Russia who emigrated to the U.S. while very young. He attended the Paris Conservatory
of Music on the strength of a scholarship and in 1924 won the esteemed
first prize awarded for music.
He went on to attend and graduate from Juilliard. At the age of 17, he performed in
concert at Aeolian Hall in New
He later went
on to become the assistant/associate concertmaster with the NBC Symphony
Orchestra, conducted by Arturo Toscanini, and occupied the first violin
chair of WQXR’s string quartet for a
quarter of a century. In
addition to this, he found time to serve the Brooklyn Philharmonic in the
capacity of concertmaster and was a violinist with the Hofstra
Quartet for over a decade and a half.
April 1941, he premiered Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Piano Quintet
in G minor, Op. 57” in the U.S. as a member of the
Stuyvesant Quartet. He was also
an arranger and there is still sheet music available online dating from
about 1945 of his transcription of Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Three
Fantastic Dances, Op. 5” for piano and violin. He was also a member of the New
Friends of Rhythm and there is an album available of their 1939-1947 Performances.
As his career
evolved, he became busier and busier in the recording studios. Some of the recordings he appeared
on the 1950s include Harry Belafonte’s “Man Piaba”
and Perry Como’s “Come Rain or Come Shine” and “May
the Good Lord Bless and Keep You”. He also got some steady work on
television’s Your Show of Shows. In the 1960s, he worked with jazz
artists such as Tony Bennett, Paul Desmond, Stan Getz, J.J. Johnson, Wes
Montgomery, Walter Wanderley, and Kai
Winding. In the 1970s, he
appeared on more experimental fare such as Deodato’s
Whirlwinds and Alice
Coltrane’s Reflection on
Creation and Space.
with whom he worked include Patti Austin, George Benson, Frederick Fennell,
Rupert Holmes, Bob James, Eartha Kitt, Lotte Lenya, Stevie
Nicks, Ray Peterson, Johnnie Ray, Neil Sedaka,
Frank Sinatra, Stanley Turrentine, Phil Upchurch,
Harold Vick, and Grover Washington, Jr.
musician and teacher, Harry passed away on 6th October 1996 at Manhattan’s
Jewish Home and Hospital for the Aged.
lives on, however, on CDs such as The
Best of Patti Austin, The
Essential Harry Belafonte, Getz
for Lovers, Restoration: The Best of Bob James, and
Grover Washington, Jr.’s Ultimate Collection.
Frank Sinatra recordings
That's What God Looks Like To Me (Stan Irvin/Lan
49233 (XNY2101S) (US 45)
Theme from "New York, New York" (Fred Ebb/John Kander)
RPS49233 (XNY 2103 S) (US 45)