The third of four daughters, Beatrice Harrison (b. Dec. 9, 1892; d. March 10, 1965) was born into an affluent military family in colonial British Himalayan India. She and her sisters Monica (a mezzo-soprano, b. 1879), May (who played violin, b. 1890), and Margaret (also a violinist, b. 1899) were required to study music from early childhood with the expectation that they would perform as an ensemble. Their father Col. John Harrison and mother Annie brought their family home to England when she was still an infant. Her father, an amateur flautist, was Principal of St. Thomas’s College of Sappers and Miners, a military engineering school at Oxford University.
She studied violin initially before moving to cello at the age of eight, winning a gold medal on the instrument at the age of ten. She entered the Royal College of Music in at the age of 11, and made her debut four years later while still in school. While the family lived in Berlin from 1908-10, she continued to studied and concertized, playing Brahms, Schumann, and Dvorak while still a teenager, and won the Mendelssohn Prize. After the family returned to England in 1914, Beatrice and May were heard in concert by Frederick Delius (b. 1862; d. 1934) who subsequently wrote a double concerto dedicated to them. He went on to composer several more cello pieces for Beatrice.
Beatrice Harrison made her first trial disc in February 1914 and began recording in earnest two months later. She toured the U.S. during the First World War. In November 1920, she made the first recording of Sir Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto, the work with which she remains most closely associated apart from the eccentric technical project that she dreamed up a few years later.
In the Spring of 1923, at the age of 32, while practicing Rimsky Korsakov at night in the garden of the Harrison family home called Foyle Riding near the village of Oxted in Surrey, Beatrice Harrison thought she noticed that when she stopped playing she heard a bird “echo” the song. The next day, she asked the gardener what bird it was and was told it was a nightingale. The experience fired her imagination and motivated her on a project that took up much of the next several years of her life and became her greatest claim to fame.
In the Spring of 1924, she phoned Sir John Reith (b. July 20, 1889; d. June 16, 1971), the managing director of the BBC, and convinced him that there was an immediate and pressing need to broadcast the nightingales in her family’s garden on the radio, live, along with her cello-playing. Although reluctant at first, Reith took the project on in the spirit of public service and arranged for the BBC’s Assistant Chief Engineer, Captain Arthur Gilbert Dixon West to arrive on May 18 with a new Marconi-Sykes magnetophone (microphone), an amplifier, batteries, and cable. The two engineers installed the hardware in a small thatched gazebo and ran the electrical current of the sound on a private telephone line to London where it was sent by radio to relay stations around the nation. The broadcast that took place the following night is said to have been heard by a million listeners. The broadcast began at 9:30 and went on for about an hour and a half without a bird audible, but the climax was described in the Birmingham Gazette on May 20, 1924: “Shortly before 11 o’clock the announcer [“Uncle” Rex Palmer] said ‘We are speaking from the woods of Oxted, one of the most beautiful spots in Surrey. In a few moments Miss Beatrice Harrison will be playing to the nightingale. Venus is rising in the West, and the moon is coming up as well.’ A moment later one heard the soft mellow tones of the ‘cello played by Miss Harrison, who, with her two sisters lives in an old house, adjoining which is a garden where the nightingales have taken up their quarters. The ‘cello was immediately accompanied by the sweet, liquid trill of the nightingale whose clear note furnished the treble to the music. For several minutes the concert proceeded. Mr. E. Kay Robinson, in a short talk, said that the nightingale would respond to almost any musical instrument which reproduced its preliminary notes. It sang best in the daytime, while at night the best time to hear it was when it was near the end of its song - about 1:30 AM. As soon as he switched off the liquid notes were heard again. At times the delicate trilling swelled into a song. One bird sent out a message, and it was promptly taken up by another a semi-tone higher. Then the ‘cello was once more heard. The nightingale responded to the challenge made by the beautiful music, softly played, until there was a festival of song. It was a triumph for the BBC. A triumph that will be repeated in a week’s time.”
The following week, The Guardian reported: “The song of the nightingales in the garden in Oxted (Surrey) which was the scene of last week’s experiment, was again heard by listeners-in throughout the country late last night. The experiment was even more successful than the first and for many minutes the trill of the bird nearest to the microphone, with the answering song of a more distant nightingale coulee be heard. When for a moment or two the birds were silent Miss Beatrice Harrison could be heard playing softly an old Irish air [“Londonderry Air”] on the ‘cello, and soon afterwards the nightingale took up its song again.” Four decades later, Harrison wrote in her autobiography, “It was a miracle to have caught his song and to know that it was going, with the cello, to the ends of the earth. My excitement was intense. My greatest wish was accomplished.”
The broadcasts captured the public imagination. 50,000 letters were said to have been received afterward and the event was publicized across the English-speaking world. The Buffalo Enquirer (New York) reported on May 20th: “A nightingale sang in a moonlit Surrey thicket last night and all England heard the song. More than a million radio fans in all parts of the country ‘listened in’ as the clear notes of the feathered songster, entirely unaware of its share in the most remarkable radio concert ever held were caught by land lines to London, whence they were broadcast […] A police cordon was thrown about the thicket to keep back a curious crowd that gathered. A microphone had been concealed in a bush. Tip toeing softly about the garden near where the little songsters were nesting, Miss Beatrice Harrison played several soft notes on a ‘cello. Suddenly the nightingale’s clear song burst on the moonlit air. The ‘cello accompanied it for a few minutes then ceased and the nightingale sang on alone. Jazz bands were stilled throughout the country and all other broadcasting stations ceased operating while every one tuned in to catch the song.”
Sequels to the event were broadcast in May of both 1925 and 1926, but the public was disappointed. Birds failed to sing for either event. In 1925, the BBC brought two magnetophones, hoping to capture more than one bird and to develop cross-fading effects, but all for naught. On May 1, 1926, Harrison performed for three hours without coaxing the nightingales with “Ave Maria” or Saint-Saen’s “They Swan.” High winds and barking dogs were blamed on both occasions. These abject failures seem to nullify recent reports that the nightingales heard on the 1924 broadcast were, in fact, “faked” by having a professional whistler (supposedly one Madame Saberon nee Maude Gould) stand in for the birds. This hypothesis is, after one reads the the contemporary documentation, clearly wrong. The BBC went so far as to issue an apology this year - madness! If a siffleuse had been required for the first broadcasts, why wouldn’t there have been one on stand-by for the subsequent ones?
Totally convinced that her playing could effect the singing of the nightingales said, “When I play my ‘cello, the birds come nearer and nearer to me from the apple trees. They often take up the notes of the music I am playing and carry on a duet. I find they respond most readily to plaintive airs, and the pieces with which I have had most success is Elgar’s ‘cello concerto.” Harrison, meanwhile, devised another scheme to replicate her great success. She described the process in the Saffron Walden Weekly News (Saffron Walden, Essex) May 27, 1927 in an article titled “All-the-Year-Round Nightingales: How I Caught Their Song:” “Any hostess who has tried to make a bashful guest sing must feel she knows something of her victim’s nature. I once heard a hostess describing such a guest; and the description was fairly comprehensive. So perhaps I may be allowed to think I know something of nightingales, for I have spent many an hour trying to coax the little creatures into song. The discovery that nightingales like music came upon me quite accidentally some few years ago. At that time the bird was a rarity, and my sisters and I were all excitement when one took up its abode by a neighboring stream. Our friends and relations used to come down to Oxted to hear the wonder; and then one evening he sulked. A well-known dramatist who was present began to shiver and scoff; and the opinion expressed that the bird I had heard was probably a dodo. After a long wait I brought out my ‘cello and began to play to my guests. And, lo! within five minutes the nightingale burst into song. When he stopped I again played the ‘cell, and again the bird began to sing. This occurred so often that at last there could be no question of the coincidence. And the result was the famous concerts over the wireless. These were successful as far as they went; but they were painfully evanescent. What we need was soughing which would enable the song to be retained for ever and repeated at the will of the listener. The only hope for this sort of thing, of course, by means of a gramophone record. I had done a good deal of this sort of work, but at that time the idea of recording outside a studio savored of romance. Even the introduction of the electrical process of recording did not help much, for that in the case of wild birds one needed more than that. A few weeks ago, by good luck, I happened to be making a record for His Master’s Voice at Hayes, when the King [sister to Harrison’s friend and collaborator Princess Victoria - ed.] and Queen, quite unexpectedly, entered the studio. Their Majesties, who are keen gramophonists, were, I found, study the latest developments in the gramophone industry, and this this object were making an informal tour of the works. When they had left the studio, and I had finished my recording, I saw them enter a large motor van in the factory yard. This van, I was told in a whisper, was a secret. But, incidentally, my informant told me all about it. The van, he said, was really an up-to-date recording room, and, being on a motor chassis it could be taken to any part of the country at a moment’s notice. ‘Just the very thing I have been longing for!’ I exclaimed. ‘Why, who we can catch the song of my nightingales!’ And that was how it happened that my nightingales were one of the first choirs to be recorded by the new device. The Gramophone Company rushed it off to York to make records of the Minster’s 1,300th anniversary music, and then dashed back to my garden, where each year the nightingales are becoming more and more common. This season I have heard 15 different birds. Only the cock birds sing, so there are at least fifteen pairs. As a matter of fact, I believe that there are 25 nests in the neighbourhood; and as the average clutch of eggs is usually five - if the horrible egg collectors leave them alone - there will be over 100 nightingales in or near my garden. The making of the gramophone records was great fun - it was all so secret. We went about like a lot of burglars. And people who saw the mystery van had to be told that it was merely a baker delivering bread. We were so afraid of frightening the birds; and also we did not wish to put temptation in the way of egg collectors. Even with all these precautions the nightingales were often very shy. On one occasion, when the night was wet and cold, I sat for six hours in a ditch trying to make the birds enthusiastic. They would sing intermittently, but that was not enough for the recording of His Master’s Voice. During the fortnight’s work, however, we obtained some wonderful results. One sweet bird gave an exquisite obligato to my playing of the Londonderry Air. And at another time, just at dawn, we got a record of the songs of the birds at the moment when they begin their day. It is a wonderful recording containing not only the song of nightingales but also that of thrushes, blackbirds and other feathered songsters. it is amazing in its tone truth; and the crowing of a distant cock is so atmospheric that it is difficult for a listener not to be deceived. Recently we have been trying to catch the faint and beautiful trill with which the cock nightingale is supposed to herald the hatching of the eggs, and I hope His Master’s Voice will release the fragments of the song recorded - though the recorders are hard to please. A number of daylight recording sessions have also taken place - for it is wrong to think that nightingales sing only at night. They sing at any time. that is to say, during their song season, which in England lasts only from April to June or thereabouts. But in future - thanks to this new device - we shall be able to have nightingales singing in September evenings or even during our Christmas dinner.”
Preceding the release of three discs on the HMV label in the first week of June 1927 at three shillings (roughly $7 today) each, the fact of the recording sessions were reported widely. The May 20, 1927 Sevenoaks Chronicle, Westernham Courier and Kentish Advertiser gave one of the most detailed accounts: “A luxurious trap - which has cost £10,000 to construct and catches nothing but sound - is being used by His Master’s Voice Gramophone Company to capture the song of nightingales in Surrey. The device consists of a complete recording room, mounted on a powerful motor chassis and capable of being used to any part of the countryside at a moment’s notice. On its arrival at a suitable spot, microphones connected to the can by electric cables are hung from branches near which the birds sing. The trappers, as represented by the recording staff, are at present working at Oxted in the old-world garden of Colonel and Mrs. Harrison whose daughter Beatrice with her ‘cello once charmed nightingales into song for the wireless public. If the birds this year show any reluctance to put their song into permanent form on a gramophone record, Miss Harrison will again coax them. This summer there are more nightingales than ever. ‘The other night,’ Miss Harrison told me, ‘we counted fifteen different singers; and we believe there are now twenty-five pairs in the neighborhood. When the eggs hatch out - the average clutch of eggs is five - we shall have well over a hundred nightingales in the garden. Two years ago egg-collectors stole into the garden and took away a nest. It was feared that the old birds would never return to Oxted; but the cock is back again and in good song. Anyhow, great secrecy is now maintained in the household. One rule forbids a member of the family disclosing the whereabouts of a nest even to another member of the family, and this law applies also to the garden staff. The Oxted nightingales are so punctual in their habits that the villagers are able to foretell to within a few hours of time of the birds’ return. They arrive each year on the 14th, 15th, and 16th day of April, and they leave for the sunny south when the world of the August Bank Holiday rush is over. The eggs, usually olive-colored green, are deposited in nests of grass and oak leaves; and it is interesting to note that birds are never found in oarless countries. Only the cock sings, and his delicious voice, so liquid in its quality can be heard almost continuously through these Oxted nights. But it is wrong to think that he sings only at night, for he can be distinguished even in the day-time - though he is then merely one among our feathered choristers. The still English night is certainly the best time for an audience. During the past week the gramophone people have been trying hard to get a front seat at these concerts. It has meant infinite patience and a vast amount of skill, but the recorders believe that at last they have succeeded in catching the glad song of Philomel. The famous trill with which the cock bird is said to hail the hatching of the eggs will next receive attention, the sound-trappers hoping during the coming week-end to capture even this faint note of ecstasy. The nightingales are this year so full of song that the services of Miss Beatrice Harrison and her ‘cello have not been called upon so much as formerly, but once or twice her vigils have been long and cold. never once, however, has she failed eventually to get a response. She comes of a family with musical traditions which must be surely unique. Her grandfather - the father of Colonel Harrison - fought at Waterloo, and carried on the battlefield a guitar. This guitar is to-day greatly prized by Miss Harrison and her sisters.”
When the discs were issued, reviews were glowing, focusing not on Harrison’s playing but on the technical brilliance of HMV’s engineers and the clarity of the bird-song. The Devon and Exeter Gazette’s July 7, 1927 review quoted Harrison but neglected to mention her at all: “I firmly assert that nothing approaching this has ever been accomplished by a gramophone company before […] The results are most realistic, and to close one’s eyes while listening to the record cannot fail to convey the impression that one is reclining in some peaceful sylvan glade. The nightingale’s song has been recorded perfectly, while on the other side the calls of the blackbird, thrush, sparrow, chaffinch, blue-tit, robin, moorhen, water wagtail, blackcap, and wren may be easily distinguished. nearly the end the lusty crow of a challenging cockerel can be heard in the distance, thus adding even more effect. The record gives one the very atmosphere of the countryside, and I heartily congratulate the Company on the successful termination of their experiments. Everyone should buy this record, for, to my mind, it is a veritable treasure, and the outcome of collaboration between nature and science.” The discs sold very well in the U.K.
Of the six sides produced in over a week of work, three included Harrison’s performances. Three more were “soundscapes,” the first ever recorded outdoors in England and among the first ever produced anywhere. If there is any fakery, my best guess is that the “Summer Idyll” side is, in fact, a composite of two separate recordings - one of birdsong and one of church bells - and is perhaps the second example on record of “overdubbing” (after Charles Kellogg’s recording “Bird Chorus” for Victor in 1919), although this remains speculation on my part. Only one disc, lacking Harrison entirely was issued in the U.S. in November, 1927, one month after she started a five-month U.S. tour sometimes publicized as the “nightingale charmer.” She did not try to repeat her broadcasts, but in 1933, she brought a paying public to hear her play with the nightingales on the nights of May 13 and 14 from 4PM until dawn under the patronage of Harrison’s long-time friend and collaborator H.R.H. Princess Victoria for the Royal Society of the Protection of Birds.
“Enjoy hybrid music, because that’s all there is” - Lou Harrison
The composer, arranger, pianist, label owner, conductor, and teacher Alexander Maloof has fascinated several researchers, who have produced interesting critical and biographical writing about him. His story is among the most dazzling in terms of its breadth and depth of accomplishment among all of the immigrant musicians from the Ottoman Empire, and he was a deeply committed and very productive contributor to American music for over 50 years.
Central to his story is the question of what some immigrants have called the “one-point-seven” generation - that is, the people who were born in the old country but who lived much of their childhood in the new country. They and their parents were born “back home,” but they themselves are products of a combination of the “old country” language culture and of the here-and-now in a new country, a foot in both worlds. Almost all waves of immigration to America have dealt with that scenario one way or another. Very few musicians have expressed it in a personal complex of cross-pollinizations as prolifically and intensely as Alexander Maloof.
Researcher Beau Bothwell gives Maloof’s origin as Iskandar Rājī al-Mʿalūf, born January 23, 1884 in the town of Zahle in present-day northern Lebanon. His affluent and educated family relocated to Beirut in 1890. Along with a massive wave of emigration from Syria generally (about a sixth of the population) and Mount Lebanon in particular (a third of the population) during the end of the 19th century, Maloof travelled with his mother Hannah and five siblings to New York City in 1894 when he was ten years old.
His father Abraham attempted to sue Metropolitan Street Railway Company - a common use of the legal system among some immigrants to help establish themselves financially - but he lost he case. According to Linda K. Jacobs, he was listed as “retired"in 1900 at the age of 38. By the age of 20 Alexander, as he was then known, was giving lessons in piano, organ, voice, harmony, and composition lessons at Henius Music Studios in Brooklyn. Richard Breaux gives the date of his first publication of sheet music as 1901. He continued to publish songs and arrangements for the next five decades. On Nov. 10, 1909, Alexander Ragi Maloof filed his Declaration of Intent to become a naturalized American citizen, giving his occupation as “musician.”
The earliest available report of a performance of his was in a March 8, 1911 when the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that at the Damascus Lodge F in the Johnson Building, a program was presented including a comedy juggler, black face songs and stories, and piano solos by Maloof. An auction of closed packages caused “much laughter […] by the revelations” including: live lobsters, eels, snakes, miniature steamboats, drums, and unmentionables […] as well as the ever-present lemon.“ The following year, he published an article (translated by Bothwell) that referred to music as a method of human expression in their longing to return to their true home in the Garden of Eden, a sentiment he echoed in a syndicated 1926 notice, saying “Hopelessness is the predominant quality of oriental music.” According to research by Bothwell, Maloof appears to have traveled to Europe in late 1912 and early 1913 to perform.
By April 1913, Maloof had composed “America the Beautiful” (aka “Amerika Ya Hilwa” and “For Thee, America”) and spent years advocating for it to become the U.S. national anthem. Its lyrics in English by Elizabeth Serbert Fried were published in newspapers:
In lands that reach from sea to sea, All hearts devout bow to thee, In song exultant voices ring, In tightly strain thy praises sing,
In accents deep, sincere, We honor and revere, We’ll stand or fall, We’ll give our all, For thee, our own America.
Full many a hero gave his life, In battle hard and gory strife, To make thee great, to make thee strong, With bloodshed tried to right the wrong.
The brought thee longed-for peace And made dire warfare cease, They fought for thee, They died for thee, For thee our own America.
Now grand and peerless dost thou stand, And peace doth reign throughout the land, With ev’ry fiber, ev’ry nerve, We’ll work for thee and gladly serve.
May peace forever be Our boast, our pledge to thee, We’ll strive with might, To live aright For thee, our own America.
His campaign resulted in the song being sung at many schools, but the “Star Spangled Banner” ultimately won out as the national anthem in 1929.
July 24, 1913, he recorded his first piano solo “Al Jazayer”, a somewhat Joplinesque arrangement of an Ottoman folk song that remained a staple of both Armenian dance bands in the U.S. and and party bands in southern Turkey through the rest of the 20th century, for the Victor Company. Company ledgers indicate that it was a test which was subsequently approved for release. (Dr. Edwin Seroussi of Hebrew University of Jerusalem once said that he thought that the performance was from Edmond Yafil’s 1904 collection of piano transcriptions of Algerian tunes, Répertoire de musique arabe et maure. I have not attempted to confirm or deny this but leave it as an open question for future investigation.) Its B-side, the Maloof original “A Trip to Syria” (a journey he himself never made), was recorded several months later when Maloof was already about 29 years old. That disc was not marketed specifically to Arab-Americans but rather to the broader American public who had already embraced the song “The Streets of Cairo” more than a decade earlier and were interested in the exotic hoochie-koochie (bellydance) from the Holy Land of the Levant. Contemporary advertisements of Victor label releases list among popular and light classical releases. They were, in any case, the first commercial recordings made in the U.S. by an Arab-Armerican. Maloof’s audience at the time certainly included both Arab and native-born Americans , evidenced by his performance in November 1913 in benefit of the Syrian Church at Scranton, Pennsylvania’s Town Hall along with violinist Nagieb Fihani, an event that also included a duo playing “Turkish mandolins,” and eight singers who performed European and American classical repertoire.
Recording in the Arabic language in the U.S. began May 1914 with a handful of side produced by Rev. George Aziz shortly before the outset of World War I (and shortly after Columbia had produced its first series of reasonably successful commercial recordings in Turkish in Sept. - Oct. 1912). Maloof meanwhile presented concerts of his pupils in Brooklyn in April 1916, performing “For Thee America” and “Hail to Our Flag” on organ, published a songbook title Music of the Orient in 1917 of his own transcriptions of Arab folk songs, and worked at the Mason & Hamlin piano company on 5th Avenue. “A Trip to Syria” was included among the pieces performed by the Russian-born ballet dancer Adolph Boml’s (b. 1884; d. 1951) company presented on tour in the Summer of 1917 with costumes and set design by the Hungarian-born illustrator Willy Pogony (b. 1882; d. 1955). Maloof’s “The Moon Flower” was also included among the pieces danced by Roshanara (Olive Craddock, b. 1894; d. 1926), a dancer with Bolm’s troupe, at Carnegie Hall in 1918, conducted by Victor Kolar (b. 1888, d. 1957). She performed to his “Berceuse Orientale” the following year.
The silent film star Alice Brady (b. 1892; d. 1939) sang Maloof’s “Moon Flower” during her 1920 concerts and appeared in the play "Anna Ascends,” a story, according to Sarah Gaultieri, of Syrian immigrant assimilation, for which Maloof wrote the music. It was subsequently filmed in 1922, directed by Victor Fleming (b. 1889; d. 1949, who famously later directed Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz.) Maloof meanwhile performed regularly through the late 10s and into the 1930s around New York and New Jersey, including a 1930 performance at the reception attended by Arturo Toscanini following a lecture by Albert Einstein and at a reception the following year at the Ritz Carlton in honor of both Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore. In 1931, Maloof accompanied the famous Kurdish-Jewish dancer Leyla Bedir Khan (b. ca. 1903; d. 1986). From 1924 onward, he began performing on the radio from WBBR, WEAF, WRNY, WGBS, and WOR. He also produced at least four piano rolls of his own playing - three of them self-released, and one, his “Berceuse Orientale” (later known as “The Desert Wail”) for the Aeolian Company.
The expiration of patents on disc manufacturing in the early 1920s saw a brief explosion of independent releases among immigrant musicians, including two labels on the Washington St. section of present-day Tribeca in Manhattan then home to a cluster of homes and business remembered as Little Syria: Macksoud, run by the youngest son of Syrian family of silk and real estate magnates, and Alexander Maloof’s own eponymous label . There was some overlap of performers between the two labels. While the Macksoud label produced primarily “traditional” songs or recordings that were referential to the “old world,” Maloof primarily produced discs referring to the present, often including his own band and and incorporating stylistic Americanisms. He also released “traditional” or homeward-looking Syrian music, including performances by the Aleppo-born violinist Naim Karacand, who had been recording for Columbia Records a few blocks away from Washington St., for several years, but he also made band recordings of Syrian tunes in the mold of Prince’s Band and the Sousa Band who had been the popular disc-makers for over a decade. Maloof used both forms of accompaniment the the local Syrian-American singers, including the popular Selim Doumani and Louis Wardini. Starting in 1920, Maloof recorded his label’s releases at the Gennett Company’s New York studios in spurts of activity for over a decade. His band also recorded six sides for Victor in on Feb. 15, 1926, five of which were issued. The last of the discs on Maloof’s own label appear to have been issued in 1932 and featured the soprano Fedora (Fadwa) Kurban (b. 1898; d. 1986, the subject of an interesting biographical essay by Richard Breaux syrianlebanesediasporasound.blogspot.com/2019/09/fedora-fadwa-kurban-defiant-daughter.html ). That year Maloof also produced a two series of pipe organ solos for the Gennett label - one of them marketed to skating rinks and the other, according to Richard Spottswood, apparently intended for use in funeral parlors.
In the depths of the Depression, around 1935, coincident with his move to Teaneck, New Jersey, Maloof turned his attention to the development of his music school. He he had maintained a studio at Carnegie Hall since 1920 and opened another in Englewood, New Jersey, both of which were outfitted with disc cutting equipment for use during lessons so that students could study their own playing and his instruction at home. By 1937, his Carnegie School of Music, had a faculty of five teachers providing both individual lessons and classes in piano, voice, violin, and theory at rates of between $5 and $15 a month. Enrollment swelled through the following decade, and Maloof brought in more instructors, primarily graduates of Julliard. Through the 40s, he also continued to publish sheet music of his own compositions as well as arrangements of Grieg, Chopin, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, etc,, and piano method instruction books, several of which he licensed to the publishers C.F. Fischer, Schroeder, and Gunther.
According to Richard Breaux, Maloof was commissioned to write the 1936 campaign theme song of Alf Landon for his failed presidential bid as the Republican nominee, titled “Let’s Land Landon in the White House.” Maloof continued to operate the school until his death at home in New Jersey on February 29, 1956, survived by his wife Edith, his brother Emile (a theraminist who apparently never recorded), and four sisters, Julia, Marie, Emma, and Adele. In 1963, Alexander Maloof’s name appeared on the front cover of an bargain-bin LP exploiting the popularity of the newly released film Lawrence of Arabia. The B-side of that record was derived from what we presume to be private recordings of an orchestral suite composed and conducted by Maloof, probably a decade or more earlier.