Violinist Felix Slatkin Died in 1963
Slatkin was concertmaster of the 20th Century Fox studio orchestra and later conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
Born in 1915 in St. Louis, Missouri, Felix Slatkin was an arranger, conductor, and violinist active in Hollywood for two decades from the 1940s. Well known for his contributions to film music and recordings as a conductor, he won international acclaim throughout his career.
At age 10, Slatkin received a scholarship to attend the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied violin and conducting with Efrem Zimbalist and Fritz Reiner, respectively. When he was 17, he was appointed assistant principal violinist of the St. Louis Symphony.
In 1939, he married cellist Eleanor Aller, and also became concertmaster of the 20th Century-Fox Orchestra, for which he and Eleanor — who played as first cellist — performed on the soundtracks to hundreds of films. He held the concertmaster role for 15 years.
Co-founder of the Hollywood String Quartet with his wife, Slatkin recorded 21 albums and shared a GRAMMY in 1958 for their performance of Beethoven's Op. 130 String Quartet. Additionally, Slatkin toured Europe with the group and appeared at events including the renowned Edinburgh Festival.
Slatkin later won a second GRAMMY for his recording conducting Offenbach’s Gaite Parisienne with the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra, of which he previously served as concertmaster.
He was championed by American singer Frank Sinatra for his arrangements and directing of popular music, and became Sinatra’s choice conductor for concerts during the 1950s. The two became close friends and frequent collaborators.
Around this time, Slatkin also produced and conducted two albums of military music on Capitol Records. Additionally, during World War II, Slatkin led the Air Force Orchestra.
Felix Slatkin died on February 8, 1963, from a heart attack at age 47.
His sons are conductor Leonard Slatkin and the late cellist Fred Zlotkin.
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