Concertmaster, conductor, and violinist born in Morristown, Pennsylvania, who started learning the violin at 6 years old and went on to take his studies at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. After he graduated he left for California and worked in a music store in Hollywood where he was heard practicing by Bronislaw Gimpel who was the concertmaster of Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He was hired by Otto Klemperer in 1937 and six years later was concertmaster at age 28. This made him the youngest concertmaster ever in the United States.
As a member of The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, alongside Zubin Mehta, he is featured as the solo violinist on a number of recordings, particularly the tone poems of Richard Strauss. Other notable classical recordings he has appeared on include Franz Liszt’s Orpheus and Franz Schmidt: Symphony No. 4/Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No. 1.
He was the concertmaster of the L.A. Philharmonic from 1943 to 1972. Imagine his surprise when the LAPD showed up on stage during a concert conducted by Toscanini. A woman in black entered stage right, waltzing along with the music. The audience thought it was part of the show. Toscanini was so into his music, he had taken no notice of her. As gales of laughter rolled through the audience, it was Frisina who had to alert Toscanini of the unfolding events. Toscanini was heard to have said: ” Santa Maria!” It was just one of the many “highlights” of Frisina’s career.
His career saw him contributing to a massive 277 film soundtracks, 300 TV shows and 440 records. Some of his work on film soundtracks include Ben-Hur, Charade, Che!, The Color Purple, Dirty Harry, The Enforcer, and Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. His work with a list of pop artists that looks something like The Hollywood Walk Of Fame, including Desi Arnaz, George Benson, Pat Boone, The Carpenters, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, Harry Connick, Jr., Bing Crosby, Bobby Darin, Doris Day, Earth, Wind & Fire, Percy Faith, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Al Hirt, Billie Holiday, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Eartha Kitt, Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee, Madonna, Melissa Manchester, Henry Mancini, Herbie Mann, Dean Martin, Johnny Mathis, Billy May, Sergio Mendes, Ricky Nelson, Louis Prima, Johnnie Ray, Lionel Richie, Linda Ronstadt, Artie Shaw, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, Barbra Streisand, Mel Torme, Billy Vaughn, Dionne Warwick, and Deniece Williams .
He passed away in Sherman Oaks, Californig, in November 2000 suffering from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams recordings
Emotion (Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb)
S CBS 6164B (UK 45)
He performs violin here on “My Road” by Lee Oskar….