Shilkret, Nat(haniel) [Schüldkraut, Naftule]
- George J. Ferencz
(b Queens, NY, Dec 25, 1889; d Long Island, NY, Feb 18, 1982). American conductor, composer and arranger. Details of his education are obscure, though an honorary doctorate was awarded by Bethany College (Kansas) in 1935. Pietro Floridia was his principal teacher of composition and orchestration. A fine clarinettist, Shilkret played with the Russian SO, as well as New York's SO, PO and Metropolitan Opera orchestra. He also performed in bands led by Sousa, Pryor and Goldman. Freelance recording engagements led to employment at the Victor Talking Machine Corporation (later RCA Victor) before 1920. He is best known for his work at Victor where, as Director of Light Music, he conducted recordings by his Victor Salon Orchestra and other ensembles, of which dozens were bestsellers in the 1920s and 30s. While most of his recordings were of a popular or light-classical nature, he also provided orchestral accompaniments for the singers Bori, Crooks, Gigli, Garden and McCormack. His conducting activities in New York included thousands of network radio broadcasts. He also wrote several popular songs, the most successful of which, ...