Library - In Memoriam

Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.

Arthur Gurwitz joined Southern Music Company in the late 1940s, soon after his military service during World War II. He expanded the business into publishing, and soon the Southern Music catalog became one of the best known around the world. Arthur played a vital role in the growth and development of the company and the industry as he sought to publish composers who may have otherwise been forgotten. Active in the industry, Arthur served as president of Music Industry Conference (1978-1980) and later on the Music Publishers Association (MPA) Board.

John Dee Holeman was an influential blues performer known as the last surviving original musician who popularized the Piedmont Blues style.

Al Schmitt’s career as a recording engineer covered more than 60 years of innovations in pro audio development in nearly every musical style. Al was the recording engineer for many musical legends from Frank Sinatra and Sam Cooke to Henry Mancini and Quincy Jones.

Max Cooke was an Australian classically trained pianist and professor who wrote a series of method books to assist his students. He began teaching piano students at the University of Melbourne in 1952. Along the way, he developed a teaching style based on his teachers and ideas h

Larry Peyser spent most of his career in the music wholesale business. Larry’s sister married Abbott Buegelesien after World War II and over the years Larry did not just work for the company, he learned much of its early history.

Lee Donais may be the only industry member who played piano (as part of the Navy Band) for three United States Presidents: Johnson, Nixon and Ford.  After his career with the Navy Band, Lee was hired by Gordon Keller to help run His string of piano stores on the east coast.  Lee

Vinny Testa was the founder of Testa Communications, which he established in 1984 to provide the music products industry with such trade magazines as The Music & Sound Retailer and DJ Times. Vinny enjoyed pioneering new ways of connecting with his readers including being one

Phil Jost had a very interesting career in music as a musician before joining the sales team at St. Louis Music in 1974 and thus entering the music products industry.

Pat Rizzo heard Sly Stone was looking for a sax player to join the band.  He went backstage at a concert with his horn and Sly told him to go into the bathroom.

Jim Anastasi served as the trumpet tester for the King Band Instrument factory in Cleveland, Ohio for nearly 40 years.