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Allen, Steve (26 December 1921–30 October 2000), comedian, author, songwriter, was born Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen in New York City, the son of vaudeville comedians Carroll William Allen and Isabelle Donohue, who performed under the stage names Billy Allen and Belle Montrose. Literally born into show business, Allen toured the vaudeville circuit with his parents from infancy until his father died suddenly when Allen was only eighteen months old. Because his mother chose to continue her career, she left her young son in the care of her eccentric family in Chicago. In his first autobiography, ...

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Steve Allen Used with the permission of Bill Allen, Meadowlane Enterprises, Inc.

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Chotzinoff, Samuel (04 July 1889–09 February 1964), music critic, author, and pianist, was born Shmul Chotzinoff in Vitebsk, Russia, the son of Moyshe Bear, a retail merchant, and Rachel Traskenoff. A promising piano student from the age of ten, Samuel emigrated with his parents to the United States at age seventeen, where he continued his piano studies with Oscar Shack at Columbia University. He left Columbia in 1911 without receiving a diploma (although he would receive an honorary doctorate from the university in 1947)....

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Gilbert, Henry Franklin Belknap (26 September 1868–19 May 1928), composer, essayist, and musician, was born in Somerville, Massachusetts, the son of Benjamin Franklin Gilbert, a bank clerk and musician, and Therese Angeline Gilson, a noted soprano. At the age of ten, inspired by the playing of ...

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Goldman, Richard Franko (07 December 1910–19 January 1980), composer, conductor, and author, was born Richard Henry Maibrunn Goldman in New York City, the son of the famed bandmaster Edwin Franko Goldman and Adelaide Maibrunn Goldman. Richard grew up in a stimulating musical and intellectual environment. He attended Townsend Harris High School, affiliated with the City College of New York for exceptionally gifted children, from which he graduated at age sixteen. He then decided to study music. Clarence Adler taught him piano and composition, and Pietro Floridia, an opera composer, taught him compositional technique by having him copy, note for note, operatic scores of the masters....

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Hodes, Art (14 November 1904?–04 March 1993), jazz pianist and writer, was born in Nikolaev, Russia, the son of William Hodes, a tinsmith, and Dorothy (maiden name unknown). “I’m not completely correct on when I was born. It was … somewhere between 1904 and 1906. We left hurriedly, and we had no papers,” he told writer Whitney Balliett. He moved with his family to New York City at the age of six months and then to Chicago at age six. Hodes took piano lessons at Hull-House from 1916 to 1920. He attended Crane High School, a vocational school, but dropped out to take on a variety of day jobs, none lasting very long. He then enrolled at Medill High School and graduated....

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Art Hodes © William P. Gottlieb; used by permission. William P. Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress (LC-GLB23-0417 DLC).

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Hopkinson, Francis (02 October 1737–09 May 1791), author, composer, and judge, was born in Philadelphia, the son of Thomas Hopkinson, a lawyer and Pennsylvania councillor, and Mary Johnson. Hopkinson’s father emigrated from England in 1731. Hopkinson matriculated in the first class of the College of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania) in 1751; he graduated in 1757 and, with other members of his class, received an M.A. degree three years later....

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Huneker, James Gibbons (31 January 1857–09 February 1921), critic, essayist, and musician, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Joseph Huneker, a prosperous housepainter and decorator, and Mary Gibbons, a schoolteacher. Huneker was introduced to the world of music, drama, and art by his father, who owned one of the largest private collections of prints in the United States; his interest in literature was fostered by his mother, the daughter of the Irish printer and poet James Gibbons. After attending Philadelphia’s Broad Street Academy (1865–1872), Huneker began a five-year apprenticeship in law before discovering his chief interest, music. In 1875 he started piano lessons with one of Philadelphia’s outstanding teachers, Michael Cross, and began writing music critiques and articles for the ...

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Marek, George Richard (13 July 1902–07 January 1987), music writer and business executive, was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Martin Marek, a dentist, and Emily Weisberger. Marek studied at the University of Vienna for two years beginning in 1918, then immigrated to the United States in 1920. He became an American citizen in 1925. The following year he married Muriel Hepner; the couple had one son. Marek’s first job in the United States was with a milliner, first as a stock boy, and later in the ostrich-feather department, but he soon became involved in the advertising field. From 1930 until 1950 he was a vice president with the J. D. Tarcher Agency. In 1950, during his unsuccessful attempt to acquire RCA’s advertising account for Tarcher, Marek was offered a position as manager of artists and repertory in RCA’s Records Division; seven years later he became vice president and general manager of Victor Records....

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Rosenfeld, Paul Leopold (04 May 1890–21 July 1946), music critic, essayist, and novelist, was born in the Mt. Morris section of the Bronx, in New York City, the son of Julius Rosenfeld, a successful manufacturer of textiles, and Sarah Liebmann, of the wealthy Liebmann Brewery family, a serious amateur pianist. His father was steeped in literature, music, and art. When Rosenfeld was ten years old his mother died, and his father sent him to live with his maternal grandmother, who three years later enrolled him at the Riverview Military Academy in Poughkeepsie, New York. He skipped athletics, studied music and literature, and on Saturday afternoons boarded the train for New York City to attend concerts and the theater. In 1908, just as Rosenfeld was about to enter Yale University, his father died....

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Trapp, Maria von (26 January 1905–28 March 1987), author, governess, and singer, was born Maria Augusta Kutschera on a train headed for Vienna, Austria, the daughter of Karl Kutschera and Augusta Rainer. She was orphaned at the age of seven. Raised by a court-appointed guardian whom von Trapp described as anti-Catholic and socialist, she graduated from the State Teachers College for Progressive Education in Vienna in 1923. Following her education she became a candidate for the novitiate of the Benedictine order at a Salzburg, Austria, convent....