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Rudolph Gruen (Composer, Arranger)

Born: 1900
Died: 1966 - USA

Rudolph Gruen [Grün] was a pianist, teacher and composer active in the New York area. He taught at what later became the Manhattan School of Music, and at the Juilliard School of Music. Among his students were the songwriter, composer and pianist Cy Coleman (1929-2004), the composer Leander Dell'Anno, the pianist Mary Rachal Lipford (1912-2008), the composer Earl Dumour, the physicist and a composer Arthur Roberts (1912-2004), and the blind pianist Rose Resnick (1906-2006). As a pianist, Gruen was for several years accompanist to the tenor Richard Crooks and later with the soprano Vera Curtis.

Rudolph Gruen pianist and teacher, Frances Hall while they taught at the Manhattan School of Music. The two found they were a congenial piano team, and soon their work as duo-pianists was in demand. On June 4, 1932, they married in the Riverside Church, and continued their busy career, which included nearly 150 radio broadcasts (especially programs on NBC network). Avoiding as much as possible arrangements for two pianos, they preferred to play from the literature originally composed for two pianos. Nevertheless, Gruen also contributed his own arrangements to the duo. Their joint career flourished for over nine years. A highlight of this period was their performance for the Grand Duke Alexander of Russia. After the assassination of most of the royal family during the revolution, he escaped to America and wrote a book, Once a Grand Duke.' Parties were given to promote it, and Frances and Rudolph were asked to perform at one. The party was held in the ballroom of Del Monico's. Frances and Rudolph played Russian selections on the two Steinways, and Grace Moore, then at the height of her fame as an opera and screen star, was also on the program. The duke was enchanted with the Gruens' playing. Afterward he declared he had never heard a woman pianist play so powerfully. Although the joint career of the Gruens was a success, their marriage ended after nine years, and they were divorced in 1941. Their only child, Keith, remained with Frances. In 1946 she married Professor Lyman Ballard, a Naval architect (d 1975). She was a member of the piano faculty at the Manhattan School of Music from 1932 to 1981 and benefactress of the music library. In 1988 she was given an honorary doctorate. She died in 1989.

Missing Biography

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Works (selection)

Orchestral:
Alpine concerto, for piano & orchestra, Op. 50

Chamber:
Valse grotesque, for violin & piano, Op. 8 No. 1

Piano:
The phantom ships, for piano, Op. 2 (original for voice) (1943)
Mountain splendor, for piano, Op. 12B (original two pianos)
Two interludes, for piano, Op. 13
Valse pensive, for 2 pianos, Op. 14, No. 1
Sonata, Op. 29, for piano (1941)
Exploration, for piano, Op. 47
Prelude in G minor, for piano (1927)
Scherzo, for 2 pianos, 4 hands (1936)

Vocal:
Give me a tender heart, for voice & piano (poem by anonymous) (1927)
Romance, for high voice, violin, & piano (words by Patricia Collier) (1927)
The shadow, for voice & piano (poem by John Oxenham) (1929)
Overtones, Op. 21, for voice & piano (poem by William Alexander Percy) (1936)
The phantom ships, for solo voice, chorus (SSAA) & piano; originally for voice & piano (words by Gordon Johnstone)
The David jazz, for voice & piano, Op. 18 (words by Edwin Meade Robinson)
We two, for voice & piano (words by Burke Boyce)

Arrangements:
César Franck: Prelude, fugue and variation, transcribed for 2 pianos, 4 hands
Moritz Moszkowski: Valse brillante in E major, adapted for 2 pianos, 4 hands (1934)
Edward MacDowell: Polonaise, Op. 46, No. 12, arranged for 2 pianos, 4 hands (1942)
Reinhold Moritevich Glière: Russian sailors' dance, transcribed for 2 pianos, 4 hands (1942)
Felix Mendelssohn: On Wings of song, adapted for 2 pianos, 4 hands (1934)
Le comte de St. Germain: L'incostanza delusa, suite from the opera, transcribed for piano by Rudolph Gruen, Op. 49

 

Source: Under the Piano Stool Blog; Bits & pieces from various sources
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2013)

Rudolph Gruen: Short Biography | Piano Transcriptions: Works | Recordings

Links to other Sites

Recorded History: Rudolph Gruen plays Griffes (1928) (Under the Piano Stool)

 

Bibliography

 

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Last update: June 30, 2013 12:42:00