Saturday, August 09, 2008

Ferrante and Teicher's Louis Teicher Dead at 83

Louis Teicher, one-half of the piano duo of Ferrante and Teicher, died Sunday (August 3) of a heart attack at his summer home in North Carolina. He was 83. Born in 1924 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Lou met Arthur Ferrante while they were both students at the famed Julliard School of Music in Manhattan (Lou was five and Art was eight when they started studies). They then went on to teach at the facility after graduation, while recording and performing avante garde music using "prepared" pianos-- fitted with clothes pins and sandpaper to create unusual sounds. Their big break occurred when they switched from Columbia Records to United Artists in 1960 and created a lush arrangement of the Oscar-winning film, "The Apartment". It reached #10 that year and was followed by themes from "Exodus" (#2-1960 and a million-seller), "One-Eyed Jacks" (#37-1961)and "Tonight" from "West Side Story" (#8-1961). One last top forty single was the theme from "Midnight Cowboy" (#10) in 1970. As successful as their singles were, though, the duo's albums became instrumental standards. Art and Lou charted 30 times in a dozen years before retiring in 1989.