Vernon Duke

Real Name:
Vladimir Dukelsky
Profile:
Russian-American composer and songwriter.

Born: 10 October 1903 in Prafianovo, Pskov Governate, Russian Empire.
Died: 16 January 1969 in Santa Monica, California, USA (aged 65).

Born Vladimir Dukelsky, he grew up in Kiev and showed remarkable musical talent at an early age; he was admitted to the Kiev Conservatory when he was only eleven years old. At the Conservatory, he studied with the composer Reinhold Glière, and one of his contemporaries there was the young Vladimir Horowitz. Duke was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.

His family fled Russia in 1919 at the outbreak of the Russian Revolution and spent eighteen months in Constantinople. In 1921, the Dukelsky family obtained United States visas and emigrated to New York. Vladimir became friends with George Gershwin, who suggested that he Americanize his name to Vernon Duke. He used his pen name for popular music and used his given name when writing classical music or Russian poetry (until 1955, when he dropped the name Dukelsky).

He moved to Paris in 1924 and wrote classical music (as Dukelsky) for Ballet Russes and also composed his First Symphony (1928). He became close friends with composer Sergei Prokofiev as well as Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau. He also traveled to London and contributed to musical comedies (as Vernon Duke).

In 1929, he returned to New York and began writing for Broadway, partnering with E.Y. Harburg to write his first pop hit "April in Paris." Duke's songs "April In Paris" (1932), "Autumn In New York" (1934), "I Like The Likes Of You" (1934), "Water Under the Bridge" (1934), and "I Can't Get Started" (1936), were hits of the 1930s.

Dukelsky became a US citizen in 1936 (some sources say 1939) and took Vernon Duke as his legal name. During World War II, he served in the US Coast Guard, where he wrote the score for a Coast Guard revue, "Tars And Spars", starring the young and then-unknown Sid Caesar.

After the war, his career lulled, and he lived in France, eventually settling in California in 1948. By 1955, he dropped the name Dukelsky, and from then on both his classical and popular compositions were credited to Vernon Duke. In that same year, he published an autobiography, "Passport To Paris", and in 1957 he married singer Kay McCracken.

Vernon Duke died during an operation for lung cancer in Santa Monica, California on 16 January 1969.
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Artist

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Albums

312-V This Is My Beloved — Vernon Duke John Dall, Vernon Duke, Lehman Engel John Dall, Vernon Duke, Lehman Engel - This Is My Beloved (Album) Atlantic 312-V US 1948 Sell This Version
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1252 This Is My Beloved — Vernon Duke Alfred Ryder, Vernon Duke, Lehman Engel, Walter Benton (2) Alfred Ryder, Vernon Duke, Lehman Engel, Walter Benton (2) - This Is My Beloved(LP, Album, Mono) Atlantic 1252 US 1956 Sell This Version
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MG 20380 Time Remembered — Vernon Duke Vernon Duke, Pete Rugolo And His Orchestra* Vernon Duke, Pete Rugolo And His Orchestra* - Time Remembered (Album) Mercury MG 20380 US 1957 Sell This Version
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C6004 String Quartet/Three Caprices/Variations On An Old Russian Chant/Surrealist Suite — Vernon Duke Vernon Duke String Quartet/Three Caprices/Variations On An Old Russian Chant/Surrealist Suite(LP, Album) Contemporary Records C6004 USA & Canada 1959 Sell This Version
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S 8007 Sonata in D / Etude for Violin and Bassoon / Souvenir de Venise / Parisian Suite — Vernon Duke Vernon Duke Sonata in D / Etude for Violin and Bassoon / Souvenir de Venise / Parisian Suite Contemporary Composers Series S 8007 US 1961 Sell This Version
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GLS 6016 The Serious Songs — Vernon Duke Kay McCracken / David Berfield - Vernon Duke Kay McCracken / David Berfield - Vernon Duke - The Serious Songs(LP) Glendale Records GLS 6016 US 1978 Sell This Version
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TER 1001 Nashville New York - A Revue — Vernon Duke Vernon Duke, Kurt Weill, Robert Cushman, Christopher Benjamin (2) Vernon Duke, Kurt Weill, Robert Cushman, Christopher Benjamin (2) - Nashville New York - A Revue(LP) That's Entertainment Records TER 1001 UK 1980 Sell This Version
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ZDM 0777 7 64892 2 3 Cabin In The Sky: A Musical Fantasy (New York Revival Cast Recording) — Vernon Duke Vernon Duke, John Latouche Vernon Duke, John Latouche - Cabin In The Sky: A Musical Fantasy (New York Revival Cast Recording)(CD, Album, RE, RM) Broadway Angel ZDM 0777 7 64892 2 3 US 1993 Sell This Version
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440 016 056-2 Ziegfeld Follies Of 1936 (Original Cast Abum) — Vernon Duke Ira Gershwin, Vernon Duke, Various Ira Gershwin, Vernon Duke, Various - Ziegfeld Follies Of 1936 (Original Cast Abum)(CD, Album) Decca Broadway 440 016 056-2 US 2001 Sell This Version
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1020 Zenda — Vernon Duke Vernon Duke - Starring Alfred Drake, Anne Rogers, Chita Rivera Vernon Duke - Starring Alfred Drake, Anne Rogers, Chita Rivera - Zenda(CDr, RE, RM) Deja Vu Records (3) 1020 US 2003 Sell This Version
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8.559286 Piano Concerto • Cello Concerto — Vernon Duke Vernon Duke, Scott Dunn, Sam Magill*, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Dmitry Yablonsky Vernon Duke, Scott Dunn, Sam Magill*, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Dmitry Yablonsky - Piano Concerto • Cello Concerto(CD, Album) Naxos 8.559286 Canada 2007 Sell This Version
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PS-1198 Sweet Bye And Bye — Vernon Duke Vernon Duke, Ogden Nash Vernon Duke, Ogden Nash - Sweet Bye And Bye(CD, Album) PS Classics PS-1198 US 2011 Sell This Version
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PS-1526 Misia — Vernon Duke Vernon Duke, Barry Singer, Marin Mazzie Vernon Duke, Barry Singer, Marin Mazzie - Misia(CD, Album) PS Classics PS-1526 USA & Canada 2015 Sell This Version
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Singles & EPs

none Water Under The Bridge / I'm Mad About A Man About Town — Vernon Duke Bonnie Lake, Vernon Duke Bonnie Lake, Vernon Duke - Water Under The Bridge / I'm Mad About A Man About Town Liberty Music Shop none US 1934 Sell This Version
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2002 I Can't Get Started, Part. 2 — Vernon Duke Vernon Duke I Can't Get Started, Part. 2(7") Melojazz 2002 US Unknown Sell This Version