“Danny Kaye Unique Symphony Leader”

Can’t Read a Note; To Raise Money for Pension Fund

The Lewiston Daily Sun – Apr. 2, 1957

BOSTON, April 1(AP)—The Boston Symphony Orchestra, putting on an open rehearsal Wednesday to […unintelligible…] pension fund, will find itself with a conductor who cannot read a note of music: comedian Danny Kaye.

Kaye admitted today that in offering to conduct the benefit performance he had succeeded in scaring himself. He said he hadn’t expected to be featured so heavily in the advance notices.

With the eyes of mute-critical Boston upon him, he reasoned today, “I could appear simply as a comic.” But he promptly brushed aside that idea, saying: “I’m announced as conductor and that’s what I’m going to be.”

“Couldn’t you merely follow the orchestra?” someone asked.

“Absolutely not!” said Kaye. “All my life I’ve loved music. And conducting fascinates me. I’ve studied how it was done by Toscanni, Ormandy, Munch and others.

“Now, I’m putting in a lot of serious work on this Boston Symphony engagement of mine on Wednesday night. And have I been working.”

The work, Kaye indicated, has consisted of listening to recordings of Rossini, Johann Strauss, Leroy Anderson. “Then again,” he adds, “I want to do something serious, consistent with a symphony program—maybe an excerpt from Tschaikowsky or Wagner.”

“I have a pretty good memory,” he explained. “Already I know every […unintelligible…] every cue for various pieces. Believe me, I’m going to conduct!”

“What no comedy?” somebody asked. “Won’t the audience feel gypped?”

“Well,” said Kaye. “I was thinking of giving a little lecture on conducting.”

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