Famous Orchestra Leaders in History

Birthdays in Music

  • 1890-03-28 Paul Whiteman "The King of Jazz", American orchestra leader (George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue"), born in Denver, Colorado (d. 1967)
  • 1890-08-12 Al Goodman, Nikopol Russia, orchestra leader (NBC Comedy Hour)
  • 1892-07-02 Jack Hylton, English orchestra leader and impresario (Crazy Passage Show), born in Great Lever, Lancashire, England (d. 1965)
  • 1894-06-26 Bill Wirges, American orchestra leader (Growing Paynes), born in Buffalo, New York (d. 1971)
  • 1896-11-25 Rex Maupin, American orchestra leader (Tin Pan Alley TV), born in St Joseph, Missouri (d. 1966)
  • 1898-12-30 Vincent Lopez, American orchestra leader (Welcome Aboard), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1900-07-29 Don Redman, American jazz musician and orchestra leader (Sugar Hill Times), born in Piedmont, West Virginia (d. 1964)
  • 1900-08-08 Victor Young, orchestra leader (Milton Berle Show, In Old California), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1901-05-21 Horace Heidt, Alameda California, orchestra leader (Swift Show Wagon)
  • 1902-06-19 Guy Lombardo, Canadian-American orchestra leader (Auld Lang Syne), born in London, Ontario, Canada (d. 1977)
  • 1902-08-03 Ray Block, French orchestra leader (Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason), born in Alsace-Lorraine (d. 1982)
  • 1902-12-19 Leonard Hirsch, British violinist/orchestra leader (RAF Symph Orchestra)
  • 1903-03-11 Lawrence Welk, American accordionist and orchestra leader (Lawrence Welk Show), born in Strasburg, North Dakota (d. 1992)
  • 1903-03-25 Frankie Carle, orchestra leader (Golden Touch), born in Providence, Rhode Island
  • 1904-02-29 Jimmy Dorsey, American orchestra leader (Stage Show), born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
  • 1904-04-03 Peter Van Steeden, composer and orchestra leader (Break the Bank), born in Amsterdam (d. 1990)
  • 1904-04-29 Russ Morgan, American orchestra leader (Welcome Aboard), born in Scranton, Pennsylvania (d. 1969)
  • 1905-06-06 John Gart, Russian orchestra leader (Paul Winchell Show), born in Russia (d. 1989)
  • 1905-11-15 Annunzio Mantovani, Italian orchestra leader (Mantovani), born in Venice, Italy (d. 1980)
  • 1906-07-13 Harry Sosnik, American orchestra leader (Jack Carter Show, Your Hit Parade), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1996)
  • 1906-12-09 Freddy Martin, American orchestra leader (started Merv Griffin) and tenor saxophonist, born in Cleveland, Ohio (d. 1983)
  • 1907-01-26 Eddie Ballantine, orchestra leader (Don McNeill TV Club), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1907-05-27 Felix de Nobel, Dutch orchestra leader and pianist, born in Haarlem, Netherlands (d. 1981)
  • 1907-08-18 Enoch Light, American orchestra leader (Gulf Road Show with Bob Smith), born in Canton, Ohio (d. 1978)
  • 1908-03-26 Hank Sylvern, American orchestra leader (Jane Froman's USA Canteen), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1908-06-14 John Scott Trotter, American orchestra leader (George Gobel Show), born in Charlotte, North Carolina (d. 1975)
  • 1908-09-14 Bernie Green, American orchestra leader (Arthur Godfrey Show, Garry Moore Show), born in NYC, New York
  • 1908-11-24 Ray Carter, American orchestra leader (Arthur Murray Dance Party), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1909-06-12 Archie Bleyer, American orchestra leader (Arthur Godfrey), born in Queens, New York (d. 1989)
  • 1910-03-13 Sammy Kaye, American orchestra leader (Swing and Sway With Sammy Kaye), born in Cleveland, Ohio (d. 1987)
  • 1910-05-12 Gordon Jenkins, American arranger and orchestra leader (Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra), born in Webster Groves, Missouri (d. 1984)
  • 1910-06-15 David Rose, orchestra leader (Red Skelton Show, Stripper), born in London, England
  • 1910-06-18 Ray McKinley, American orchestra leader and jazz drummer (Glenn Miller Time), born in Fort Worth, Texas (d. 1995)
  • 1910-12-24 Mitchell Ayres, American orchestra leader (Hollywood Palace), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1911-07-01 Alvino Rey, American orchestra leader (King Family), born in Cleveland, Ohio (d. 2004)
  • 1911-08-26 Lester Lanin, orchestra leader (40 Beatle Hits)
  • 1911-10-01 Irwin Kostal, orchestra leader and arranger (West Side Story, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1994)
  • 1911-10-07 Vaughn Monroe, singer/orchestra leader (Vaughn Monroe Show), born in Akron, Ohio
  • 1911-10-19 George Cates, American orchestra leader (Lawrence Welk Show), born in NYC, New York
  • 1912-03-12 Paul Weston [Wetstein], American pianist and orchestra leader (Jim Nabors Hour, Crescent City Suite), born in Springfield, Massachusetts (d. 1996)
  • 1912-03-19 Russ Case, Hamburg Iowa, orchestra leader (Julius La Rosa Show)
  • 1912-05-04 Lou Brown, American orchestra leader (Jerry Lewis Show), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2007)
  • 1913-06-02 Bert Farber, American orchestra leader (Arthur Godfrey, Vic Damone), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2005)
  • 1913-08-08 Axel Stordahl, American arranger & orchestra leader (Frank Sinatra Show), born in Staten Island, New York (d. 1963)
  • 1913-09-22 Leroy Holmes, orchestra leader (Tonight Show, 1956-57), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 1914-02-09 Ralph Herman, orchestra leader (Circus Time), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1914-05-09 Frank Chacksfield, English pianist, arranger and orchestra leader, born in Battle, England (d. 1995)
  • 1914-05-30 Bobby Sherwood, orchestra leader (Milton Berle Show), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1914-06-26 Richard Maltby Sr., American musician and orchestra leader (Vaughn Monroe Show), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1991)
  • 1914-08-28 Glenn Osser, American orchestra leader (Paul Whiteman Goodyear Revue), born in Munising, Michigan (d. 2014)
  • 1915-01-19 Alvy West, American orchestra leader (Andy Williams Show), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1915-01-31 Bobby Hackett, American jazz cornetist and orchestra leader (Air time '57), born in Providence, Rhode Island (d. 1976)
  • 1915-05-02 Van Alexander, American composer and orchestra leader (Gordon MacRae Show), born in NYC, New York (d. 2015)
  • 1915-09-11 Jack Fascinato, American pianist and orchestra leader (Kukla Fran & Ollie), born in Bevier, Missouri (d. 1994)
  • 1916-01-09 Vic Mizzy, American composer and band leader (Green Acres and The Addams Family themes), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2009)
  • 1916-01-17 Joel Herron, American orchestra leader (Jaye P Morgan Show), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2012)
  • 1916-03-22 George Wyle, American orchestra leader (Jerry Lewis Show, Flip Wilson Show), born in NYC, New York
  • 1916-03-26 Vic Schoen, American orchestra leader (Patti Page Olds Show), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1916-11-10 Billy May, American orchestra leader and composer (The Green Hornet, Mod Squad, Batman), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 2004)
  • 1916-12-19 Hal Hastings, American orchestra leader (Chevrolet on Broadway), born in NYC, New York (d. 1973)
  • 1917-03-13 Ina Ray Hutton, American orchestra leader (Ina Ray Hutton Show), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1984)
  • 1917-07-09 Ted Steele, American orchestra leader (Cavalcade of Stars), born in Hartford, Connecticut (d. 1985)
  • 1918-01-27 Skitch Henderson, orchestra leader (Tonight Show), born in Birmingham, England
  • 1918-09-04 Gerald Wilson, American jazz trumpeter and orchestra leader (Redd Foxx), born in Shelby, Mississippi (d. 2014)
  • 1918-09-13 Ray Charles, American orchestra leader (Perry Como), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2015)
  • 1918-10-10 Bobby Byrne, American orchestra leader (Club Seven), born in Columbus, Ohio (d. 2006)
  • 1918-12-02 Milton Delugg, American orchestra leader (Tonight Show), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2015)
  • 1918-12-25 Eddie Safranski, orchestra leader (Jonathan Winters Show), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 1919-01-01 Bernard Drukker, Dutch organist/pianist/orchestra leader (Devil's Wheel)
  • 1919-01-16 Bob Boucher, Kent Ohio, orchestra leader (Music on Ice)
  • 1919-02-08 Buddy Morrow, orchestra leader (Jimmie Rodgers Show)
  • 1919-03-14 Luther Henderson Jr, American orchestra leader (Polly Bergen Show), born in Kansas City, Missouri (d. 2003)
  • 1919-04-07 Ralph Flanagan, orchestra leader (Let's Dance), born in Loraine, Ohio
  • 1920-02-27 Jose Melis, orchestra leader (Jack Paar Program), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1920-03-27 Richard Hayman, American orchestra leader (Vaughn Monroe Show), born in Cambridge, Massachusetts (d. 2014)
  • 1921-01-30 Bernie Leighton, American orchestra leader (Chance of a Lifetime), born in West Haven, Connecticut (d. 1994)
  • 1921-07-04 Tibor Varga, Hungarian violinist and orchestra leader (Ripley's Game), born in Győr, Hungary (d. 2003)
  • 1921-07-21 Billy Taylor, orchestra leader (David Frost Show), born in Greenville, North Carolina
  • 1921-10-13 Harper MacKay, American orchestra leader (NBC Follies), born in Boston, Massachusetts (d. 1995)
  • 1922-01-20 Ray Anthony, American orchestra leader (Ray Anthony Show, Peter Gunn Theme), born in Bentleyville, Pennsylvania
  • 1922-03-14 Les Baxter, American exotica musician, orchestra leader and composer (Ritual Of The Savage, Born Again), born in Mexia, Texas (d. 1996)
  • 1922-09-20 Frank Comstock, American orchestra leader (Jimmie Rodgers Show), born in San Diego, California (d. 2013)
  • 1922-10-29 Neal Hefti, American orchestra leader (Kate Smith Show) and composer (Li'l Darlin), born in Hastings, Nebraska (d. 2008)
  • 1923-03-21 Mort Lindsey, orchestra leader (Merv Griffin Show), born in Newark, New Jersey
  • 1923-08-06 Jack Parnell, orchestra leader (Englebert Humperdick Show), born in London, England
  • 1923-10-16 Bert Kaempfert, German orchestra leader and songwriter, born in Hamburg (d. 1980)
  • 1924-04-07 Nick Perito, orchestra leader (Don Knotts Show, Big Show), born in Denver, Colorado
  • 1924-07-06 Louie Bellson, American jazz drummer and orchestra leader (Pearl Bailey Show), born in Rock Falls, Illinois (d. 2009)
  • 1924-10-15 Colin Romoff, American orchestra leader (Andy Williams Show), born in NYC, New York (d. 2007)
  • 1924-10-18 Allyn Ferguson, orchestra leader (Andy Williams Show), born in San Jose, California
  • 1925-02-14 Elliot Lawrence, orchestra leader (Guide Right, Howard Cosell), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1925-03-25 James Moody, American jazz saxophonist/flutist/orchestra leader
  • 1926-10-06 Alan Copeland, American orchestra leader and singer (Your Hit Parade), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1927-03-10 Donn Trenner, orchestra leader (ABC's Nightlife), born in New Haven, Connecticut
  • 1927-04-06 Gerry Mulligan, American saxophonist and orchestra leader (Jazz on a Summer Day), born in Queens, New York (d. 1996)
  • 1928-11-06 Peter Matz, American musician and orchestra leader (Hullabaloo, The Carol Burnett Show), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 2002)
  • 1930-07-09 Buddy Bregman, American orchestra leader (Eddie Fisher Show), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1932-11-28 Ethel L Ennis, US orchestra leader/jazz singer (Once Again)
  • 1933-04-16 Perry Botkin Jr, American orchestra leader (Bert Convy Show), born in NYC, New York
  • 1933-06-02 Bob Rozario, orchestra leader (Tony Orlando, Marie), born in Shanghai, China

Deaths in Music

  • 1956-02-27 Frank Dailey, orchestra leader (Music at Meadowbrook), dies at 54
  • 1956-11-11 Victor Young, orchestra leader (Milton Berle Show), dies at 56
  • 1957-06-12 James F "Jimmy" Dorsey, US orchestra leader, dies at 53
  • 1961-03-27 Jack Kane, orchestra leader (Steve & Eydie, Andy Williams Show), dies at 37
  • 1963-08-30 Axel Stordahl, orchestra leader (Frank Sinatra Show), dies at 50
  • 1964-10-10 Russ Case, orchestra leader (Julius La Rosa Show), dies at 52
  • 1964-11-30 Don Redman, American jazz musician and orchestra leader (Sugar Hill Times), dies at 64
  • 1965-01-27 Theo Uden Marsman, Dutch orchestra leader, dies at 63
  • 1965-01-29 Jack Hylton, English orchestra leader and impresario (Crazy Passage Show), dies at 72
  • 1965-10-15 Carl Hoff, orchestra leader (Music Hall), dies at 60
  • 1967-12-29 Paul Whiteman "The King of Jazz", American orchestra leader (Fabulous Dorseys), dies at 77
  • 1968-05-23 Merle Kendrick, orchestra leader (Window on the World), dies at 72
  • 1969-08-07 Russ Morgan, American orchestra leader (Welcome Aboard), dies at 65
  • 1969-09-05 Mitchell Ayres, orchestra leader (Hollywood Palace), dies at 58
  • 1972-01-10 Al Goodman, Russian/US orchestra leader (NBC Comedy Hour), dies at 81
  • 1972-10-30 Alan Roth, orchestra leader (Milton Berle Show), dies at 68
  • 1973-05-21 Vaughn Monroe, singer/orchestra leader (Vaughn Monroe Show), dies at 61
  • 1973-05-30 Hal Hastings, American orchestra leader (Chevrolet on Broadway), dies at 66
  • 1974-01-05 Roy Bargy, orchestra leader (Jimmy Durante Show), dies at 79
  • 1975-03-11 Sammy Spear, orchestra leader (Dom Deluise Show), dies at 65
  • 1975-10-29 John Scott Trotter, American orchestra leader (George Gobel Show), dies at 67
  • 1975-12-20 Vincent Lopez, orchestra leader (Welcome Aboard), dies at 76
  • 1976-06-07 Bobby Hackett, American jazz cornetist and orchestra leader (Air time '57), dies at 61
  • 1977-04-22 Charles Sanford, American orchestra leader (Your Show of Shows), dies at 71
  • 1977-07-10 Norman Paris, orchestra leader (For Your Pleasure), dies at 41
  • 1977-11-05 Guy Lombardo, Canadian-American orchestra leader (Auld Lang Syne), dies in Houston at 75
  • 1978-07-31 Enoch Light, American orchestra leader (Gulf Road Show with Bob Smith), dies at 70
  • 1979-07-10 Arthur Fiedler, orchestra leader (Boston Pops), dies at 84
  • 1980-03-29 Annunzio Mantovani, Italian orchestra leader (Mantovani), dies at 74
  • 1980-06-21 Bert Kaempfert, German orchestra leader and songwriter, dies of a stroke at 56
  • 1981-01-23 Bobby Sherwood, orchestra leader (Milton Berle Show), dies at 66
  • 1981-03-25 Felix de Nobel, Dutch orchestra leader and pianist, dies at 73
  • 1982-03-29 Ray Block, French orchestra leader (Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason), dies at 79
  • 1983-09-30 Freddy Martin, American orchestra leader (started Merv Griffin) and tenor saxophonist, dies at 76
  • 1984-02-19 Ina Ray Hutton, American orchestra leader (Ina Ray Hutton Show), dies at 66
  • 1984-03-05 Harry Salter, orchestra leader (Stop the Music), dies at 85
  • 1984-05-01 Gordon Jenkins, American arranger and orchestra leader (Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra), dies of Lou Gehrig's disease at 73
  • 1985-03-18 Jack Miller, orchestra leader (Kate Smith Evening Hour), dies at 89
  • 1985-07-16 Wayne King, orchestra leader (Wayne King Show), dies at 84
  • 1985-10-15 Ted Steele, American orchestra leader (Cavalcade of Stars), dies at 68
  • 1985-12-25 George Rhodes, orchestra leader (Sammy Davis Jr Show), dies at 66
  • 1986-07-27 Leroy Holmes, American orchestra leader (The Tonight Show, 1956-57), dies at 72
  • 1986-12-01 Horace Heidt, orchestra leader (Swift Show Wagon), dies at 85

Person of interestBuddy Rich

1987-04-02 Buddy Rich, drummer/orchestra leader (Away We Go), dies at 69

Jazz Drummer/Band Leader Buddy Rich
Jazz Drummer/Band Leader
Buddy Rich
  • 1987-06-02 Sammy Kaye, American orchestra leader (Swing and Sway With Sammy Kaye)), dies of cancer at 77
  • 1988-05-27 Melvin J "Cy" Oliver, US jazz composer/orchestra leader, dies at 77
  • 1989-03-20 Archie Bleyer, American orchestra leader (Arthur Godfrey), dies at 79
  • 1989-09-28 John Gart, Russian orchestra leader (Paul Winchell Show), dies at 84
  • 1991-08-19 Richard Maltby Sr., American musician and orchestra leader (Vaughn Monroe Show), dies at 77
  • 1991-09-08 Jo Budie, Dutch orchestra leader (KRO), dies
  • 1992-12-13 Bernard Drukker, Dutch pianist/orchestra leader (duivelswiel), dies
  • 1994-05-24 Sandor Lakatos, Hungarian violist/orchestra leader, dies at 69
  • 1995-05-07 Ray McKinley, American orchestra leader and jazz drummer (Glenn Miller Time), dies at 84
  • 1995-06-02 Harper MacKay, American orchestra leader (NBC Follies), dies at 73
  • 1995-06-09 Frank Chacksfield, English, pianist, arranger and orchestra leader, dies at 81
  • 1996-01-15 Les Baxter, American exotica musician, orchestra leader and composer (Ritual Of The Savage, Born Again), dies at 73
  • 1996-01-20 Gerry Mulligan, American saxophonist and orchestra leader (Jazz on a Summer Day), dies of complications from a knee infection at 68
  • 1996-09-20 Paul Weston [Wetstein], American pianist and orchestra leader (Jim Nabors Hour, Crescent City Suite), dies from natural causes at 84
  • 2000-11-12 Franck Pourcel, French popular orchestra leader (b. 1913)
  • 2003-09-04 Tibor Varga, Hungarian violinist and orchestra leader (Ripley's Game), dies at 82
  • 2004-01-22 Billy May, American orchestra leader and composer (The Green Hornet, Mod Squad, Batman), dies at 87
  • 2004-02-24 Alvino Rey, American orchestra leader (King Family), dies at 95
  • 2005-08-27 Bert Farber, American orchestra leader (Arthur Godfrey, Vic Damone), dies at 92
  • 2006-11-25 Bobby Byrne, American orchestra leader (Club Seven), dies at 88
  • 2007-01-07 Lou Brown, American orchestra leader (Jerry Lewis Show), dies at 94
  • 2007-02-04 Colin Romoff, American orchestra leader (Andy Williams Show), dies at 82
  • 2008-10-11 Neal Hefti, American orchestra leader (Kate Smith Show) and composer (Li'l Darlin), dies at 85
  • 2009-02-14 Louie Bellson, American jazz drummer and orchestra leader (Pearl Bailey Show), dies at 84
  • 2013-05-21 Frank Comstock, American orchestra leader (Jimmie Rodgers Show), dies at 90
  • 2014-02-05 Richard Hayman, American orchestra leader (Vaughn Monroe Show), dies at 93
  • 2014-09-08 Gerald Wilson, American jazz trumpeter and orchestra leader (Redd Foxx), dies at 96
  • 2015-04-06 Milton Delugg, American orchestra leader (The Tonight Show), dies at 96