My Road to Radio and The Vocal Scene: Memoir of an Opera Commentator

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McFarland, Jan 9, 2015 - Music - 251 pages
Born in Ujpest, Hungary, in 1919, George Jellinek began his musical career playing violin with gypsies in the family’s garden restaurant. He spent his adolescence doing much the same, honing his talent and enriching his own musical education with frequent trips to the Hungarian Royal Opera House. But when Hitler and Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact in 1938, Jellinek’s quiet life was shattered. How the exiled teenager survived World War II, worked his way up from a poor Hungarian immigrant in Cuba and became one of the most important and influential musical administrators in New York is an unconventional but truly American success story. This memoir documents the inspiring life of George Jellinek, beginning with his childhood in his beloved Hungary. The crisis of World War II soon invaded his life and, leaving behind his family and homeland, he fled west. Having been finally allowed to enter the United States, he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942, obligated to bear arms against the country of his birth. This ironic turn of events culminated in his firsthand role in the capture of Ferenc Szálasi, the leader of Hungary’s Hitlerite faction. The latter half of the book reveals how music helped Jellinek piece back together his broken life in America. After rising to the post of musical director for radio station WQXR, he went on to become the producer and host of The Vocal Scene. His 36 years with that program established it as a revered fixture of New York’s opera life. The epilogue documents the day on which Hungary’s president bestowed upon Jellinek the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.
 

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Contents

1 Prologue
1
2 Childhood
3
3 School Years
7
4 Hastened Maturity
11
5 The Royal Hungarian Opera House
16
6 Farewell to Europe
23
7 At Sea
28
8 Havana 19391941
34
17 Civilian Life and Musical Beginnings
88
18 Copyrights Country Musicand Callas
98
19 Music in the Background
115
20 Early Radio Days
126
21 Beginnings of The Vocal Scene
133
22 The Workaholic Years
141
23 Matters of the Heart
158
24 A Pseudoretirement
170

9 First Year in the USA
40
10 The US ArmyStateside
46
Two Important Landmarks
52
12 England FranceAnd Some Opera
59
13 The End of the Third Reich
65
14 Salzburg and My Moment in History
72
15 Back to Hungary
77
16 Homecoming
84
25 Years of Travel
183
26 Writing a BookSlowly
194
27 Memorable Vocal Scene Moments
204
28 Closing the Cycle
213
Epilogue
230
Index
237
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About the author (2015)

George Jellinek is music director emeritus of Radio Station WQXR, owned by The New York Times. He lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

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