Toscanini, Arturo


Toscanini, Arturo

biographical name

(born March 25, 1867, Parma, Italy—died Jan. 16, 1957, New York, N.Y., U.S.) Italian conductor. Toscanini entered a conservatory at age nine, studying cello, piano, and composition. He began his professional life as a cellist. After substituting for an indisposed conductor in Giuseppe Verdi's Aïda (Buenos Aires, 1886), he conducted in various Italian opera houses, giving the premieres of I Pagliacci (1892) and La Bohème (1896). He was appointed musical director of La Scala, Milan, in 1898, and of the Metropolitan Opera, New York City, in 1908. Principally known for his readings of Verdi's operas and Beethoven's symphonies, he also gave remarkable performances of the music of Richard Wagner. Toscanini conducted the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra from 1928 to 1936. In 1930 he became the first non-German to conduct at Bayreuth, but he stopped performing in Germany to protest Nazi policies. The NBC Orchestra was formed for him in 1937, and he conducted it until his retirement in 1954.

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