André (Abram) Kostelanetz was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, into a prominent Jewish family (cousin of the physicist Lew Kowarski and caricaturist Anatol Kowarski), His father, Nachman Yokhelevich (Naum Ignatyevich) Kostelanetz was active on St. Petersburg stock exchange; his grandfather (on maternal side) Aizik Yevelevich Dymshitz was a wealthy merchant and industrialist, engaged in timber production. Kostelanetz escaped in 1922 after the Russian Revolution. He arrived in the United States that year, and in the 1920s, conducted concerts for radio. In the 1930s, he began his own weekly show on CBS, André Kostelanetz Presents.
Kostelanetz was known for arranging and recording light classical music pieces for mass audiences, as well as orchestral versions of songs and Broadway show tunes. He made numerous recordings over the course of his career, which had sales of over 50 million and became staples of beautiful music radio stations. For many years, Kostelanetz also conducted the New York Philharmonic in pops concerts and recordings, in which they were billed as Andre Kostelanetz and His Orchestra.
André Kostelanetz may be best known to modern audiences for a series of easy listening instrumental albums on Columbia Records from the 1940s until 1980. Kostelanetz actually started making this music before there was a genre called "easy listening". He continued until after some of his contemporaries, including Mantovani, had stopped recording.
Outside the United States, one of his best known works was an orchestral arrangement of the tune "With a Song in my Heart", which was the signature tune of a long-running BBC radio program, at first called Forces Favourites, then Family Favourites, and finally Two Way Family Favourites.
He commissioned many works, including Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait, Jerome Kern's Portrait of Mark Twain, William Schuman's New England Triptych, Paul Creston's Frontiers, Ferde Grofé's Hudson River Suite, Virgil Thomson's musical portraits of Fiorello La Guardia and Dorothy Thompson, Alan Hovhaness's Floating World, and Ezra Laderman's Magic Prison. William Walton dedicated his Capriccio burlesco to Kostelanetz, who conducted the first performance and made the first recording, both with the New York Philharmonic.
Toward the end of his recording career, his name was more of a brand than a true representation of who actually made the music, because nearly all of his output in the 1970s was arranged by others. Some of the arrangers credited on 1970s Kostelanetz albums include Teo Macero, Torrie Zito, Hank Levy, Luther Henderson, Jack Cortner, Eddie Sauter, Claus Ogerman, Jack Pleis, Tommy Newsom, Harold Wheeler, Bobby Scott, LaMont Johnson, Wade Marcus, Patrick Williams, Sammy Nestico, Warren Vincent, Dick Hyman, Jorge Calandrelli and Don Sebesky.
He was the first husband of actress/singer Sarah Loy; they were married from 1923 to 1937 when the marriage was dissolved.He was the second husband of the soprano Lily Pons; they were married from 1938 to 1958, when the marriage was dissolved.
His brother Boris Kostelanetz (1911—2006) was a prominent tax defense lawyer.
He died in Haiti on January 13, 1980, aged 78.
- Music of Sigmund Romberg,1946, Columbia Masterworks MM635
- The Music of Victor Herbert, Columbia Masterworks M-415
- Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a, 1956, Columbia Long Playing CL 730
- Music of Irving Berlin, 1950, Columbia Masterworks MM/ML-4314
- The Music of Stephen Foster, 1941, 3 LP Set, Columbia Masterworks M-442 78's
- The Music of Chopin, 1949, Columbia Masterworks MM-840
- Waltzes of Johann Strauss, 195?, Columbia Masterworks ML-2011 10" album
- Music of Cole Porter, 1951, Columbia Masterworks ML-2014
- Music of George Gershwin, 1951, Columbia Masterworks 2026
- Mississippi Suite, 195?, Columbia Masterworks ML-2046 10" album
- Invitation to the Waltz, 195?, Columbia Masterworks ML-2069 10" album
- Swan Lake, Columbia Masterworks ML-4308 195?
- An American in Paris, Columbia Masterworks ML-4455 195?
- Black Magic, 1955, Columbia CL 712
- Prokofiev, Peter and the Wolf & Saint-Seans, Carnival of the Animals, 1955, Columbia CL 720
- Music of Vincent Youmans, 1955, Columbia CL 734
- Verdi: Aida, 1956, Columbia CL 755
- Bravo!, Columbia CL 758
- Vienna Nights, Columbia CL 769
- Music of Fritz Kreisler, Music of Sigmund Romberg, 1955, Columbia CL 771
- You and the Night and the Music, 1956, Columbia CL 772
- Music of Jerome Kern, 1956, Columbia CL 776
- The Lure of the Tropics, 1956, Columbia CL 780
- Stardust, 1956, Columbia CL 781
- Kostelanetz Conducts..., Columbia CL 786
- An American In Paris/Rhapsody In Blue, Columbia CL 795
- La Boheme for Orchestra, 1953, Columbia CL 797
- Clair de Lune and Popular Favorites", Columbia-CL-798 1956
- La Traviata Verdi, Columbia CL 799
- Strauss Waltzes, Columbia CL 805
- Calendar Girl, Columbia CL 811 1956
- The Very Thought of You, Columbia CL 843 1956
- Cafe Continental, Columbia CL 863
- Broadway Spectacular, 1957, Columbia CL 865
- Tender Is the Night, 1957, Columbia CL 886
- The Romantic Music of Rachmaninoff, 1957, Columbia CL 1001
- Blues Opera, Columbia CL 1099
- Encore!, Columbia CL 1135
- The Columbia Album of Richard Rodgers, 1958, Columbia CL 1140
- Theatre Party, 1958, Columbia CL 1199
- The Romantic Music of Tchaikovsky, Vol. 1, 1958, Columbia CL 1208
- The Romantic Music of Tchaikovsky, Vol. 2, 1958, Columbia CL 1209
- Romantic Arias for Orchestra, 1959, Columbia CL 1263
- Music from Flower Drum Song, 1959, Columbia CL 1280/CS 8095
- Great Waltzes, 1959, Columbia CL 1321
- The lure of France, 1959, Columbia CS 8111
- The Lure of Paradise, 1959, Columbia CL 1335/CS 8144
- Strauss Waltzes, 1959, Columbia CL 1354/CS 8162
- Gypsy Passion, 1960, Columbia CL 1431/CS 8228
- Joy to the World, 1960, Columbia CL 1528/CS 8328
- The Unsinkable Molly Brown, 1960, Columbia CL 1576/CS 8376
- Kostelanetz Favorites Columbia ML 4065
- The Nutcracker Suite, 1961, Columbia Masterworks 6264
- The New Wonderland of Sound, 1961, Columbia CL 1657/CS 8457
- Star Spangled Marches, 1962, Columbia CL 1718/CS 8518
- Broadway's Greatest Hits, 1962, Columbia CL 1827/CS 8627
- Fire and Jealousy, Columbia CL 1898/CS 8698
- Music from "Mr. President", 1962, Columbia CL 1921/CS 8721
- Wonderland of Sound, 1963, Columbia-CL-1938
- Wonderland of Golden Hits, 1963, Columbia CL 2039/CS 8839
- Wonderland of Christmas, 1963, Columbia CL 2068/CS 8868
- New York Wonderland, 1964, Columbia CL 2138/CS 8938
- I Wish You Love, 1964, Columbia CL 2185/CS 8985
- New Orleans Wonderland, 1964, Columbia CL 2250/CS 9050
- The Romantic Strings of Andre Kostelanetz, 1965, Columbia Masterworks ML 6119/MS 6711
- Wishing You a Merry Christmas, 1965, Columbia Masterworks ML 6179/MS 6779
- Romantic Waltzes by Tchaikovsky, 1965, Columbia Masterworks MS 6824
- Today's Golden Hits, 1966, Columbia CS 9334
- The Shadow of Your Smile, 1966, Columbia CS 13285
- Exotic Nights, 1967, Columbia CS 9381
- The Kostelanetz Sound of Today, 1967, Columbia CS 9409
- Scarborough Fair, 1968, Columbia CS 9623
- For the Young at Heart, 1968, Columbia CS 9691
- Traces, 1969, Columbia CS 9823
- Andre Kostelanetz Conducts Puccini's "La Boheme" for Orchestra, 1969, Columbia Masterworks MS 7219
- Greatest Hits of the '60s, 1970, Columbia CS 9973
- I'll Never Fall In Love Again, 1970, Columbia CS 9998
- Everything Is Beautiful, 1970, Columbia 30037
- Sunset, 1970, Columbia Masterworks 30075
- And God Created Great Whales (Hovhaness), 1971, Columbia 30390
- Love Story, 1971, Columbia 30501
- For All We Know, 1971, Columbia 30672
- Plays Chicago, 1971, Columbia 31002
- Plays Cole Porter, 1972, Columbia 31491
- Love Theme From "The Godfather", 1972, Harmony 31500
- Last Tango In Paris, 1973, Columbia 32187
- Moon River, 1973, Columbia 32243
- Plays Great Hits of Today, 1973, Columbia 32415
- The Way We Were, 1974, Columbia 32578
- Plays Michel Legrand's Greatest Hits, 1974, Columbia 32580
- Plays Gershwin, 1974, Columbia 32825
- Musical Reflections of Broadway And Hollywood, 1974, Columbia 33061
- Plays "Murder on the Orient Express", 1975, Columbia 33437
- Never Can Say Goodbye, 1975, Columbia 33550
- I'm Easy, 1976, Columbia 34157
- Dance With Me, 1976, Columbia 34352
- Plays Broadway's Greatest Hits, 1977, Columbia 34864
- You Light Up My Life, 1978, Columbia 35328
- Theme From "Superman", 1979, Columbia 35781
- Various Themes, 1980, Columbia 36382
- Andre Kostelanetz & His Orchestra: "Carmen" LP #693cl735 Columbia 1950 U.S.A.
- Kostelanetz, André, with Gloria Hammond, Echoes: Memoirs of André Kostelanetz. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981. (ISBN 0151273928).
- Memoirs of E. L. Kovarskaya
- Interview with Lew Kowarski
- ANDRE KOSTELANETZ, THE MAN WHO STARTED IT ALL
- Cross, Lucy. "Andre Kostelanetz".
- Liner notes from Musical Evenings: André Koselanetz, mfp Classics, CFP 4074
- http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2008/08-171.html; http://andrekostelanetz.com/timeline/top.htm
- Boris Kostelanetz, 94, Tax Defense Lawyer for the Notable, Dies
- James H. North (2011). Andre Kostelanetz on Records and on the Air: A Discography and Radio Log. Lanham, Toronto, Plymouth, UK: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8108-7732-0.