Jan Savitt

Instrument

Jan Savitt (born Jacob Savetnick; September 4, 1907 – October 4, 1948), known as "The Stokowski of Swing",[1] from having played violin in Leopold Stokowski's orchestra,[2] was an American bandleader, musical arranger, and violinist.

Savitt was born in Shumsk, then part of the Russian Empire (now part of Ukraine) and reared in Philadelphia. He evidenced musical ability an early age and began winning conservatory scholarships in the study of the violin. He was offered the position of concert master in Leopold Stokowski's Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, but turned it down, preferring to continue his studies at Curtis Institute. About a year later, believing himself ready, he joined Stokowski and the association continued for seven years, during which time Savitt gained further laurels as a concert soloist and leader of a string quartet.

In 1938, Jan Savitt & His Top Hatters broadcast from 5–5:30 pm every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday as the KYW staff orchestra at KYW/NBC in Philadelphia. Saturday's weekly broadcast was one hour, coast-to-coast. The group also played at the Earl Theatre and performed with The Andrews Sisters and The Three Stooges.

Shortly before arriving in Sacramento, California, with his orchestra on Saturday, October 2, 1948, for a concert scheduled for that evening at Memorial Auditorium, Savitt was stricken with a cerebral hemorrhage and taken to Sacramento County Hospital. Savitt died on October 4, with his wife at his bedside.