Louis Alter

American Born 00 1902 Died 00 1980

Louis Alter (June 18, 1902, Haverhill, Massachusetts–November 5, 1980, New York City, New York) was an American pianist, songwriter and composer. Alter was 13 when he began playing piano in theaters showing silent films. He studied at the New England Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Stuart Mason.

Alter played in vaudeville houses as the accompanist for headliners Irène Bordoni and Nora Bayes. He appeared with Bayes from 1924 until her death in 1928, touring the United States and abroad.[1] Since he had previously written some songs for Broadway shows, Alter decided to concentrate on songwriting after Bayes' death. His first hit was "Manhattan Serenade" (1929), originally an instrumental that later became the theme music of the Easy Aces radio program. There are numerous recordings of "Manhattan Serenade," and it was featured prominently in Nancy Groce's book, New York: Songs of the City (Watson-Guptill, 1999). Alter recalled:

I was a great fan of Whiteman when I first came down here from Boston. He was the first big name I actually followed around and met. I was having a love affair with New York when Whiteman commissioned me to write a tone poem. I walked around this city for six months absorbing the sights and sounds. And then suddenly it came to me. Once I plunged into it I finished it in two hours.

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