62 Facts About Arturo Toscanini


Arturo Toscanini was one of the most acclaimed and influential musicians of the late 19th and early 20th century, renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, and his eidetic memory.

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Arturo Toscanini was at various times the music director of La Scala in Milan and the New York Philharmonic.

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Arturo Toscanini was born in Parma, Emilia-Romagna, and won a scholarship to the local music conservatory, where he studied the cello.

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The menu at the conservatory consisted almost entirely of fish; in his later years, Arturo Toscanini steadfastly refused to eat anything that came from the sea.

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Arturo Toscanini joined the orchestra of an opera company, with which he toured South America in 1886.

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Arturo Toscanini returned to his chair in the cello section, and participated as cellist in the world premiere of Verdi's Otello under the composer's supervision.

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The composer was impressed when Arturo Toscanini consulted him personally about Verdi's Te Deum, suggesting an allargando where it was not set out in the score.

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Arturo Toscanini exhibited a considerable capacity for hard work, conducting 43 concerts in Turin in 1898.

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In 1908, Arturo Toscanini joined the Metropolitan Opera in New York, along with Giulio Gatti-Casazza who left La Scala to assume the post as the Met's general manager.

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Arturo Toscanini conducted the New York Philharmonic from 1926 until 1936; he toured Europe with the Philharmonic in 1930.

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Arturo Toscanini was the first non-German conductor to appear at Bayreuth, and the New York Philharmonic was the first non-German orchestra to play there.

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In 1919, Arturo Toscanini unsuccessfully ran as a Fascist parliamentary candidate in Milan.

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Arturo Toscanini had been called "the greatest conductor in the world" by Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.

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Arturo Toscanini had already become disillusioned with fascism before the October 1922 March on Rome and repeatedly defied the Italian dictator.

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Arturo Toscanini refused to display Mussolini's photograph or conduct the Fascist anthem Giovinezza at La Scala.

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Arturo Toscanini's passport was returned only after a world outcry over Toscanini's treatment.

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Arturo Toscanini returned in 1946 to conduct a concert for the opening of the restored La Scala Opera House, which was heavily damaged by bombing during the war.

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In 1936, Arturo Toscanini resigned from the New York Philharmonic, returned to Italy and was considering retirement; David Sarnoff, president of the Radio Corporation of America, proposed creating a symphony orchestra for radio concerts and engaging Arturo Toscanini to conduct it.

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In January 1980, Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic began a series of special televised NBC concerts called Live From Studio 8H, the first one being a tribute to Arturo Toscanini, punctuated by clips from his NBC television concerts.

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Some of Arturo Toscanini's recording sessions for RCA Victor were mastered on sound film in a process developed around 1930, as detailed by RCA Victor producer Charles O'Connell in his memoirs, On and Off The Record.

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Arturo Toscanini even wrote his own orchestral arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner, which was incorporated into the NBC Symphony's performances of Verdi's Hymn of the Nations, together with the Soviet Internationale.

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Later that year, Arturo Toscanini had a disagreement with NBC management over their use of his musicians in other NBC broadcasts.

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Arturo Toscanini stated that he now wished "to withdraw from the militant scene of Art" and thus declined to sign a new contract for the up-coming winter season, but left the door open for an eventual return "if my state of mind, health and rest will be improved enough".

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One of the more-remarkable broadcasts was in July 1942, when Arturo Toscanini conducted the American premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No 7.

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Stokowski had previously given the US premieres of Shostakovich's First, Third and Sixth Symphonies in Philadelphia, and in December 1941, urged NBC to obtain the score of the Seventh Symphony as he desired to conduct its premiere as well; but Arturo Toscanini coveted this for himself and there were a number of remarkable letters between the two conductors, before Stokowski agreed to let Arturo Toscanini have the privilege of conducting the first performance.

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In June 1954, Arturo Toscanini participated in his final RCA Victor sessions, recording re-takes of isolated unsatisfactory passages from his NBC radio broadcasts of the Verdi operas Aida and Un Ballo in Maschera, for release on records.

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Arturo Toscanini prepared and conducted seven complete operas for NBC radio broadcasts: Fidelio, La boheme, La Traviata, Otello, Aida, Falstaff and Un Ballo in Maschera .

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Arturo Toscanini conducted, broadcast and recorded entire acts and various excerpts from several other operas.

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Arturo Toscanini reportedly enjoyed watching boxing and wrestling matches, as well as comedy programs on television.

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Arturo Toscanini suffered a stroke on New Year's Day 1957, and he died on January 16, at the age of 89 at his home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx in New York City.

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Arturo Toscanini's body was returned to Italy and was entombed in the Cimitero Monumentale in Milan.

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Arturo Toscanini's epitaph is taken from one account of his remarks concluding the 1926 premiere of Puccini's unfinished Turandot: "Qui finisce l'opera, perche a questo punto il maestro e morto" .

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Arturo Toscanini was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987.

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Arturo Toscanini worked with many great singers and musicians throughout his career, but few impressed him as much as pianist Vladimir Horowitz.

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In 1933, Wanda Arturo Toscanini married Horowitz, with the conductor's blessings and warnings; they remained married until Vladimir Horowitz' death in 1989.

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At La Scala, which had what was then the most modern stage lighting system installed in 1901 and an orchestral pit installed in 1907, Arturo Toscanini pushed through reforms in the performance of opera.

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Arturo Toscanini favored the traditional orchestral seating plan with the first violins and cellos on the left, the violas on the near right, and the second violins on the far right.

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Arturo Toscanini conducted the world premieres of many operas, four of which have become part of the standard operatic repertoire: Pagliacci, La boheme, La fanciulla del West and Turandot.

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Arturo Toscanini took an active role in Alfano's completion of Puccini's Turandot.

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Arturo Toscanini conducted the world premiere of Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings.

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Arturo Toscanini made his first recordings in December 1920 with the La Scala Orchestra in the Trinity Church studio of the Victor Talking Machine Company in Camden, New Jersey, and his last with the NBC Symphony Orchestra in June 1954 in Carnegie Hall.

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Arturo Toscanini conducted the New York Philharmonic in Carnegie Hall for RCA Victor in several recordings in 1929 and 1936.

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Arturo Toscanini made a series of long-unissued recordings with the Philadelphia Orchestra for RCA Victor in Philadelphia's Academy of Music in 1941 and 1942.

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All of Arturo Toscanini's commercially issued RCA Victor and HMV recordings have been digitally remastered and released on compact disc.

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Arturo Toscanini was fifty-three years old and had been conducting for thirty-four years when he made his first records in 1920, and did not begin recording on a regular basis until 1938, after he became conductor of the NBC Symphony Orchestra at the age of seventy.

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The majority of Arturo Toscanini's recordings were made with the NBC Symphony and cover the bulk of his repertoire.

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Arturo Toscanini was especially famous for his performances of Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Richard Strauss, Debussy and his own compatriots Rossini, Verdi, Boito and Puccini.

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Arturo Toscanini made many recordings, especially towards the end of his career, most of which are still in print.

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Arturo Toscanini himself was often disappointed that the 78-rpm discs failed to fully capture all of the instruments in the orchestra or altered their sound to such an extent they became unrecognizable.

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Arturo Toscanini had listened to several of the test pressings and had given his approval to some of the recordings, rejected others and was prepared to re-record the unsatisfactory sides.

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RCA Victor had declared the defective masters unsalvageable and Arturo Toscanini eventually re-recorded all of the same music with the NBC Symphony.

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Arturo Toscanini Society was nonprofit, Key said he believed he had successfully bypassed both copyright restrictions and the maze of contractual ties between RCA and the Maestro's family.

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Walter Arturo Toscanini later admitted that his father likely rejected performances that were satisfactory.

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Whatever the real reasons, the Arturo Toscanini Society was forced to disband and cease releasing any further recordings.

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Arturo Toscanini was one of the first conductors to make extended appearances on live television.

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NBC cameras were often left on Arturo Toscanini for extended periods, documenting not only his baton techniques but his deep involvement in the music.

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The entire group of Arturo Toscanini videos has since been reissued by Testament on DVD, with further improvements to the sound.

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In December 1943, Arturo Toscanini made a 31-minute film for the United States Office of War Information called Hymn of the Nations, directed by Alexander Hammid.

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Arturo Toscanini: The Maestro is a 1985 documentary made for cable television.

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The film is a fictional recounting of the events that led up to Arturo Toscanini making his conducting debut in Rio de Janeiro in 1886.

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Arturo Toscanini enjoyed the kind of consistent critical acclaim during his life that few other musicians have had.

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Nevertheless, composers and others who worked with Arturo Toscanini, including Aaron Copland in an audio interview, readily acknowledged what they felt was his greatness.

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