from Composers Datebook, American Public Media:
On today's date (April 18) in 1882, a child was born in London to a Polish father and Irish mother -- a baby christened Leopold Boleslawowicz Stanislaw Antoni Stokowski.
In 1882, Brahms completed his Second Piano Concerto and Wagner introduced his last opera, "Parsifal"; Gustav Mahler was a promising opera conductor aged 22; Richard Strauss was a young man of 18; Arnold Schoenberg a lad of seven; and Igor Stravinsky still a few months away from being born!
Leopold Stokowski would grow up to become a famous conductor of all those composers' works. For 25 years, Stokowski led the Philadelphia Orchestra in an astonishing variety of music, ranging from his own dramatic symphonic arrangements of works by J.S. Bach to cutting-edge, avant-garde works of Edgard Varese and dozens of other contemporary composers.
Stokowski cut a glamorous figure on stage and off, hung out with movie stars, and played himself in a 1937 movie, "100 Men and a Girl." He shook hands with Mickey Mouse in Disney 's animated classic "Fantasia," and Bugs Bunny did a devastating Stokowski imitation in a famous Warner Brothers cartoon.
For some, his flamboyance was hard to take, but the list of old and new music Stokowski performed before his death in 1977, at the age of 95, remains as impressive as his recorded legacy, which continues to live on via compact disc reissues.