Stan Harper

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Stanley Harper (born 2 September 1921 Brooklyn, New York) is an American virtuoso classical harmonica artist, arranger, and a composer.[1]

Career history[edit]

Harper began his professional harmonica career in 1935, at age 14. Still active, he has performed and recorded nationally on radio, television, record, theaters, and film. In the mid to late 1930s, Harper performed with the The Harmonica Scamps and Three Harpers, both based in New York City. Over the years, he has performed with other renown harmonica players and a range of entertainers and artists, including Eddie Shu (Shulman), Carl Reiner, Howard Morris, Hal David, Werner Klemperer, Sam Wanamaker, and Leon Kirchner.

Up until the death of Charley Leighton, Harper was a regular member of a harmonica jam session held every Tuesday at 3 PM at Charley Leighton's apartment in New York City. In addition to Leighton, regulars included Charles Spranklin (Charles Edward Spranklin; born 1932), William Galison, Randy Weinstein, Stanley Silverstone, Gregoire Maret, Phil Caltabelotta, and Rob Paparozzi.


He is the widower of Era Maria Tognoli (1919–2011),[2][3][4] a 1940s opera soprano who, in 1959, founded the Metro Lyric Opera Company in Allenhurst, New Jersey, and for 52 years (until her death), directed it. Harper and Tongoli were married March 17, 1964, in Asbury Park, New Jersey.[5]

Selected discography[edit]

Recorded at JAC Studios, New York City
1) "Suite no. 2 in B minor for flute, strings, and basso continuo," S. 1067," by Bach, transcribed for flute and piano by Lambros D. Callimahos
2) "Violin concerto in A minor," S. 1041, by Bach, arrangement and fingering by Eduard Herrmann (1850–1937)
3) "Flute concerto in D major, op. 10, No. 3: Il cardellino," by Vivaldi, edited by Waldersee and Zanke
  • Stan Harper Plays Fritz Kreisler, EUCLED Records (European Classic Editions)
  • Stan Harper Play Great Novelettes, EUCLED Records (European Classic Editions)
  • 45, Side 1: "Charade," Side 2: "I Don't Want to Walk Without You," harmonica solo with chorus and orchestra, directed by Henry Jerome, Coral Records

Notable TV, radio, and concert hall performances[edit]

Harper's surname as a hamonica namesake[edit]

Hering Harmonicas, hand maker of diatonic and chromatic harmonicas, located in Blumenau, Santa Catarina, Brazil, produces a popular model bearing Harper's name: The Stan Harper Chromatic 56, a three-octave, 14-hole instrument with 56 brass reeds sealed by a pearwood body bolted to a hardwood comb with chrome-plated cover plates, mouthpiece and slide assembly.

Selected published music[edit]

  • "Baby Sitter Polka," music by Stan Harper, Dana Music Co.,[10] 115 W 45 St., New York, New York, © 2 May 1952
  • "Mosquito Polka," music by Stan Harper, Dana Music Co. © 28 April 1952


General references

Inline citations

  1. ^ Jaine Rodack, Be of Good Cheer: Memories of Harmonica Legend Pete Pedersen (2006)OCLC 136773114 ISBN 9781425960063 ISBN 1425960065
  2. ^ Who's Who in America, Marquis Who's Who, New Providence, New Jersey
         53rd ed., 1999 (1998)
         54th ed., 2000 (1999)
         55th ed., 2001 (2000)
         56th ed., 2002 (2001)
         58th ed., 2004 (2003)
         59th ed., 2005 (2004)
         60th ed., 2006 (2005)
  3. ^ Who's Who of American Women, 26th ed., 2007 Marquis Who's Who, New Providence, New Jersey (2006)
  4. ^ Who's Who in the East, Marquis Who's Who, New Providence, New Jersey
         26th ed., 1997-1998 (1996)
         27th ed., 1999-2000 (1998)
         28th ed., 2000-2001 (2000)
         29th ed., 2002 (2001)
  5. ^ Era Tognoli Married to Harmonica Artist, Red Bank Register (New Jersey), March 18, 1964, pg. 23
  6. ^ Helen Benham is the daughter of Charles Mead Benham (1890–1959), who, in the 1930s, was head master of the Saint Thomas Choir School in New York City
  7. ^ International Who's Who in Music and Musicians' Directory: in the classical and light classical fields, 12th edition, 1990-1991,, edited by David Michael Cummings & Dennis Keith McIntire (born 1944) International Who's Who in Music, Cambridge, England (1990) OCLC 28065697
  8. ^ Who's Who in American Music: Classical, R.R. Bowker, New York (1983) OCLC 10206087
  9. ^ Music & Dance: Stan Harper, New York Magazine, October 22, 1984, pg. 189
  10. ^ Polka Label Head Walter Dana Dies, Billboard Magazine, March 25, 2000, pps. 10 & 85