Percy Faith & His Orchestra feat. Tony Bennett

Biography Percy Faith & His Orchestra feat. Tony Bennett

Percy Faith
Born on April 7, 1908, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Abraham (a tailor) and Minnie (Rotenberg) Faith; died on February 9, 1976, in Los Angeles, CA; married Mary Palange, 1928; two children.

Best known for his 1960 number-one single "Theme from A Summer Place," composer, arranger, and bandleader Percy Faith was identified with the easy-listening music of the 1950s and 1960s. Yet his career spanned five decades in radio, television, movies, Broadway, and live concerts. As the musical director of Columbia Records in the 1950s, Faith also arranged and conducted hit records by Tony Bennett, Doris Day, Johnny Mathis, and Sarah Vaughan. Although some critics singled out Faith for the sentimental excesses of the easy-listening genre, most respected his superb musicianship and the range of his musical tastes. Joseph Lanza applauded Faith in his 1994 book Elevator Music: A Surreal History of Muzak, Easy-Listening, and Other Moodsong, "Faith's delicate balance between being too mellow and too raucous was both a musical gift and a career scourge. On the one hand, he was a champion of sweet violins; but on the other, he always grew skittish when his reputation got too caught up in them."

Born on April 7, 1908, in Toronto, Ontario, Faith was the eldest of eight children of Abraham and Minnie (Rotenberg) Faith. The family lived in the Kensington Market area of Toronto, then a working-class section of the city with a large population of Jewish immigrants. His father worked as a tailor, but his uncle was a noted violinist. Faith began violin lessons at the age of seven, but he switched to the piano shortly afterward. By the time he was eleven Faith was accomplished enough to give his first public performance at Toronto's Iola Flicker movie theater in the city's east end. Four years later, while studying classical music with Frank Welsman at the Toronto Conservatory of Music (as the Royal Conservatory of Music was then called), Faith made his concert debut at Massey Hall, Toronto's most prestigious concert venue. In the meantime, Faith earned extra money by playing the piano in movie theaters as an accompanist to silent films.

Faith's future as a concert pianist seemed promising until an accident derailed his plans at the age of eighteen. When his younger sister's clothing caught on fire, Faith put out the flames with his hands. This saved his sister's life but damaged his hands so badly that he couldn't play the piano for nine months. Although the accident spurred his interests in arranging and composing, Faith eventually dropped out of the Toronto Conservatory of Music without finishing his degree. In 1928 he married the former Mary Palange; the marriage lasted until Faith's death in 1976 and produced two children. (Source:

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