The Hollywood Walk of Fame has just announced the list of celebrities to be honored with stars in the coming year, and it includes Gustavo Dudamel. The Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor joins a long, eccentric list of classical musicians with stars on the iconic Walk.
The list of classical musicians with stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a real who's-who — insofar as it will have even dyed-in-the-wool classical music lovers asking, "Who?"
Yes, it includes the names of giants like Leonard Bernstein, Maria Callas, and Arturo Toscanini — but then there are Blanche Thebom, William Primrose, and Gladys Swarthout. (Most were inducted in the Recording category, though a few cross over to other categories and some, like Dudamel, are placed in the Live Performance category.)
Classical musicians have been heavily outnumbered by pop musicians (and, of course, movie stars) among inductees over the past few decades, but it's hard for classical lovers to complain too much, since the Walk's inaugural honorees included dozens of classical musicians — even if few of them are household names today.
The list of musicians who were inducted in 1960 as the Walk laid its first rows of stars reflects a great desire by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to honor the performers who brought classical music to radio and television when those media first launched. If you sang under the baton of Toscanini on NBC, for example, with any frequency, you probably got a star.
That's an indication of the relatively more prominent position of classical music in American culture half a century ago — but it also shows how the Hollywood-based entertainment industries looked to classical music to lend their work legitimacy.
Looking at the list below (a somewhat subjective list including musicians primarily known for classical or film music, omitting those primarily known for swing or jazz even if they performed classical as well), the omissions are striking.
No Aaron Copland? No John Williams? It's a mark of the Walk's continued interest in classical performers who cross over to popular media that the telegenic Andrea Bocelli was inducted in 2010, while much more musically acclaimed performers like Cecilia Bartoli are left waiting.
Update: Since this post was originally published, film composer Jerry Goldsmith was given a star. His name has been added below.
Here's the list, in all its glory. How many names do you recognize?
Licia Albanese (1909-2014) -- Italian-American soprano, a star at the Met from the 1940s into the 1960s -- inducted 1960
Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) -- American composer of light orchestral music, much of which was premiered by Arthur Fielder and the Boston Pops -- inducted 1960
Marian Anderson (1897-1993) -- legendary American contralto, about to be on the five-dollar bill -- inducted 1960
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) -- American composer and conductor, one of the great popularizers of classical music -- inducted 1960
Andrea Bocelli (b. 1958) -- Italian tenor, PBS hero -- inducted 2010
Maria Callas (1923-1977) -- Greek-American soprano, considered one of the greatest opera singers in the history of recorded music -- inducted 1960
Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) -- Italian tenor, a massive star across Europe and the Americas -- inducted 1960
Robert Casadesus (1899-1972) -- French pianist and composer, best-known member of a prominent musical family -- inducted 1960
Feodor Chaliapin (1873-1938) -- Russian bass, known for being an excellent actor in operas -- inducted 1960
Richard Crooks (1900-1972) -- American tenor, known for starring at the Met and hosting the Voice of Firestone radio program -- inducted 1960
Placido Domingo (b. 1941) -- Spanish tenor and conductor, one of the Three Tenors -- inducted 1993
Nelson Eddy (1901-1967) -- American baritone known as a "crossover" star, performing on opera stages and starring in movie with Jeanette MacDonald -- inducted 1960
Mischa Elman (1891-1967) -- Ukrainian violinist, child prodigy and virtuoso -- inducted 1960
Arthur Fiedler (1894-1979) -- American conductor, longtime leader of the Boston Pops -- inducted 1960
Kirsten Flagstad (1895-1962) -- Norwegian soprano, famous for Wagner -- inducted 1960
Zino Francescatti (1902-1991) -- French virtuoso violinist -- inducted 1960
Amelita Galli-Curci (1892-1963) -- Italian coloratura soprano -- inducted 1960
Beniamino Gigli (1890-1957) -- Italian tenor, infamous for highly emotional performances -- inducted 1960
Jerry Goldsmith (1929-2004) -- Film composer with long and storied career, nominated for 18 Oscars and winner of one -- inducted 2017
Morton Gould (1913-1996) -- American composer and conductor, known for radio appearances -- inducted 1960
Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987) -- Lithuanian violinist, regarded by some as the greatest of all time -- inducted 1960
Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989) -- Russian pianist, known for his exciting style -- inducted 1960
Jose Iturbi (1895-1980) -- Spanish conductor, harpsichordist, and pianist -- inducted 1960
Dorothy Kirsten (1910-1992) -- American soprano, performed widely -- inducted 1960
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) -- Austrian violinist, known for sweet tone -- inducted 1960
Mario Lanza (1921-1959) -- American tenor, known as "the new Caruso" or "the singing Clark Gable" -- inducted 1960
Lotte Lehmann (1888-1976) -- German soprano, known for singing German opera -- inducted 1960
Zubin Mehta (b. 1936) -- Indian conductor, acclaimed for handling of large-scale orchestral works -- inducted 2011
Lauritz Melchior (1890-1973) -- Danish tenor, pre-eminent Wagnerian tenor of his day -- inducted 1960
Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999) -- American violinist and conductor, one of the century's greatest virtuosi -- inducted 1960
Robert Merrill (1917-2004) -- American baritone, known for singing in Toscanini opera broadcasts -- inducted 1960
Nathan Milstein (1904-1992) -- Russian-born American violinist, known for Bach -- inducted 1960
Pierre Monteux (1875-1964) -- French conductor, known for conducting Ballets Russes -- inducted 1960
Ennio Morricone (b. 1928) -- Italian film composer, oldest person ever to win an Oscar -- inducted 2016
Alfred Newman (1900-1970) -- American composer of film music -- inducted 1960
Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985) -- Hungarian conductor and violinist, longtime leader of the Philadelphia Orchestra, recorded widely with Minneapolis Symphony (now Minnesota Orchestra) -- inducted 1960
Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) -- Polish pianist and composer who became prime minister -- inducted 1960
Jan Peerce (1904-1984) -- American tenor, known for singing on broadcasts with Toscanini -- inducted 1960
Ezio Pinza (1892-1957) -- Italian basso, known for singing at La Scala -- inducted 1960
Lily Pons (1898-1976) -- American coloratura soprano, an overnight sensation -- inducted 1960
William Primrose (1904-1982) -- Scottish violist, premiered works by important 20th century composers -- inducted 1960
Arthur Rubenstein (1887-1982) -- Polish-American pianist, one of the century's great soloists -- inducted 1960
Ernestine Schumann-Heink (1861-1936) -- German contralto, known for her voice's wide range and beauty -- inducted 1960
Rudolf Serkin (1903-1991) -- Bohemian pianist, widely recorded -- inducted 1960
Robert Shaw (1916-1999) -- American choral conductor -- inducted 1960
Beverly Sills (1929-2007) -- American soprano who became a leader in New York's classical community -- inducted 1977
Eleanor Steber (1914-1990) -- Soprano, one of the first opera singers to come up as a star through training and performances happening largely in the United States -- inducted 1960
Frederick Stock (1872-1942) -- German conductor and composer, led Chicago Orchestra -- inducted 1960
Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977) -- British-American conductor, led orchestra in Fantasia -- inducted 1960
Gladys Swarthout (1900-1969) -- American mezzo-soprano, star at the Met and in movies -- inducted 1960
Joseph Szigeti (1892-1973) -- Hungarian virtuoso violinist -- inducted 1960
Renata Tebaldi (1922-2004) -- Italian soprano said to have one of the most beautiful voices of the 20th century -- inducted 1960
Blanche Thebom (1915-1910) -- American mezzo-soprano, had long history with the Met -- inducted 1960
John Charles Thomas (1891-1960) -- American baritone, known for exuberant style -- inducted 1960
Lawrence Tibbett (1896-1960) -- American baritone, sang leading roles at the Met over 600 times -- inducted 1960
Arturo Toscanini (1897-1957) -- Italian conductor, popularized classical music through radio and TV performances -- inducted 1960
Helen Traubel (1899-1972) -- American soprano, known for Wagnerian roles -- inducted 1960
Roger Wagner (1914-1992) -- American choral conductor -- inducted 1960
Bruno Walter (1876-1962) -- German conductor, worked with Mahler -- inducted 1960