The eldest son in a privileged Jewish family living in St. Petersburg, Russia, Kostelanetz began piano lessons at the age of 6. In October 1917, the Russian Revolution forced the Kostelanetz family to flee to several locations for survival. His mother and two sisters along with his younger brother, Boris, went to the Caucuses, the territories between southern Russia and Turkey and Iran now known as Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. His father, a real estate broker with business contacts in Finland, traveled to Helsinki. Andre stayed in the family home in St. Petersburg continuing his musical studies at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with support from relatives. He was 16 at the time his family dispersed. In 1922, after the rest of the family had reached New York, Kostelanetz traveled to Minsk and illegally crossed the border into Poland and then to Cherbourg where he boarded a ship for America joining his family in New York.
The early years of his life in St. Petersburg continued to affect Kostelanetz’s artistic aesthetic throughout his life. He brought a polished, lush, and refined style to both popular music and standard classical works. Kostelanetz was a major force in introducing classical music to thousands and his deep friendships with artists and composers like Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Jerome Kerns, and Cole Porter), his letters, memorabilia, manuscripts, and scores remain as testimony of his enormous contribution to the world of music.
In 1937, Kostelanetz married Lily Pons, an operatic soprano and began his long career at Columbia Records through the 70s providing elegant orchestral recordings of popular and classical music. During World War II, he and Lily spent time entertaining troops in Europe. Following his classical roots; Kostelanetz conducted summer parks concerts of the New York Philharmonic and initiated the their parks concerts in 1962 remaining its conductor through 1978. Kostelanetz and Pons divorced in 1958.
Over 50 million André Kostelanetz records have been sold. These include his light classical and popular arrangements and some records reflecting his interest in new classical music. He commissioned important works from several leading American composers. These included Aaron Copland (A Lincoln Portrait), William Schuman (New England Triptych), and Alan Hovhaness (And God Created Great Whales) and (The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam).
|1. Blues in the Night||The Kostelanetz Touch||4:03|
|2. My Man||I Wish You Love||2:21|
|3. While Were Young||I Wish You Love||3:12|
|4. These Foolish Things||I Wish You Love||4:09|
|5. Fools Rush In||I Wish You Love||2:23|
|6. Dancing on the Ceiling||I Wish You Love||3:51|
|7. I’ll Get By||I Wish You Love||2:08|
|8. The Nearness of You||I Wish You Love||2:29|
|9. I’ll Remember You||I Wish You Love||4:40|
|10. Try a Little Tenderness||I Wish You Love||2:56|
|11. With a Song in My Heart||The Kostelanetz Touch||3:33|
|12. S’ Wonderful||The Kostelanetz Touch||2:45|
|13. Dancing in the Dark||The Kostelanetz Touch||3:19|
|14. Manhattan Serenade||The Kostelanetz Touch||4:20|
|15. Night & Day||The Kostelanetz Touch||3:15|
|16. Jerome Kern Medley:
||The Kostelanetz Touch||8:58|
|17. I’ll See You Again||The Kostelanetz Touch||3:12|
Andre Kostelanetz & His Orchestra
I Wish You Love
Sony Music Special Products A2-26624
Andre Kostelanetz & His Orchestra
The Kostelanetz Touch
ASV CD AJA 5422