The Leopold Stokowski Club (formerly the Leopold Stokowski Society of America, L.S.S.A.) is a non-profit corporation founded in 1983. We published a semi-annual journal titled Maestrino, which is now available on the web. The society's original purpose was to publish articles about the Stokowski legacy, produce an annual recording and to encourage the major recording companies to reissue Stokowski recordings. Over the next 12 years we produced 12 recordings. Our first LP was a 1946 live performance of the Rachmaninoff Symphony #2 with the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra. This was selected as a testament to Stokowski who was to record this symphony with the National Philharmonic but died just before the recording sessions.
We produced many other LPs that featured items previously available only on 78s. We also produced CDs. The CDs are listed in the annotated discography also available elsewhere on this page. While we will no longer produce our own discs, we will continue to urge companies to do so and help provide the best source material we can for individuals such as Mark Obert-Thorn for making transfers. I am proud that we have been able to make available material that previously had gathered dust in some people's collections of 78s.
Our journal contained many excellent articles that provided more insight to Stokowski's art. There were recollections by Earl Wild, Sol Schonbach, Robert Bloom, Walter Hendl, Leonard Pennario, Warren Eason and Sylvan Levin. There were excellent articles about his work with Mahler and other composers. We also transcribed several interviews with Stokowski which had not been previously available in print. I will continue to print articles as I am able to and will see if we can reprint some of them on this page.
As the years passed I found it increasingly difficult to find people who were still alive who recalled working with Stokowski. One I really regretted missing was with Robert Whyte who had worked with Stokowski on the Everest recordings. I had a long talk with Bob on the phone one day and he regaled me with stories. I told him we would make arrangements to have him interviewed, but he passed away before we had the opportunity.
I began to expand the scope of the journal. I started reviewing releases by other 'golden age' conductors. I looked at stereo equipment to see if I could provide readers with recommendations for an inexpensive system that would produce Quality sound. I started reviewing recordings on less well known labels and occasionally works by more popular conductors like Mariss Jansons.
Then it became obvious to me that I could no longer keep the L.S.S.A. operating. Over the years I had accumulated deep debts, largely due to the cost of producing the recordings. I closed the society in the summer of 1995.
Then I started getting suggestions from many people that I resurrect the society on the Internet and the World Wide Web. The society continued to exist as one until our charter lapsed in 2000. While the society does not exist in the sense that there are members, I continue to work on projects such as updating the discography, adding interviews and most recently putting together a complete concert register for all of the Cincinnati and Philadelphia concerts. To eliminate confusion about the nature of the LSSA, however, I have decided to begin calling it the Leopold Stokowski Club.
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