Robert Maxwell Dies

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Robert Maxwell composed "Ebb Tide" and "Shangri-La".

Robert Maxwell composed “Ebb Tide” and “Shangri-La”.

The December issue of theInternational Musician listed Robert Maxwell, a life member of the American Federation of Musicians local 802 (New York City), as deceased. Harpist Sam Milligan has confirmed that the legendary harpist and composer of “Ebb Tide” and “Shangri-La” passed away February 7, 2012. “Robert was one of the finest musicians I have ever known,” says Milligan of his friend, “and as a harpist he was formidable.”

Originally named Max Rosen, Maxwell changed his name because there was already a prominent violinist with the same name. Maxwell studied with Marcel Grandjany, and also spent a summer at Tanglewood with Bernard Zighera. After entering the service as a member of Rudy Vallee’s U.S. Coast Guard band, he later became a commercial harpist performing for radio, television, and in night clubs with his combo. “He was such a pioneer in bringing popular and jazz music on the harp to very wide audiences,” says Patricia Jaeger. “Young harpists playing popular music need to realize he was a pioneer of playing in this style, in the tradition of Casper Reardon and Harpo Marx.”

Robert Maxwell’s extensive discography includes:
Harpist’s Holiday (Harmony HL 7007)
Harp Magic (MGM E-3171)
The Lamp is Low (MGM E-3308)
Hi-Fi Harp (MGM E-3360)
Zing! Went the Strings of My Harp (MGM E-3486)
Music to Make You Starry-Eyed (MGM E-3571)
Spectacular Harps (MGM E-3636)
Red Hot Harp (MGM E-3676)
The very best of Robert Maxwell (MGM E-4246)
Bewitched also released as “Shangri-La” (Decca DL 4421)
Peg o’ My Heart (Decca DL 4563)
A Song for All Seasons also released as “The Magic of Robert Maxwell” (Decca DL 4609)
Let’s Get Away From It All (Decca DL 4723)
Anytime! (Command RS 913 SD)
Harpistry in Motion (Command RS 932 SD)
A Crowning Performance (Command RSSD 972-2)

Please share your thoughts about Robert Maxwell, his music, and his recordings in the comments section.

—updated January 1, 2013

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