Jose Iturbi

Jose Iturbi
Larry Armstrong / Los Angeles Times


Jose Iturbi
Music: South side of the 6800 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Conductor | Musician
Born Nov. 28, 1895 in Valencia, Spain
Died June 28, 1980 of heart condition in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Calif.

Jose Iturbi, a concert pianist and conductor, delighted movie audiences in the 1940s by playing boogie-woogie.

Although Iturbi was praised for "popularizing" classical music through his films, on the concert stage he was reviewed and honored as a serious musician.

After a concert performance late in his life before an audience that overflowed on the stage of the Ambassador in Pasadena, a Times reviewer said "his virtues shine as brightly as ever ... He plays the piano beautifully, as always, but in that style which we thought had gone out of style."

He first appeared before the movie cameras in "Thousands Cheer" in 1943 and went on to make a series of film musicals with such stars as Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson and Jeannette MacDonald.

His most widely acclaimed performance was in a movie in which he didn't even appear. Iturbi was the uncredited pianist who played the music of Frederic Chopin in "A Song to Remember," a 1945 picture starring Cornel Wilde as Chopin. His 1945 recording of a Chopin polonaise sold more than a million copies.

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