Frank La Forge (Rockford, Illinois, October 22, 1879 – New York, New York, May 5, 1953) was an American pianist and composer and arranger of art songs.
La Forge was a boy soprano, famous in his hometown of Rockford, Illinois. He first studied piano with his older sister, and went to Vienna in 1900 to study with Theodor Leschetizky. In the following years he toured Europe, Russia, and the United States as an accompanist to Marcella Sembrich. He moved to New York City in 1920, where he became a music teacher, coach, and accompanist. He died at the piano, performing at a Musician's Club dinner.
La Forge accompanied many important opera singers, including Marcella Sembrich, Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Lily Pons, Johanna Gadski and Lucrezia Bori. He taught a number of important American singers, including Marian Anderson, Lawrence Tibbett, Marie Powers, and Richard Crooks. In performance he usually accompanied entirely from memory, considered an unusual feat for an accompanist. His biography in Pathways of Song claimed that he had 'a repertoire of over five thousand memorized accompaniments embracing all schools'.
The Victor record catalog is full of examples of his playing, with amongst others Edmond Clément, Marcella Sembrich and Lucrezia Bori. Unlike its British/European "Sister-Company" (The Gramophone Company later HMV), Victor had, in Frank La Forge, an adept accompanist for its first recordings of Enrico Caruso in 1904; La Forge's accompaniment is accurate, thoughtful and spirited. The Gramophone Company (and therefore Caruso) kept faith (even for their early celebrity issues) with one Salvatore Cottone; perhaps one of the most incompetent pianists committed to wax.
La Forge recorded a number of piano solos, as well as two works accompanying at the organ in 1912, 'Berceuse' and 'Le Cygne' (most likely the famous work by Saint-Saëns) with 'cellist Gutia Casini...
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Elly Ney (27 September 1882 – 31 March 1968, Tutzing) was a German romantic pianist who specialized in Beethoven, and was especially popular in Germany.
She was born in Düsseldorf, where her mother was a music instructor and her father was a registrar. Her grandmother introduced her to the works of Beethoven, and supported her piano playing. She studied at Cologne with Isidor Seiss and Karl Bötcher. After winning the Mendelssohn Scholarship in 1901, she studied in Vienna with Theodor Leschetizky and Emil von Sauer.
She taught at the Cologne Conservatory for three years, then became a touring virtuoso. In 1927 she was given the honorary freedom of Beethoven's birthplace Bonn. In 1932 she founded the Elly Ney Trio with Wilhelm Stross (violin) and Ludwig Hoelscher (cello): in quintets the group recorded with Florizel von Reuter (violin) and Walter Trampler (viola). She traveled to the USA, playing in Carnegie Hall, and many other parts of the world.
She was married twice; first, in 1911, to the conductor Willem van Hoogstraten. They divorced in 1927 and she married an American, Paul Allais (a Chicago coal dealer). Ney died in Tutzing in 1968.
During the Third Reich she joined the Nazi Party in 1937, participated in "cultural education" camps, and became an honorary member of the League of German Girls. She held anti-Semite views. After the war, the city of Bonn imposed a stage ban on her. In 1952 a request for lifting the ban was rejected, stating that Ney was a "pronounced National Socialist".