Michael Stillman

Founder of Monitor Records

Michael Stillman, a founder of eclectic world-music pioneer Monitor Records, died April 15 at his home in Somers, N.Y. He was 87.

Saratov, Russia, native and his family immigrated to Manhattan when he was 5. His father was first violist for the NBC Symphony Orchestra. The son, although an accomplished pianist, instead graduated as a history major from NYU, joined the Army during WWII and later worked for Leeds Music. During this time, he met Rose Rubin, who shared his interest in Russian music, and 1956 they founded Monitor to fill the U.S. audio void in such fare. But they expanded to bring in other Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc music as well as Polynesian hulas, global folk songs, music for Middle Eastern belly dances and more.

In 1999, the pair donated Monitor’s 250-plus holdings to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Survivors include second wife Beatrice and a son.

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