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As Bugs Bunny enters the pit of the Hollywood Bowl, the orchestra members whisper to each other in awe, "Leopold, Leopold! "

Bugs walks up to the conductor, takes the baton, and and snaps it. Why? Because Leopold Stokowski eschewed the baton in his conducting.

As the founder of The Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra, Stokowski was frequently in Hollywood during the 1930's and 40's. His best known Hollywood gig was as the conductor of Disney's Fantasia.

As a rule, Stokowski's work with The Philadelphia Orchestra is where his legacy resides.

Stokowski was something of a cartoon character as a conductor. He was a gifted musician but Bugs wasn't necessarily exaggerating with his impersonation of Leopold.

Stokowski would sometimes start concerts by dramatically throwing his score to the ground as proof that he did not need it lest some unobservant patron not notice.

He messed around with dramatic lighting of himself in order to create what amounted to an electronic aura about his head and hands.

There is no doubt that during a concert Stokowski considered himself paramount.

Stokowski did leave an enduring legacy in music. His orchestral arrangements of Bach's organ woks have remained popular.

He was also instrumental in the founding of The Curtis School of Music in Philadelphia. The money belonged to Mary Louise Curtis Bok. The Curtis school is considered to be one of the elite music schools in the world.

Concerning Stokowski's recorded legacy, there are numerous recordings. His rendition of Scheherazade remains my favorite.

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Comments

Jay Allen Sanford Sept. 18, 2012 @ 2:53 a.m.

Everything I need to know about opera, I learned from Bugs and Elmer..."Kill da waaaaaabit, kill da WAAAAAAAAbit...."

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Garrett Harris Oct. 1, 2012 @ 9:35 p.m.

Bugs is the greatest apologist classical music has ever had!

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