Marek Weber

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Marek Weber (24 October 1888 - 9 February 1964) was a German violinist and bandleader.

Born in Lviv (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), Weber moved in 1906 to Berlin and studied at the Stern Conservatory. At the age of twenty he founded his own orchestra. In 1914 he became resident bandleader at the prestigious Hotel Adlon. Beginning in the early 1920s he and his orchestra began to make recordings, first for the Carl Lindström Company (under the "Parlophon" label), and later for Deutsche Grammophon. In 1926 he moved to the newly formed Electrola, and remained with this label for the remainder of his career in Germany. During this period he was one of the foremost recording artists in Germany, on a par with Paul Godwin, Efim Schachmeister, Ben Berlin and Dajos Béla. Beginning in 1930 Weber occasionally scored films, but he remained chiefly associated with the nightlife of Berlin.

Weber's musical tastes were conservative, and during the early years his orchestra was known for playing Viennese waltzes, two-steps, and other subdued styles. He detested jazz and its anarchic tendencies.[1] However, as a bandleader he had no choice but to incorporate modern styles into his program, and occasionally yield the floor to jazz solos and improvisational riffs, albeit under protest. Whenever his band launched into a jazz interlude, he would pointedly depart the conductor's podium and get a drink at the bar.[2] Despite his personal distaste for the new style, his band included some of the strongest jazz talent in Germany, notably the trumpeters Arthur Briggs and Rolf Goldstein, the pianist Martin Roman, and the banjo player Mike Danzi. His singers included Leo Monosson and Austin Egen.

As a prominent German Jew, Weber was among those composers targeted by the Reichsmusikkammer. Beginning in 1933 his compositions were labeled degenerate music. In late 1932 he left Germany, traveling via London to the United States. Billed as the "Radio Waltz King", he became a fixture of the NBC Red Network, with a star billing on the Carnation Condensed Milk program and frequent guest appearances on other shows.[1]

After the Second World War he purchased a ranch and retired from show business. He bequeathed his personal collection of violins to the Indiana University School of Music. He died in Chicago at the age of seventy-five. After his death, his widow Anna established a scholarship in his name, for one male and one female violinist.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b [1] Peter Dempsey, Marek Weber: His Violin and His Orchestra, 2011
  2. ^ M. H. Kater, Gewagtes Spiel, p. 24f.
  3. ^ Werner Walendowski: Marek Weber (1988-1964). Booklet zu der CD Marek Weber und sein Orchester in der Reihe Die großen Deutschen Tanzorchester. Membran Music Ltd., Hamburg 2005