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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » G » Grofe, Ferde



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Ferde Grofe (3/27/1892 - 4/03/1972)

Ferde Grofé was born Ferdinand Rudolph von Grofé, to Emil and Elsa von Grofé, in New York City on 27 March 1892. Shortly thereafter the family moved to Los Angeles. Ferde Grofé came by his instinct for music quite naturally. His father was a baritone and actor, while his mother was a cellist and music teacher of some note.

In 1906 Grofé left home to work variously as a bookbinder, truck driver, usher, newsboy, elevator operator, lithographer, typesetter and steelworker, studying violin and piano in his spare time. By 1908 he began to take casual musical engagements at lodge dances, parades and picnics and in 1909 met Albert Jerome, a dancing teacher, with whom he toured Californian mining-camps. By day the pair operated a cleaning and pressing establishing, at night Grofé played for Jerome’s pupils. It was also in 1909 that Grofé wrote his first commissioned work, The Grand Reunion March, for an Elks Clubs convention in Los Angeles. He joined the American Federation of Musicians that year and began a ten-year association with the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra, playing the viola.

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