Library - In Memoriam

Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.

Edna Mae Burnam authored the now classic piano training books “A Dozen a Day” to help beginners learn in a fun and meaningful way. Her books have been critical to millions of young pianists around the world for over 60 years.

Elizabeth Ludwig-Fennell was always surrounded by music. As a child, she played piano. As a young adult, she helped develop the Ludwig Music Publishing Company. She later married the founder.

Don Kirkendall was hired by Electro Voice founder Al Kahn to serve as the company’s advertisement manager in 1954. Don’s creative approach to the company’s line of speakers and microphones earned him several industry awards and increased sales annually for 3 decades in a row. Among the most noted campaigns was for the Buchanan 644 microphone, which gained a reputation for its solid body and durable sound.

Wilhelm Gertz was often seen working on the action of a vintage grand piano whenever you stopped to visit him in his store. After all, he has been doing this same thing most of his life. He was born into a family in Germany who ran the largest piano company in the country.

Jim Cruickshank had an eye for design! While a proud member of the Fender guitar team, Jim designed many of the most memorable trade show displays for the company, including the 14-foot neck and headstock.

Billy Carson was listed in the Guinness book of world records for growing the largest watermelon ever weighed. And if you think that is something, consider the fact that Billy also worked with Leo Fender in streamlining the Stratocaster electric guitar in the early 1950s.

This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Ray Evans was an Oscar winning songwriter who penned tunes for jazz and pop artists as well as for television and film.

Frankie Laine earned over 20 gold records as one of America's leading crooners of the 1950s. Over his long career he sold over 100 million records.

Floyd Levin was a promoter of traditional jazz, an author, and music historian. Beginning on radio in the 1940s and then on to writing a music column, Floyd captured some of the greatest stories and characters in the world of jazz.

Jimmy Cheatham was one of the coolest jazz cats in the industry. Having worked with many of the top jazz players such as Duke Ellington and Ornette Coleman, Jimmy brought the sounds of tradition jazz to film scores and television programs over several decades. Jimmy’s warm personality was only watched by the smooth sounds of his trombone. When teamed with his wife, the jazz and blues pianist Jeannie Cheatham, the tones were unmistakable, clear and often strikingly intimate.

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