Map: See Where Famous Composers Have Lived in NYC

Friday, July 06, 2012

Real estate in New York isn't just a modern-day obsession. Some of history's great composers have found both shelter and inspiration in Gotham's apartment houses, hotels and tenements.

Gustav Mahler was inspired to write part of his Tenth Symphony after watching a funeral procession pass on Central Park West. Leonard Bernstein composed West Side Story while crammed in a studio at the Osborne on W. 57th St. Benjamin Britten and W.H. Auden collaborated on a failed opera while living with other bohemians at 7 Middagh Street in Brooklyn Heights.

Using the below map see where famous composers called home at various points in their lives.


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Comments [27]

holly fuchs ferguson from Brooklyn

you forgot Harry Warren (Salvatore Antonio Guaragna), born in Brooklyn, name changed by dad when Harry and his 10 other siblings were young, went to Our Lady of Loreto church in Brownsville, worked at Vitagraph, went to Hollywood and the rest is history. He composed over 1500 pieces, and, with various librettists, over 800 songs. Isn't he considered a composer? Like George Gershwin?

May. 10 2016 05:08 PM
Martin Safren from Valley Stream, NY

Aside from many jazz greats, Queens was also home to 2 classical composers of note. Bela Bartok lived in Forest Hills during his later life in the US, and Morton Gould grew up in Richmond Hill.

Jul. 23 2012 05:21 PM
rosa sansc from Middle Village, NY

What about Queens?????

Jul. 23 2012 09:50 AM
Lenore Greenberg

Have lived in CA for years now, but still miss WQXR. A friend sent me the Philp Glass piece (which I loved) and now I'm enjoying your fun map. Moments like this I miss NY too.

Jul. 13 2012 10:52 PM
David Jones from Staten Island

Philippa Schuyler has been overlooked. The politics of "Classical Music" needs to be examined.

Jul. 12 2012 09:28 AM
Perry Weiner from Alhonquin Lobby W 44 St

I was in the l the Algonquin in the middle-late '70's & and spied the quite ancient Aaron Copland in an armchair of the--by then--un-chic lobby, since glitzed up. He was reading the Times, had it spread out before him when a tour guide followed by a gaggle of out-of-towners said to his group: "Ladies and gentlemen, if you've ever heard of the composer, Aaron Copland, he lives here and here he is!" Poor Aaron's face fell in mortification!

Jul. 11 2012 05:58 PM
Peter from Inwood

Nic emap but very incomplete:
Tito Puente was born at Harlem Hospital and he spent most of his childhood in Spanish Harlem. I don't see his name on the map.
Arturo Toscanini lived in Riverdale. Stan Getz went to Monroe HS in the Bronx.

Jul. 11 2012 10:25 AM

Thanks all for the great suggestions. For this map, we decided to focus primarily on composers who are found in the classical concert hall. There are some inevitable gray areas and judgment calls - particularly with names like Gershwin or Ellington. But we'll be planning more mapping projects in the future and will keep your suggestions in mind.

Jul. 10 2012 03:20 PM
jerry from New York

Don't you think Richard Rodgers, a native New Yorker would qualify for any list which includes Bernstein and Gershwin on it? As would Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin. I won't press for other composers of Broadway musicals, although I personally feel that several others would qualify. But what about Scott Joplin, who, I believe, spent his later years in New York and is buried in Queens? And Stephen Foster? At any rate, there is a plaque honoring Sir Arthur Sullivan who is said to have composed one of the early Savoy opera scores in a building which no longer exists. It was located across the street from the Theodore Roosevelt birthplace on East 21st(?)Street just west of Park Avenue South (formerly Fourth Avenue) a bit west of Grammercy Park.

Jul. 09 2012 05:09 PM
Dave from Trenton, NJ

What about composer Jacob Gershowitz? He was born in Canarsie Brooklyn at 242 Snedicker Avenue on September 26th, 1898. He may be just a minor composer to some, but others may remember him as George Gershwin! One of George Gershwin's girlfriends, pianist Jennie Glickman, used to play all the Jazz clubs with him from Harlem back to Bedford Stuyvesant. She taught piano on Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn well into her eighties.

Composer Ted Harris, my first piano teacher lived in Bensonhurst in the 1960's and I have heard lived in South Flatbush just north of Sheepshead Bay until his death. Great map!

Jul. 09 2012 01:45 PM

Re. Bernstein: "It was in this 15-room duplex that Bernstein and his wife, Felicia, held a reception for some 90 guests in 1970 ..."

That was so close to MY 15-room duplex ... oh, never mind.

Jul. 08 2012 01:14 AM
Linda Winkler from Staten Island, NY

Correction, oops, that should be Galt MacDermot.

Jul. 07 2012 01:11 PM
Linda Winkler from Staten Island, NY

Why not include Galt McDermmott, composer of "Hair" who lived (or still does live) on Staten Island?

Jul. 07 2012 11:39 AM

Louis Armstrong's home in Corona, Queens might be added to your map, if you could consider Satchmo to be a composer, of course.

Jul. 07 2012 10:04 AM
Rosemary Summers from New Jersey

Great idea! Is there any way you could make this printable for those of us still in the dark ages lacking a portable e-device? Thanks!

Jul. 07 2012 09:59 AM
Gev Sweeney from Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Ohmygoodness, I lived only three blocks away from where Dvorak lived???? Knew he'd lived in the city, had no idea how close! Fun map, by the way. Thanks!

Jul. 07 2012 05:54 AM
Harry from Brooklyn, NY

Brian --

An impressive compilation. You have to add the Dakota, where Bernstein lived for many years; it was also home to renowned jazz stylist Roberta Flack and that perennial leader of the avant garde, Yoko Ono. Her late husband, John something-or-other, also left his mark in the music world.

Also, Duke Ellington lived for many years at 106th Street and Riverside Drive. The apartment was in his sister's name, but he called it home. And surely Stachmo's house in Queens deserves a shout-out. It's a fascinating spot to visit.

Jul. 07 2012 01:55 AM
accentpro from Valley Stream, NY

This is great! But no Dakota for Bernstein and other celebs?

Jul. 07 2012 01:04 AM
Barry Owen Furrer

Before John Philip Sousa purchased his one and only private residence in Port Washington, L.I. ca. 1914, he and his family had numerous dwellings in NYC which have been pinpointed with reliable accuracy. In chronological order they are:
1892-1895 Hotel Beresford, 1 West 81st Street
1895-1897 Hotel Beresford or Carnegie Hall
1896-1899 Carnegie Hall, 883 7th Avenue, Roof-level apartment
1898-1901 Hotel Grenoble, 880 7th Avenue
1901-1905 Hotel Netherlands or Madison Square Apartments
1905-1911 Madison Square Apartments, 37 Madison Avenue
1911-1914 Astor Hotel, 1517 Broadway

Jul. 06 2012 07:39 PM
Bob Sawyer from NYC from Melbourne, FL

You also forgot about Irving Berlin who lived around East 96th Street.

Jul. 06 2012 04:20 PM
Art Serating from NYC

There's a story about Horowitz wanting to meet Rachmaninoff when he lived in Manhattan. Horowitz stood outside his apartment building for weeks at a time hoping to see the composer come or go unsuccessfully.
Years later at Horowitz' Carnegie Hall debut, Rachmaninoff was in the audience and he and his wife went backstage to meet the pianist. Horowitz told them about having stood outside their home and Rach's wife replied, 'You're the one?'

Jul. 06 2012 03:43 PM
Richard from NYC

Don't forget Charles Ives: 27 West 11th (right nearby Elliott Carter's home). There were a couple of others in NYC where Ives lived...

Jul. 06 2012 03:15 PM

Sorry to say that I just tried both the html embed code and the url provided and still getting same error message. Here it is, the same for embed and link:

404 Not Found

Code: NoSuchKey
Message: The specified key does not exist.
Key: composers-homes/index.html
RequestId: 3F7D6434F25701D3
HostId: E7aDFO/bnOVQ6SweU06P8lr2Ox6DlJObzbLwNRBa/zantiQw/0lfzZNRZMdQdGj0
An Error Occurred While Attempting to Retrieve a Custom Error Document

Code: NoSuchKey
Message: The specified key does not exist.
Key: 404.thml

Jul. 06 2012 02:53 PM
Neil Schnall

Just curious as to exactly who was cramming LB at the Osborne.

Jul. 06 2012 11:59 AM

Thanks for the heads up Heidi. It's fixed now!

Jul. 06 2012 11:29 AM
Stephanie Jonsson-Coffee from Brooklyn, NY

You forgot about Elliott Carter!

Jul. 06 2012 11:27 AM
heidi from NYC

I copied embed code but when inserted on webpage, didn't work. Also, link doesn't work. Will this be fixed?

Jul. 06 2012 10:59 AM

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