservatory of Music and Arts, 1925-1927

by Paul R. Spitzzeri It's pretty difficult not to focus on music as a major topic for our interpretation when you walk into La Casa Nueva's Music Room.  A gorgeous and well-preserved 1893 Steinway piano dominates the room, with a curved ceiling evidently done so for acoustics.  Five sets of French doors include etched and... Continue Reading →

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