Arturo Toscanini


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Arturo Toscanini: Wilhelm Furtwangler

Toscanini, Arturo

(ärto͞o`rō tōskänē`nē), 1867–1957, Italian conductor, internationally recognized as one of the world's great conductors. He studied cello at the Parma Conservatory, from which he graduated in 1885. After performing as a cellist with various minor orchestras in Italy, he went to Rio de Janeiro in 1886 to play in the opera orchestra there. Substituting as conductor, he first demonstrated his ability to elicit electrifying performances from musicians, a sound that was lean, exciting, transparent, and accurate, and he was engaged for the rest of the season.

Toscanini returned to Italy the next season (1886–87), and there conducted the premieres of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci (1892) and Puccini's La Bohème (1896) and the Italian premiere of Wagner's Götterdämmerung (1895). In 1898, Toscanini was appointed chief conductor and artistic director at La Scala, Milan, where he presented many new operas and the Italian premieres of many others, including Wagner's Die Meistersinger (1898) and Siegfried (1899). Unlike previous La Scala conductors, he conceived of an opera as an organic entity, with costumes, sets, staging, and direction all contributing to the drama of the whole.

From 1908 to 1914 he conducted at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City, where he gave American premieres of Puccini's Girl of the Golden West (1910), Wolf-Ferrari's Le donne curiose (1912), and other works. Toscanini returned to Italy during World War I. With the reorganized La Scala Orchestra he toured (1920–21) Europe and the United States and was artistic director of La Scala from 1921 to 1929. After 1931, the antifascist conductor refused to perform in Mussolini's Italy; he also refused to appear in Hitler's Germany. He conducted the New York Philharmonic from 1928 to 1936 and the NBC Symphony Orchestra, which was formed for him, from 1937. His other important engagements included the Bayreuth Festivals (1930, 1931), of which he was the first non-German conductor, the Salzburg Festivals (1934–36), and the Lucerne Festivals (1937–39). In 1936 he conducted the inaugural concert of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra in Tel Aviv. In 1954 he retired as conductor of the NBC Symphony Orchestra.

Toscanini commanded perfection from his orchestras and instilled them with remarkable energy. A tempestuous personality, he was nevertheless greatly respected by performers and was widely emulated by conductors. His artistry is preserved in recordings, notably of the symphonies of Beethoven and works by Brahms, Wagner, Verdi, and many others.

Bibliography

See B. H. Haggin, Conversations with Toscanini (1959); letters ed. by H. Sachs (2002); biographies by H. H. Taubman (1950), S. Chotzinoff (1956), D. Ewen (rev. ed. 1960), B. H. Haggin (1967), and H. Sachs (1978 and 2017); studies by R. C. Marsh (1956) and P. C. Hughes (2d enl. ed. 1970), J. Horowitz (1987), and H. Sachs (1991).

Toscanini, Arturo

 

Born Mar. 25, 1867, in Parma; died Jan. 16, 1957, in New York. Italian conductor.

In 1885, Toscanini graduated from the Royal School of Music in Parma, where he studied the cello. He began his career as an orchestral musician. In 1886 he made his conducting debut in Rio de Janeiro, and from 1887 to 1898 he was an opera and symphony conductor in Italy. From 1898 to 1903, 1906 to 1908, and 1921 to 1929, Toscanini was principal conductor and music director at La Scala in Milan, and from 1908 to 1915 he conducted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He also made conducting tours throughout the world. In 1928, Toscanini moved to the USA, where he conducted the orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic (1926–36), and the NBC Symphony (1937–53), which was created expressly for him. In the 1930’s he directed music festivals at Bayreuth and Salzburg.

Toscanini was one of the greatest artists of his time and an outstanding opera and symphony conductor. He was blessed with an exceptional artistic temperament and musical memory, and his energy and spirit infected audiences and performers alike. Toscanini strove for absolute precision and insisted on total fidelity to the composer’s intentions. His repertoire included classical and romantic music as well as modern compositions; in 1942 he conducted the premiere of D. D. Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 (“Leningrad”).

REFERENCES

Zweig, S. Arturo Toskanini: Izbr, proizv, vol. 2. Moscow, 1956.
(Translated from German.) “Toskanini.” In Ispolnitel’skoe iskusstvo zarubezhnykh stran, fasc. 6. Moscow, 1971.
Iskusstvo Arturo Toskanini: Vospominaniia, biograficheskie materialy. Leningrad, 1974.
Corte, A. della. Toscanini visto da un critico. [Torino] 1958.

I. M. IAMPOL’SKII

Toscanini, Arturo

(1867–1957) conductor; born in Parma, Italy. He was a cellist before the night in 1886 when he took over the baton from an indisposed conductor in Rio de Janeiro and stayed on the podium for the rest of his career. After years of journeyman work in Italian opera houses, he became conductor of Milan's La Scala in 1898. In 1909 he came to the U.S.A. to lead the Metropolitan Opera orchestra; his subsequent career took him to positions in Europe, England, and the U.S.A., including the podium of the New York Philharmonic from 1928 to 1936. In 1937 the NBC Symphony, primarily a broadcasting and recording orchestra, was created for Toscanini; he led it until 1954, cementing his reputation as one of the most revered conductors in the world. He helped pioneer a new performance tradition that proclaimed an end to Romantic interpretive excesses and substituted absolute fidelity to the score; in practice, that made for clean, sinewy performances, achieved partly by his legendary tantrums in rehearsals. He was equally admired for his performances of Beethoven and other 19th-century classics and of modern composers including Stravinsky, Debussy, and Richard Strauss.
References in periodicals archive ?
Summary: In honour of the most influential conductor of classical music who in his interpretations also remained faithful to the composer: the new "Montblanc Donation Pen Arturo Toscanini" in black precious resin and platinised fittings pays homage to the musician who started as a young cellist and, in one single appearance, became one of the greatest maestri as conductor: Arturo Toscanini.
After studies with Michael Seal's conducting academy he became assistant conductor of the CBSO, and he now has his own Arturo Toscanini Orchestra in Parma (food capital of Italy, which suits him down to the ground).
Alpesh Chauhan, principal conductor of Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini Parma, makes his Orchestra of Opera North debut.
Demonet then discusses Gustav Mahler (creator of the modern Vienna Staatsoper, 1898-1907) and Arturo Toscanini (remaker of the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 1898-1908).
But it wasn't performed until two years later, when Arturo Toscanini conducted it at Rockefeller Center in New York for a radio broadcast.
Fre wrote about the golden age of opera in the 19th century, from Verdi to Arturo Toscanini; the movement of food and music during the Baroque and Renaissance periods; the influence of grand music in Emilia-Romagna with the likes of Beethoven and Mozart and two global icons, opera stars Maria Callas and Luciano Pavarotti.
The Kitchener, Ont.-born, New York-based soprano made her New York City Opera debut as Tosca, and her Italian debut as Leonora in La forza del destino at the Fondazione Arturo Toscanini. She was Aida at the famed Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico, at the Theatre du Capitole de Toulouse and at the Teatro Sociale in Mantova.
Nor Arturo Toscanini bullying his way with his gimlet eyes and bilious beat through the Force of Destiny Overture for an NBC promotional film (though they are rather coy about that in this packaging).
Larry Weinstein's recent work Toscanini: In Hits Own Words is based upon over 150 hours of surreptitiously recorded taped interviews made by Arturo Toscanini's son, Walter at his Wave Hill home in New York during the 1950s.
Canadian soprano Michele Capalbo sang Aida this summer with Opera Nacional de Mexico and made her Italian debut as Leonora in La forza del destino for La Fondazione Arturo Toscanini in Parma.
Rival western premieres were given in New York by the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini, preceded in London by Sir Henry Wood conducting a radio broadcast with the London Symphony Orchestra, followed up a week later by a Proms performance at the Royal Albert Hall.
"La Bohme" made its debut in a production conducted by Arturo Toscanini in 1896 in Turin, Italy.