Tucked away in a corner of Elmsford for the past twenty years is a small music firm. The owner Irv Kratka has been running the company since 1950. That's sixty one years of continuous activity. Kratka, now approaching eighty-six is still working, scoffing at retirement, "That's for sissies" and making recordings in all genres of music, as well as operating three websites, seen in over 102 countries , Music Minus One, Pocket Song (its karaoke division) and Inner City and Classic Jazz, two jazz imprints.
Dubbed by his industry the National Association of Music Merchants, "the father of karaoke" Karaoke supposedly a Japanese art-form is as American as apple-pie. Pocket Songs, its karaoke imprint offers over 23,000 songs for sing-along purposes which have seen usage in film, TV and Radio and commercial products over the years.
Kratka is also the inventor of one of the world's most famous music trademarks, Music Minus One, a brand known to three generations of musicians around the world. What is Music Minus One? Well if you play a musical instrument, like the piano or violin, clarinet or flute, MMO will send an eighty piece orchestra to your home via a CD and book of music, voila…your own house band, available day or night. And yes, alto sax, tenor sax, French Horn, trumpet and trombone editions including a rare Harp Concerto, can also be acquired. Having begun in the middle of the last century, the company has managed to obtain the services of the first chair players of the N.Y. Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Philadelphia , Boston, Chicago and Cleveland Orchestras.
To be standing on a stage (your living room) accompanied by a full symphony orchestra performing one of the great concerti of music, is a musician's dream come true. Whether you love Mozart, or Beethoven, Mendelssohn or Bach, the greatest concerti are now available in glorious stereo recordings as part of the company's one thousand albums produced since 1950. Begun at the twilight of the 78 rpm era, Kratka has moved successively through the long playing vinylite era, the cassette era and now offers his product on CD, and via digital download. This company has spawned an entire music industry of book/cd combinations, now copied by every publisher in music, from Hal Leonard, Carl Fischer, G. Schirmer, Warner Bros. Alfred Publishing, Jamey Aebersold, etc.etc.
Kratka has enlarged his own catalogue offerings to include 6000 other publications, offering the largest such selection in music, which he sells world-wide, both direct to the consumer as well as to dealers and distributors, via his websites, www.musicminusone.com; pocketsongs.com and innercityjazz.com . The latter is a set of jazz labels, Inner City and Classic Jazz, featuring music by Dizzy Gillespie, Django Reinhardt, Clifford Brown and early jazz pioneers such as Sidney Bechet, Bob Wilber, Willie "The Lion" Smith and Errol Garner.
Located at 50 Executive Blvd. in Elmsford, the MMO Music Group, heads into its 62nd year on January 1,2012.