1997 32¢ Ferde Grofé
Conductors and Composers
Issue Date: September 12, 1997
City: Cincinnati, OH
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
As a child Ferde Grofé (1892-1972) studied piano, violin, and harmony with his mother, and viola with his grandfather. He performed as a violinist with the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra for ten years, and also played piano and violin in theater and dance orchestras.
In 1919, the famous conductor Paul Whiteman, known as the “King of Jazz,” heard Grofé’s arrangement of a popular song and hired him. The two formed an important association, with Grofé becoming a leading arranger of “symphonic jazz,” to which Whiteman’s name was closely connected.
Grofé furthered his reputation when he scored George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Soon after, he completed his first original composition, Broadway at Night. This was followed by a series of pieces that celebrated the natural beauty of the United States. His best-known work, Grand Canyon Suite, which was performed by legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini, achieved wide popularity.
Other noted Grofé compositions include The Hudson River Suite, Niagara Falls Suite, and World’s Fair Suite. Appearances as a conductor with many American symphony orchestras and in radio broadcasts further enhanced Grofé’s popularity.