Felix Arndt

Felix Arndt (May 20, 1889 – October 16, 1918) was an American pianist and composer of popular music. His mother was the Countess Fevrier, related to Napoleon III.

Educated in New York (his music teachers included Carl Lachmund), Arndt composed songs for the famous vaudeville team of Jack Norworth and Nora Bayes, and recorded over 3000 piano rollsfor Duo-Art and QRS Records. He died in New York city aged 29 during the Spanish Flu pandemic.

Arndt is best remembered for his 1915 composition, "Nola", written as an engagement gift to his fiancee (and later wife), Nola Locke. It is sometimes considered to be the first example of thenovelty piano or "novelty ragtime" genre, published by Sam Fox Publishing Company. It was the signature theme of the Vincent Lopez orchestra, and a top ten hit for Les Paul in 1950. Other Arndt compositions include "Desecration Rag", "An Operatic Nightmare - Desecration No. 2", and "Clover Club".

His piano rolls reveal Arndt to be a fine pianist, and he is known to have been an influence on the young George Gershwin, who would visit him at his studio in the Aeolian Building on 42nd Street inManhattan.


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