Concert Hall Society

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Concert Hall Society
Handel Society
Opera Society
Chamber Music Society
Musical Masterpiece Society
Jazztone Society
FoundedSeptember 19, 1956 (1956-09-19)
(62 years ago)
FounderSam & David Josefowitz
GenreClassical, jazz, pop
Country of originUnited States
Western Europe
LocationNew York City, New York, U.S.

Concert Hall Society, Inc., was a New York City-based membership-subscription-oriented record production and distribution company founded in 1946 by Samuel Mulik Josefowitz (1921–2015) and David Josefowitz (1918–2015), brothers. The New York office was located at 250 West 57th Street in Manhattan. The Josefowitz's sold Concert Hall Society in 1956 to Crowell-Collier Publishing Company.[1] The name Concert Hall Society was also one of several labels owned by the company.

History[edit]

Principal founders
Samuel and David Josefowitz's father, Zachar Josefowitz (1884–1949), owned a large piece of land in Maine that the United State government used for its earliest research in atomic energy, which generated income that was helped finance the founding of Concert Hall Society, Inc. Samuel earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering in 1942 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. David Josefowitz was an expert in plastics and had a PhD in Chemistry from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn,[2] which now is part of the New York University Tandon School of Engineering.[3] Samuel Josefowitz was born in Anykščiai, Lithuania. David Josefowitz was born in Kharkov, Ukraine. Samuel was an accomplished amateur classical pianist and David was an accomplished violinist. David occasionally composed under the pseudonym Jose Davido.[4]

Impetus for founding the company
Sam and David Josefowitz, with their father as President – while running their family chemical business on Long Island – were offered a 20-ton consignment of vinyl resin, a raw material for manufacturing record disks, at a bargain price. Given their love of music and their expertise in chemistry and manufacturing, they pondered the idea of producing classical music records and distributing them through a mail-order record club.[5]

Concert Hall Society, Inc.
Concert Hall Society, Inc., was incorporated in New York on September 1956.

Sale by founding principals to Crowell-Collier
In July 1956, the Josefowitz's sold Concert Hall Society and four record clubs to Crowell-Collier Publishing Company. The four record clubs were (i) Musical Masterpiece Society, (ii) Jazztone Society, (iii) Chamber Music Society, and (iv) Opera Society.[1] At the time of the sale, the company had a combined mailing list of 600,000 LP record buyers. Over 1,000 recordings were included in the transaction. Concert Hall Society reported that its membership had reach 275,000 as of February 10, 1963.[6]

Current status
The entity is, as of 2018, still an active entity, but incorporated as a Delaware corporation and registered in New York as a foreign corporation. Its registered address is:

Concert Hall Society, Inc.
640 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10019

Subsidiaries and sub-labels[edit]

Handel Society[edit]

The Handel Society was a record label established in 1951 by the Concert Hall Society.

Opera Society[edit]

The Opera Society, Inc., began producing records of opera in 1953.

Chamber Music Society[edit]

Chamber Music Society was established as a membership record label in 1952. The Chamber Music Society disks were pressed on red vinyl.

Musical Masterpiece Society[edit]

The Musical Masterpiece Society (MMS) (nl) was a European-based subsidiary of Concert Hall Society founded in 1952. Like Concert Hall Society, MMS was distributed to subscribers, but unlike Concert Hall, subscribers did not have to commit to a fixed number of records. MMS initially focused on the standard classical repertoire, which, from a marketing perspective, made the label an attractive alternative for subscribers who wanted to build a new collection. A Musical Masterpiece disc often sold for 50% less than one of a premium label disc. MMS issued savings stamps to subscribers as part of its "Grammoclub."

The Musical Masterpiece Society was originally named the Musical Masterwork Society. But after Columbia Records claimed use of the "Masterwork" tag, the Josefowitz brothers agreed in 1953 to switch to its present name.

In the mid-1950s, MMS had offices in Amsterdam on Paulus Potterstraat (nl) and a branch office in Utrecht. The MMS brand disappeared from the market in the early-1960s.

Musical Masterpiece Society labels

Vargal[edit]

Jazztone Society[edit]

The Jazztone Society (nl) was the jazz mail-order subscription subsidiary of Concert Hall Society, Inc. Jazztone began in around 1955 with mail-order rights to Milt Gabler's old Commodore catalog.[7] Concert Hall Society also acquired Dial Records in 1954. Jazztone was distributed in French language markets as Guilde du Jazz. The Jazztone Society was the first independent mail-order jazz record club in the United States. Columbia's Record Club, Columbia House, which included a jazz division, was the second. Jazz at the Philharmonic, established in 1955 and launched the following year by Norman Granz, was the third.[8] Jazztone not only re-issued the Dial catalog, but also produced its own.[9]

George T. Simon — jazz journalist, drummer, brother of Richard L. Simon, co-founder of Simon & Schuster, and uncle of singer-songwriter Carly Simon — ran Jazztone from 1956, when it was sold to Crowell-Collier, through 1957.

Jazztone re-issued recordings from the catalogs of Fantasy, Pacific Jazz, Vanguard, Storyville, Commodore, Urania, Period, Roost, Victor (out of catalog recordings), Dial (acquired by Concert Hall Society), Black & White (defunct),[7][10] Purist,[a] Paradox, Jazz Information, Black Deuce,[b] and Okidoke.[c][11]

Selected artists, re-issued by Jazztone
Selected artists produced by Jazztone and/or Concert Hall Society

Varieton[edit]

The Varieton label carried classical music that was more oriented towards lighter classical and chamber music.

Guilde Internationale du Disque[edit]

Guilde Internationale du Disque, founded in France in 1952, got its first subscription in 1953. The company also distributed in retail stores. Disks were pressed by Turicaphon AG. Sublabel: La Division Des Connaisseurs. In 1986, Guilde Internationale du Disque merged with Éditions Atlas (fr).

Licensing affiliates[edit]

Nixa Records had a licensing arrangement with a number of American classical music record companies, including Concert Hall Records, to manufacture and market its catalogues in the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth.

Membership data[edit]

Concert Hall Society reported that its membership had reach 275,000 as of February 10, 1963.[6]

Selected discography[edit]

  • Concert Hall Society's first release:
Prokofiev's String Quartet No. 2 in F major
Gordon String Quartet: Jacques Gordon (1897–1948), 1st violin; Urico Michael Rossi (1916–2001), 2nd violin; David Paul Dawson (1913–1975), viola; Fritz Magg, cello
Liner notes: Kurt List (1913–1970)

Other mail-order subscription record clubs[edit]

Notes & references[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Purist Records were produced by the London-based Bunk Johnson Appreciation Society between 1954 and 1963.
  2. ^ a b Black Deuce Records was a bootleg label that likely had been operated by Teddy Reig and Herman Lubinsky.
  3. ^ a b c Okidoke was one of some 53 bootleg labels operated by Boris Rose (1918–2000), an amateur engineer, expert radio recording hobbyist, and major record collector. He owned over 100,000 records. Rose recorded from AM radio many of Charlie Parker broadcasts during his primacy. Rose is highly lauded for having preserved Parker's early broadcasts.
  4. ^ a b The Melrose label only recorded three sessions, all in New York and all in 1945 – one led by Buck Clayton, one by Bobby Hackett, and one by Hot Lips Page. The sessions were produced by Melvin Rose, who owned the label and the masters.
  5. ^ The Jazz Information label was distributed by Commodore Records.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Crowell-Collier Co. Buys Concert Hall Label, 5 M.-O. Clubs – Publishing Firm Gets All Rights In U.S. to Josefowitz Holdings," Billboard, August 4, 1956, pps. 16 & 56
  2. ^ "Investigation of Kinetics of Vinyl Polymerization" (PhD dissertation), by David Josefowitz, Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (1945) (488 pages) (citation source: dissexpress.proquest.com/dxweb/results.html?pubnum=0157321)
  3. ^ Revolutionizing Children's Records: The Young People's Records and Children's Record Guild Series, 1946–1977, by David Bonner, Scarecrow Press (2008), pps. 17 & 18; OCLC 859155478
  4. ^ "The Led the Way," by Richard Wolff Schmelzer (1906–1984), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, August 1980
  5. ^ "David Josefowitz, Music Entrepreneur – Enterprising conductor who made his fortune selling records by mail-order (obituary), The Daily Telegraph, April 16, 2015
  6. ^ a b "Japan: Nippon Columbia Has Miller Line," by Junzo Fukunishi, Billboard, March 23, 1963, p. 29
  7. ^ a b "Jazztone Gets Rights to Brubeck Material," Billboard, June 3, 1957, p. 20
  8. ^ Granz, Mail-Order Interests Sign Pact," Billboard, December 17, 1955, p. 40
  9. ^ "Hall of Fame LPs" (article preview), by Geoffrey Wheeler, IAJRC Journal, Vol. 46, No. 2, June 2013; ISSN 0098-9487
  10. ^ Jazz by Mail: Record Clubs and Record Labels, 1936–1958, Jazztone and Dial Records, Geoffrey Wheeler, Manassas, Virginia: Hillbrook Press (1998); OCLC 260107724
  11. ^ The Jazz Discography Online, Tom Lord (ed.), Lord Music (retrieved November 8, 2018); OCLC 182585494, 690104143
  12. ^ Four Walt Whitman Songs (1942, 1947), Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, 7 East 20th Street, 3rd floor, New York, New York (retrieved November 26, 2018)
  13. ^ "'Song of Myself:' Themes of Identity and Context in Selected Early Twentieth-century Settings of Walt Whitman" (DMA dissertation), Anthony Zoeller, University of Cincinnati (2010); OCLC 657133638 (accessible via PQDT at pqdtopen.proquest.com/doc/751926506)
  14. ^ Concert Hall: Discography of the Concert Hall Society and Concert Hall Record Club, John Hunt, London: Travis & Emery Music Bookshop (March 7, 2011); OCLC 720754090, 859536436, 752062440