Louis Ginsberg

Age 92: Trumpeter played at John F. Kennedy's inauguration.

June 08, 2008|By Justin Fenton and June Arney | Justin Fenton and June Arney,Sun Reporters

Louis Ginsberg, a trumpeter for more than 60 years whose band played at President John F. Kennedy's inauguration, died Friday of complications from Parkinson's disease at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. He was 92.

Mr. Ginsberg was born in Lynn, Mass., and moved to the Baltimore area when he was 10 years old. He graduated from City College in 1933.

He started playing the trumpet in 1929, at age 13, and studied under musicians at the Peabody Conservatory and the National Symphony.

From 1940 to 1941, he played trumpet with Don Bestor's Band.

"He was the music contractor," said his son, Edward Ginsberg of Baltimore. "He would supply any type of music. That's how he grew his business and developed. He really had kind of the finest reputation in Baltimore as a high society musician."

Mr. Ginsberg served in the Coast Guard from 1942 to 1945 and played in the Coast Guard band with his lifelong friend, trumpet player Irv Goodman - clarinetist Benny Goodman's brother.

After the war, Mr. Ginsberg joined clarinetist Jerry Wald's band, from 1945 to 1946 traveling from New York to Hollywood.

With the Big Band era ending, Mr. Ginsberg returned from the road and, in 1948, married Zena Hurwitz, who survives him.

During the late 1940s, he did a stint with the WBAL radio staff band, playing morning and dinner show five days a week.

From 1949 to 1953, he played downtown Baltimore clubs including Club Charles and the Chanticleer. By 1960, he had formed his own band, the Lou Ginsberg Orchestra, which played local clubs, weddings, bar mitzvahs and many other local events.

"It's always fun when you get the people to enjoy the music and you see them on the dance floor," said longtime friend and fellow musician Dario Montaldo. "He was very professional on the job. He was pretty strict. It had to be like that."

Mr. Ginsberg often would travel to the location of some of the music gigs early to scout out directions and other details, said Mr. Montaldo, who worked as a drummer and singer with the Lou Ginsberg Orchestra from 1976 to the early 1990s.

"He didn't want to leave anything to chance," Mr. Montaldo said. "He was a very good friend to me. He was an extremely nice man."

Mr. Ginsberg stopped playing the trumpet at about age 80 because of Parkinson's disease.

"It was very difficult," his son said. "It was his entire life. His illness really overcame his ability to play the trumpet."

Funeral services are scheduled for 2 p.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros. Inc., 8900 Reisterstown Road.

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Ginsberg is survived by two daughters, Adrienne Berman and Debbie Levinson, both of Baltimore; a sister, Dorothy Baumberg of Boston; and six grandchildren.



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