Frederick and Rose Plaut

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Frederick ("Fred") Plaut was born in Munich, Germany, on May 12, 1907. He graduated from the Technische Hochschule of the University of Munich with a degree in electrical engineering. From 1933 to 1940 Plaut lived in Paris, where he founded and operated his own recording studio. At the same time he worked as a consulting engineer for Polydor Records, where he designed and built a complete recording installation.

In Paris, Fred Plaut met his future wife, Rose Kanter, a Polish-American soprano pursuing vocal studies in France. They were married on September 24, 1938. She performed in France, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy, returning to the United States in June 1940, just as Paris was falling into Nazi hands. She continued her singing career in the United States under the name Rose Dercourt, making her American debut at Town Hall in April 1944. She was a close friend of Francis Poulenc, who dedicated some of his songs to her and maintained a steady correspondence with her until his death in 1963.

Fred Plaut came to the United States in January 1940 and in April of that same year began his career as a recording engineer with Columbia Records. He recorded the majority of the Columbia Masterworks series and many sessions of the Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Minneapolis, Louisville, and New York orchestras. He recorded almost all of the cast albums of Broadway shows, operas, and dramatic plays for Columbia and other labels. Plaut also recorded many chamber music and solo performances, as well as popular and jazz sessions. His work took place in the Columbia recording studios and on location at such events as the Newport Jazz and Marlboro Festivals. He received five Grammy Awards and six nominations for engineering.

While still with Columbia Records, Plaut gave several extension courses in The Art of Recording for the Manhattan School of Music. After his retirement from Columbia in 1972, Plaut joined the staff of the Yale School of Music as consultant and Senior Recording Engineer and in 1977 began teaching classes in The Art of Recording . In 1975 Plaut taught Music in Modern Media at Columbia University.

Plaut's second career was as a photographer. His work as a recording engineer for Columbia Records allowed him many opportunities to photograph recording artists in the studios and on location while they were relaxing, performing, or listening to playback of recording sessions. The result is thousands of candid portraits of the great conductors, orchestras, soloists, chamber players, popular and jazz musicians, actors, and writers. Some of these artists include Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, the Budapest String Quartet, Pablo Casals, Aaron Copland, Zino Francescatti, Glenn Gould, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, the Juilliard String Quartet, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Eugene Ormandy, Richard Rodgers, Alexander Schneider, Rudolf Serkin, Isaac Stern, Igor Stravinsky, George Szell, Joseph Szigeti, Edgard Varèse, and Bruno Walter.

Fred and Rose Plaut were in the mainstream of New York City's musical life. They frequently attended or hosted dinner parties. The Plaut penthouse received such guests as Ned Rorem, Virgil Thomson, Henri Sauguet, Carlos Surinach, Igor Stravinsky, George Balanchine, Edgard Varèse, and Vittorio Rieti. These social occasions also allowed Plaut to take many candid photographs.

Fred Plaut also took many candid photographs on his frequent vacations with Rose to such countries as France, Italy, Spain, India, Mexico, and Israel. These photos included not only typical tourist's pictures, but also the famous personalities they encountered. The travel photos include candid portraits of Francis Poulenc, Pierre Bernac, Alberto Moravia, Pablo Picasso, Eugene Berman, and Janet Flanner.

Plaut also had opportunities to take posed portraits of artists for publicity purposes. His photos have been used for brochures, flyers, posters, and concert programs by the Juilliard String Quartet, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, the Albaneri Trio, Bethany Beardslee, Lehman Engel, and Ettore Stratta.

Plaut's photographs have been exhibited at several museums, including seven exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and have appeared in numerous major American and foreign magazines. Many book illustrations, book covers, and some eighty record album covers are to his credit. A selection of Plaut photographs was published as The Unguarded Moment: A Photographic Interpretation (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, c1964). This contains over one hundred of his finest portraits, as well as short biographical sketches of the subjects.

From the guide to the The Frederick and Rose Plaut Papers, 1907-1986 (inclusive), (Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University)

Archival Resources
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creatorOf The Frederick and Rose Plaut Papers, 1907-1986 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
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Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Albee, Edward, 1928- person
associatedWith Anderson, Marian, 1897-1993 person
associatedWith Armstrong, Louis, 1901-1971 person
associatedWith Auden, W. H. (Wystan Hugh), 1907-1973 person
associatedWith Baez, Joan. person
associatedWith Balanchine, George. person
associatedWith Basie, Count, 1904- person
associatedWith Beecham, Thomas, Sir, 1879-1961 person
associatedWith Berlin, Irving, 1888- person
associatedWith Bernstein, Leonard, 1918- person
associatedWith Boulez, Pierre, 1925- person
associatedWith Britten, Benjamin, 1913-1976 person
associatedWith Burton, Richard, 1925- person
associatedWith Cage, John. person
associatedWith Capote, Truman, 1924- person
associatedWith Carter, Elliott, 1908- person
associatedWith Casadesus, Gaby. person
associatedWith Casadesus, Robert, 1899-1972 person
associatedWith Casals, Pablo, 1876-1973 person
associatedWith CBS Records (Firm) corporateBody
associatedWith Chagall, Marc, 1887- person
associatedWith Cooke, Alistair, 1908- person
associatedWith Copland, Aaron, 1900- person
associatedWith Coward, Noel, 1899-1973 person
associatedWith Cowell, Henry, 1897-1965 person
associatedWith Davis, Miles. person
associatedWith Dietrich, Marlene. person
associatedWith Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955 person
associatedWith Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969 person
associatedWith Ellington, Duke, 1899-1974 person
associatedWith Engel, Lehman, 1910- person
associatedWith Ferber, Edna, 1887-1968 person
associatedWith Fitzgerald, Ella. person
associatedWith Flanner, Janet, 1892- person
associatedWith Fleisher, Leon. person
associatedWith Fournier, Donna, 1957- person
associatedWith Francescatti, Zino, 1902- person
associatedWith Gielgud, John, Sir, 1904- person
associatedWith Gillespie, Dizzy, 1917- person
associatedWith Goodman, Benny, 1909- person
associatedWith Gould, Glenn. person
associatedWith Greene, Graham, 1904- person
associatedWith Guiness, Alec, 1914- person
associatedWith Hammerstein, Oscar, 1895-1960 person
associatedWith Hillis, Margaret, 1921- person
associatedWith Hindemith, Paul, 1895-1963 person
associatedWith Horowitz, Vladimir, 1903-1989 person
associatedWith Istomin, Eugene. person
associatedWith Ives, Burl, 1909- person
associatedWith Jackson, Mahalia, 1911-1972 person
associatedWith Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963 person
associatedWith Kostelanetz, Andre, 1901- person
associatedWith Landowska, Wanda. person
associatedWith Lansbury, Angela, 1925- person
associatedWith Laughton, Charles, 1899-1962 person
associatedWith Leinsdorf, Erich, 1912- person
associatedWith Lenya, Lotte. person
associatedWith Lieberson, Goddard, 1911- person
associatedWith Martin, Mary, 1913- person
associatedWith Maugham, W. Somerset (William Somerset), 1874-1965 person
associatedWith Menotti, Gian Carlo, 1911- person
associatedWith Milhaud, Darius, 1892-1974 person
associatedWith Mitropoulos, Dimitri, 1896-1960 person
associatedWith Oistrakh, David Fedorovich, 1908-1974 person
associatedWith Oppenheim, David, 1922- person
associatedWith Ormandy, Eugene, 1899-1985 person
associatedWith Page, Geraldine. person
associatedWith Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973 person
associatedWith Plaut, Frederick, 1907-1985 person
associatedWith Plaut, Rose. person
associatedWith Porter, Cole, 1891-1964 person
associatedWith Poulenc, Francis, 1899-1963 person
associatedWith Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976 person
associatedWith Rodgers, Richard, 1902- person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 person
associatedWith Rorem, Ned, 1923- person
associatedWith Rose, Leonard. person
associatedWith Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967 person
associatedWith Sauguet, Henri, 1901- person
associatedWith Schippers, Thomas. person
associatedWith Schneider, Alexander, 1908- person
associatedWith Schneider, Mischa, 1903-1985 person
associatedWith Schweitzer, Albert, 1875-1965 person
associatedWith Scott, Howard. person
associatedWith Serkin, Rudolf, 1903- person
associatedWith Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969 person
associatedWith Sinatra, Frank, 1915- person
associatedWith Sitwell, Edith, Dame, 1887-1964 person
associatedWith Steber, Eleanor. person
associatedWith Steinbeck, John, 1902-1968 person
associatedWith Stern, Isaac, 1920- person
associatedWith Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965 person
associatedWith Stokowski, Leopold, 1882-1977 person
associatedWith Stravinsky, Igor, 1882-1971 person
associatedWith Streisand, Barbra. person
associatedWith Surinach, Carlos. person
associatedWith Szell, George, 1897-1970 person
associatedWith Szigeti, Joseph, 1892-1973 person
associatedWith Taylor, Elizabeth, 1932- person
associatedWith Thomson, Virgil, 1896- person
associatedWith Tourel, Jennie. person
associatedWith Toynbee, Arnold Joseph, 1889-1975 person
associatedWith Traubel, Helen. person
associatedWith Varèse, Edgard, 1883-1965 person
associatedWith Villa-Lobos, Heitor. person
associatedWith Walter, Bruno, 1876-1962 person
associatedWith Watts, Andre. person
associatedWith Weber, Max, 1864-1920 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
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Photographers--United States
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