Howard H Scott: Record producer who was part of the team that created the LP

 

Howard H Scott was a celebrated record producer and the last surviving member of the team at Columbia Records that successfully developed the long-playing record under conditions of total secrecy in the 1940s.

The team produced what became the de facto universal technical standard for the recording and dissemination of music over the succeeding 35 years.

Howard Hillison Scott was born in 1920 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the son of a judge. He graduated from the University of Rochester with a BA in Music in 1941 then studied at the Juilliard School, but he was drafted into the army in May 1942 and was posted to Europe. On leaving with the rank of captain he enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music under an enlightened American scheme for US personnel awaiting repatriation.

In 1946 he returned to Juilliard, but soon became one of Goddard Lieberson's "young men" at CBS and became part of the secret team developing the long-playing record for Columbia Masterworks. He became Music Co-ordinator because he was the only one who could read scores. Working with engineer Paul Gordon before the days of tape he developed the method of cross-fading four-minute 78rpm sides into continuous soundtracks. His initial target was to produce 100 LPs, and it saw him, even though newly married, sleeping in the office during much of the project.

He participated in the now legendary June 1948 press launch at New York's Waldorf Astoria: the press were faced with a pile of 78s eight-foot high side-by-side with their LP equivalents, 100 discs 15 inches high. It was a sensation. Scott reminisced with relish that the president of NBC, their major commercial competitor, "berated his research people ... and left in a huff."

Perhaps the key to Scott's later career was his remarkable versatility and catholic musical tastes: he produced recording sessions in classical, jazz, Broadway and popular repertoire. His daughter remembers him as the "ultimate Anglophile" and he was many times the guest of Anthony Pollard, owner and editor of Gramophone magazine, whom he met in 1949. Pollard remembers him warmly as "very full of life, an incredibly amusing character, given to practical jokes." Scott's later handlebar moustache was modelled on Pollard's.

The launch of the LP was overwhelmingly successful and Scott became head of Columbia's team in New York, which in four years released over 1,000 albums. During this time he also took night classes at New York University School of Business Administration, and in 1952 he became Columbia Masterworks' recording director and senior producer. Working with a galaxy of stellar musicians and most of the leading American orchestras, he produced between 75 and 100 albums a year for the Columbia, Harmony and Epic labels.

Notable among his orchestras was the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy, where his first production was Honegger's dramatic oratorio Jeanne d'Arc au Bucher with Vera Zorina, Lieberson's wife, in the title role. In 1960 he was the producer when Leopold Stokowski returned to Philadelphia after 20 years and made two records. Other major recordings included Bruno Walter's Beethoven Choral Symphony in 1953, Shostakovich with Dimitri Mitropoulos, Bernstein, Beecham, Cantelli, Igor Stravinsky, and Robert Craft conducting the complete works of Webern on four LPs. Artists became close personal friends, none closer than the violinist Isaac Stern.

Scott also engaged on a range of freelance activities, advising and producing television series including Bernstein's Young People's Concerts, the Victor Borge Specials and The Telephone Half Hour Special. Reinforcing his interest in music by living composers, he acted as recording director and producer for the Louisville Orchestra's series of LPs.

With a dramatic change of repertoire he then became Director of Albums for MGM records in their pop album department (1961-63), followed by two years creating and producing music and jingles for radio and television at Ted Bates Inc. He returned to mainstream recording in 1965 as producer at RCA Red Seal with a roster of leading artists. His recording of Morton Gould and the Chicago Symphony in Ives' First Symphony won the 1966 Grammy Award as Best Classical Album.

After three years Scott moved to AA Records, whose label Golden Records specialised in children's repertoire, producing some 50 LPs, 20 of them recorded in London. The label featured celebrity voices including Danny Kaye and Alfred Hitchcock. The notable releases during Scott's time were the Sesame Street book and record and the Muppet Alphabet Album.

After four years he moved to Belwin Mills as Multimedia Director, a company producing AV materials for education and business. In 1973 he became executive manager of the Rochester Philharmonic, an orchestra teetering on bankruptcy and closure. He revitalised the orchestra and its finances. After three years he briefly went freelance, his activities now focused on Mexico, working for the Casals Festival of Mexico, with initiatives including the construction of a recording studio.

His second long-lasting appointment came in 1977 when he became a music publisher as Vice President, Performance Division with the music publisher G Schirmer Inc of New York. He promoted a large catalogue with a notable strand of living American composers. After nearly nine years he went back to CBS Classical for seven years to remix his former recordings for CD. The catalogue, taken over by Sony, largely remains available.

Scott's last years were touched by tragedy. His first wife, Elsa, died in September 1987 at the age of 61, but his subsequent wives, Anne Gillespie and Patti Huey also predeceased him. His role in the history of recorded music is secure.

Howard Hillison Scott, record producer and music publisher; born 31 May 1920; married 1948 Elsa Cecilia Goodman (died 1987; one son, one daughter), 1990 Anne Gillespie (died 1999), 2005 Patti Huey (died 2010); died: Reading, Pennsylvania 22 September 2012.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Qualified Primary Teaching Assistant

£64 - £73 per day + Competitive rates based on experience : Randstad Education...

Primary KS2 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam