First Professional Successes in the 1930s and 1940s
This chapter discusses Wilder's first professional successes in the 1930s and 1940s. Wilder's first big impact on the music of his time, a series of short pieces with unusual instrumentation that he wrote between 1938 and 1940, came about through the support and persistence of his Eastman friend Mitchell Miller—one of the premiere oboists in New York. Wilder and Miller eventually formed the Alec Wilder Octet, along with harpsichordist Yella Pessl and the CBS Orchestra, releasing records in 1939 and 1940 on Brunswick and Columbia. As the 1940s progressed, Wilder solidified his standing in popular music with new arranging projects and original songs. He then continued to explore stylistic boundaries in a new series of octet recordings and he revived his theatrical ambitions in scores for three musicals with new collaborators.
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