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Introduction to Ferrante and Teicher

Introduction to Ferrante and Teicher

Short career summary

Ferrante & Teicher were piano duettists consisting of Arthur Ferrante (1921-2009) and Louis Teihcer (1924-2008). Their light arrangements of familiar music from classical pieces to show tunes and film soundtrack themes made them the easy-listening hit makers especially during the 60s music scene. First getting acquainted with each other while they were both attending New York’s Julliard School of Music (where both became part of the faculty after graduating there), Ferrante & Teicher launched their professional career towards the late 1940s. First they played at night clubs and then to concerts, performing classical music, and they were often accompanied by orchestras. They were also known to experiment on prepared pianos, in which Ferrante and Teicher installed with different objects such as paper, metal and wood to create a variety of peculiar sounds, giving them the “electronica” effect even long before the genre was introduced. During the 1960s Ferrante & Teicher enjoyed hits such as “The Theme from the Apartment,” “Exodus,” “Love Theme from One-Eyed Jacks,” “Tonight” and “Midnight Cowboy.” They bowed out professionally in the late 1980s, each going to his own retirement places. Teicher passed away in 2008, and Ferrante died over a year later.

Formation and early years

Ferrante and Teicher were a duo of American pianists consisting of Arthur Ferrante (b. September 7, 1921, New York City – d. September 19, 2009) and Louis Milton Teicher (b. August 24, 1924, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania – d. August 3, 1983). They were known for their easy-listening music during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Ferrante and Teicher met each other while they were both still studying at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York. It was there where they decided to perform as a piano duo. Both of them eventually graduated in 1940 and together they even later joined the school faculty.

In 1947, Ferrante and Teicher started performing together at night clubs mainly as a classical duo. Later that year, they joined a contest on the radio program “The Big Break” where they played their rendition of “Begin the Beguine.” They won the contest, whose prize they chose was a concert at Manhattan’s Town Hall, where they debuted in 1948.

Ferrante and Teicher had their first big hit in 1960 with “Theme from The Apartment” which peaked at #10 on the Billboard pop chart. The success with the first single was followed by other equally-successful recordings:  “Theme from Exodus” (Pop #2, 1960), “Tonight” (Pop #8, 1962), and “Midnight Cowboy” (Pop #10, 1969). Those tracks made Ferrante and Teicher one of the most appreciated easy-listening acts during that era.

It was at this point that the piano virtuosos also got to experiment and explore some special effects using raw materials such as sandpaper, strips of metal, rubber mutes, cotton balls, chains and other objects that can be installed with their pianos. In this manner they were able to produce a variety of peculiar and interesting sounds effects that could be likened to the ones being electronically synthesized. Ferrante and Teicher applied such effects in the albums Hi-Fireworks (1953), Soundproof (1956) and Blast Off (1959).

Ferrante and Teicher retired in 1989; however, they continued to record occasionally. Their almost five-decade career saw over a hundred albums released, about 5,200 concert performances and over 200 television appearances.

Teicher passed away in August 2008, aged 83. Ferrante, aged 88, died in September 2009, over a year after Teicher’s death.

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