Just in: death of a great record man

Just in: death of a great record man


norman lebrecht

November 30, 2011

Andrew Kazdin, a stalwart of the CBS Records team when it was the Tiffany label, has died aged 77.

Kazdin worked with Thomas Z Sheppard, Steven Epstein, Paul Myers and others as producer for Glenn Gould, Leonard Bernstein, George Szell and the rest of the glamour roster. Here’s Andrew at work, behind the glass wall.

One of his proudest edits was a TV  show titled ‘I Can’t believe It’s Schoenberg’.

And here’s another:

It used to be fun in those days… Sic transit harmonia mundi…

Here’s Steven Epstein’s tribute to Andrew on the Musical America site.


  • Tony says:

    Andy was a lot of fun to work with and this is a sad loss. Ideosyncratic in the nicest of ways – he was a musician first and producer second.

  • paul myers says:

    Andy was a fine producer,with the added quality of a wonderful sense of humour. I’d better not reveal the names, but he took the third movement of Beethoven’s first concerto (a very distinguished, serious performance) and, in the third movement, sometimes nicknamed the ‘tico-tico’, he added bongos and suitable Latin rhythms. He was a fine musician, who had played percussion in the Boston Symphony. He also had a degree from MIT, and contributed to many technical developments in the days of mono to stereo.

  • Martin Bookspan says:

    It was my pleasure to work with Andy on the radio broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic back in the 1970s and 80s, I as Host and Producer, he as audio designer and sound perfectionist. Both Paul Myers and Stephen Epstein have commented on Andy’s sense of humor. One example among many during the course of our association will have to suffice as an example.

    My half of the broadcast booth was separated from the sound engineering headquarters by a wall and a glass window. There were a couple of holes in the wall to allow cables to pass between the two areas. We were taping a Philharmonic performance of Handel’s “Messiah” for later broadcast. At one point I was describing the section “We, like sheep, have gone astray” when I heard the sound of bleating sheep and the words “We like sheep”. Andy of course was the source of both sounds: on the other side of the wall he had bleated and spoken into one of the holes–and, of course, broke me up! After the concert ended, we re-taped my introduction and the subsequent radio audience was none the wiser.

    Over the years Andy enlivened my life with similar antics. A taped collection of them was offered as a premium on one of the first Philharmonic Radiothon broadcasts. Early in the auction for their airing the phone rang. On the other end was Tony Randall, the great actor, opera enthusiast and all-round classical music lover. “How much more money do you need before you’ll play that tape? Whatever the amount,” he continued, “I hereby pledge it to you. I’ve got to hear that Bookspan break-up tape”.

    As a result of Andy’s lovable shenanigans the Philharmonic was enriched by $1,000!

  • Barbara Kazdin Adler says:

    My sister, Nancy, and I are enjoying every drop of these wonderful tributes and anecdotes. Keep ’em coming! We are truly being warmed by them at this sad time for us….Barbara Kazdin Adler

  • Don Drewecki says:

    One thing Kazdin was active in was quad recording for CBS Records. It’s a shame that his quad masters have never been reissued in their intended format on CDs — just the original SQ-format LPs.

  • Rick Crampton says:

    Condolences to Barbara and Nancy. I’m sorry we never met in person.

    I was the recording engineer of the Louisville Orchestra First Edition Records sessions from ‘ 71 until ‘ 89. Andy took the producer’s chair in ‘ 73. Each session with him began with a very quick orchestra balance, finding presets for harp and percussion accent mics; and then we were off and running! I really appreciated that he was never condescending to this ” provincial ” engineer and his strange, homebrewed equipment, who hadn’t been groomed in the sophisticated, NY ways of doing things.

    The man loved his pizza. He discovered ” Squirt ” soda ( I believe that was the name ) in Louisville and when he discovered that it was’nt offered in NY, he had a couple cases shipped home to be enjoyed with his pizza.

    He touched a lot of lives in Classical music. He will be missed and remembered fondly.

  • Colin Eatock says:

    I never met Andrew Kazdin — but three months ago I interviewed him at some length (for a book I’m working on) via a Skype connection. We had a very pleasant conversation about his work with Glenn Gould, and he was generous and forthcoming with his memories. However, he didn’t tell me he was in poor health, and I wouldn’t have guessed it. I was shocked and saddened to learn of his passing.

  • Carole Nowicke says:

    I contacted him relating to his recordings with the Philadelphia Brass Ensemble and the Gabrieli recording. The recordings meant so much to young brass players when they came out! In interviews with participants in the Gabrieli recording, they almost all said it was the most exciting and rewarding recording they ever made–just to be in company with their orchestral peers.

  • Rick Crampton says:

    Andy was the producer of the Louisville Orchestra First Edition Records from 1973 until the end. When Matt Walters ( First Edition Music ) virtually stole the master tapes from the Orchestra, he sought Andy’s support; and not getting it, Walters deliberately mis-attributed Andy’s work to Howard Scott who was the producer of the recording sessions prior to 1973.

    Walters got over $ 150,000 in NEA and Copeland grant money which was funneled through the Orchestra ( by inept management at the time ) for the purpose of ” digitizing and restoring ” the First Edition Records master tapes; but he used the money to re-release the Louisville Orchestra First Edition Records recordings on his own label, ” First Edition Music “. He refuses to return the master tapes to the Orchestra on the grounds that his original contract gave him possession in perpetuity.

    It’s so very sad that the unique history of the Louisville Orchestra’s own record label, funded by a Rockefeller grant in the ‘ 50s, was ” given away ” to an opportunist who saw a chance to set himself up as a record company, financed by NEA and Copeland grant money which was never intended for such purpose. It’s also sad that in order to serve his own ego and purpose Matt Walters has promoted himself to the title of executive producer and has mis-attrubuted Andy’s work to others out of spite.