Stereo Review's George Jellinek: 1919-2010 Page 2


So, without further ado, take it away, George:

"I was born in Budapest in 1919 into a music-loving family, and I enjoyed what now seems like a surprisingly serene childhood in those between-the-wars years in Central Europe. I took up the violin before entering first grade (not an unusual occurrence in Hungary) and continued my musical studies for some 11 years, with insufficient diligence and no ambition whatsoever for performing but with an ever-mounting interest and affection for music. The opera bug infected me early in life, and the symptoms grew more ominous as the years progressed.

"My father once asked me whether I had any career preferences. My answer was that I wanted to be a journalist. This amused him no end, for he owned a restaurant in Budapest's theatrical district and regarded journalists as a flighty and irresponsible breed. All this was many years ago, but I often think of my father as I make my way through the New York Times building, the home of radio station WQXR, where I have been music director since 1968.

"The rise of Nazism and the threat of war put an end not only to my musical education but to my rather loosely planned European future as well. After a temporary stopover in Cuba, I arrived in the United States in 1941, entered the Army, and came out 4½ years later as an intelligence officer, thoroughly Americanized and freed of my inborn Continental reticence.

 "Music, my former avocation, became my livelihood in 1948. I have always been fortunate in being able to reconcile 'business' and 'musical' thinking. Whether in record retailing (where I began), in the field of music publishing and music-rights administration (where I spent 9 invaluable years), or in the recording studios (where I functioned as a producer of radio transcriptions and recordings for more than a dozen years), I have been able to work creatively without losing sight of the fact that, in our society, music is unavoidably linked to the marketplace and depends upon it for its very survival.

"In my present position at WQXR, I find the same factors at work. In addition to my administrative duties (which I find just as challenging and almost as satisfying as the creative ones), I have a daily 'live' program, Music in Review (Mondays to Fridays, 2 to 3 p.m.), and a weekly program, The Vocal Scene. The latter is now nationally syndicated and is heard on some 60 stations throughout the United States.

"My writing career has blossomed quite independently from the 'other' one. Irving Kolodin published my first article in Saturday Review in 1953, and David Hall invited me to join Stereo Review as a Contributing Editor in 1958. It gives me special pleasure to be on the same masthead now with my two mentors and old friends.