American pianist and bandleader Peter Oelrichs Duchin. In the present day, he is still at his own residence, continuing his life there.
Primitive Years and Schooling
New York City is where Duchin’s father, pianist and bandleader Eddy Duchin, gave birth to him. When he was only five days old, his mother, Marjorie Oelrichs, a socialite from Newport, Rhode Island and New York City, passed away suddenly.
It was stated that her reply upon learning that Eddy Duchin’s father had been removed off the New York Social Register due of their marriage was ” “Really, who gives a crap? A simple phone book, really.” After losing both of his parents, he was raised by statesman W. Averell Harriman and his wife, Marie Norton Harriman, who were close family friends.
While in New England, Duchin attended the prestigious Eaglebrook School (where he had piano lessons from Carrie Barbour Swift) and The Hotchkiss School. He lived in France for a while and attended the prestigious Sorbonne before returning to the United States to earn his degree from Yale.
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As a result of his family’s connections, Duchin was able to put together his first professional band in 1962, which performed at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City.
A musical approach that includes big bands, swing, and Broadway songs (and these days, old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll) has been used to characterize the band’s style and genres.
Albums and singles by Duchin, issued on the Decca, Bell, and Capitol record labels, were often played on mainstream radio stations in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1964, his single “Star Dust” peaked at position No. 143 on the Cashbox chart.
Duchin worked with Jimmy Maxwell, head of the New Orleans traditional society jazz ensemble, from 1985 until 1989.
Approximately 6,000 shows were played by Duchin’s band by 2009.
Duchin has served on the New York State Council on the Arts as both an honorary member and Vice Chairman. He has sat on the boards of numerous New York institutions, including the American Ballet Theatre, Carnegie Hall, the Spoleto Festival USA, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Advisory Council for the American Russian Youth Orchestra, the National Jazz Service Organization, the World Policy Institute, and the Citizens Committee for New York City.
In addition to his work at the company, he served on the board of directors at The Center for Arts Education.
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He wed Cheray Zauderer, a former Manhattan socialite and divorcee, in 1964, and the couple went on to raise three children together. Their wedding gift from her father was a Thoroughbred yearling they named Mr. Right. The colt joined an exclusive club, being one of only four thoroughbreds in American history to triumph in both the Santa Anita Handicap and the Woodward Stakes.
Duchin married his longtime girlfriend Brooke Hayward in 1985 after divorcing Zauderer. The pair had dual residences, one in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and the other in Litchfield County’s Washington, Connecticut. His autobiography, Ghost of a Chance, came out in 1996. Hayward and Duchin filed for divorce in 2008.
In 2012, Duchin wed Virginia Coleman in East Hampton during the Memorial Day holiday.