Arturo Toscanini

Biography

Born: March 25, 1867; Parma, Italy   Died: January 16, 1957; New York, NY  
Few orchestral conductors have attained the public recognition accorded Arturo Toscanini, due in part to his many recordings and frequent broadcast performances, but also to his dedication to the art of music-making. In a career spanning 68 years, he did more than anyone to revive the popular image of the all-powerful maestro.

In 1885, at age 19, he graduated from the Parma Conservatory as a cellist, and joined an opera company for a tour
Read more of South America. When in Rio de Janeiro, the incompetence of the Brazilian conductor engaged for the tour so incensed the Italian singers and players that he was forced to resign, and the 20-year-old cellist was asked to take the baton for Verdi's Aida. By the end of the tour he had led 26 performances of 11 operas, all from memory.

Between 1887 and 1895, Toscanini conducted in many Italian opera houses, and in 1896 became the principal conductor of Turin's Regio Opera House, leading the first Italian performances of Wagner's Götterdämmerung, Tristan and Isolde and Die Walküre, and the premičre of Puccini's La Bohčme, as well as a series of highly successful orchestral concerts. He was the principal conductor at La Scala, Milan, from 1900 to 1908, and first appeared at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1915, where he conducted the premičre of Puccini's La fanciulla del West. In the same year he made his debut in the U.S. as a symphonic conductor.

Recalled to La Scala in 1919, he reformed the orchestra and took it on a triumphant tour of the U.S., conducting 67 concerts in 77 days, followed by an Italian tour in which he led 38 concerts in 56 days. From 1926-1927, he was a guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and in 1929 left La Scala to become its permanent conductor, a post he filled until 1939.

In 1937 Toscanini was invited by NBC to conduct broadcast concerts in America with a new symphony orchestra specifically created for the purpose. He then toured with that orchestra to South America in 1940 and throughout the United States in 1950. He also conducted a memorable series of concerts with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London between 1935 and 1939.

Toscanini's opposition to Fascism and Nazism was implacable. In 1931, he was attacked for refusing to play the Giovanezza, a Fascist anthem. In the same year he was the first non-German conductor to appear at the Wagner Festspielhaus in Bayreuth, but refused to return in 1933 in protest of the Nazi's treatment of Jewish musicians. He also turned his back on the Salzburg Festival because the Jewish conductor Bruno Walter's performances there were not broadcast in Germany. In 1938-1939, he conducted without fee at a festival in Lucerne, Switzerland, where the orchestra was composed entirely of musicians who had fled German persecution.

Toscanini's conducting style featured a precise, vigorous beat and vivid body-language, which orchestras understood and responded to with dramatic results. By the end of his career he had memorized 250 symphonic works, and over 100 operas. Though he enthusiastically embraced post-Romantic, twentieth century music, he virtually ignored the Second Viennese School and the new breed of American composers that were making their mark by the 1950s. It was not false modesty, but genuine humility that led him to say in an interview "I am no genius. I have created nothing. I play the music of other men. I am just a musician." Read less
Browse 1-25 of 165 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall (Selected Highlights)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 530420 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Paul de Schlözer,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Ronald Turini,  Artur Rubinstein,  Jorge Bolet,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Arturo Toscanini,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra of St. Luke's
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  • 2.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503227 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Roy Harris,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Jussi Björling,  Frederick Schauwecker,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Serge Koussevitzky,  Bruno Walter,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
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  • 3.
    Toscanini Collection Vol 68 - Tchaikovsky, Strauss
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60312 Release Date: 01/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Richard Strauss
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Verdi: La Traviata
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 121216 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 5.
    Arturo Toscanini: The Great Recordings 1929-1954
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 121247 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Jan Peerce,  Vivian della Chiesa,  Nicola Moscona,  Leonard [Baritone Vocal] Warren  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 6.
    BBC Legends - Great Recordings from the Archive
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5113 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Beryl Hatt,  Agnes Giebel,  Joyce Barker,  Kerstin Meyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Jascha Horenstein,  Yevgeny Mravinsky,  Arturo Toscanini,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orpington Junior Singers,  Goldsmiths' Choral Union  ... 
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  • 7.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies & Selected Overtures / Toscanini
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1275 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jarmila Novotná,  Kerstin Thorborg,  Jan Peerce,  Nicola Moscona
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Verdi: Un Ballo In Maschera / Toscanini, Nbc Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 7064 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Herva Nelli,  George Cehanovsky,  Nicola Moscona,  Virginia Haskins  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Shaw Chorale,  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Four Maestri In 1926: Toscanini, Mengelberg, Walter, Furtwangler
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2105 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Hector Berlioz,  Richard Strauss,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Willem Mengelberg,  Bruno Walter,  Wilhelm Furtwängler
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  • 10.
    Toscanini Conducts Wagner
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 541193 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Lauritz Melchior,  Helen Traubel
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 11.
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 543713 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Jan [Tenor Vocals] Peerce
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 12.
    Memorial Tribute To Toscanini
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2364 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Spoken Word  ... 
    Performer:  Bernard Baker,  Mischa Misschakoff,  John Wummer,  Robert Bloom
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 13.
    Beethoven: Symphonies 1, 2, 3 & 4 / Toscanini, NBC Symphony
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 55835 Release Date: 03/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Verdi: Requiem, Te Deum / Toscanini
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1269 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Bruna Castagna,  Zinka Milanov,  Jussi Björling,  Nicola Moscona
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Choir,  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Verdi: Aida (Complete)
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 7062 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 16.
    Arturo Toscanini Conducts Rossini, Verdi & Waldteufel / Toscanini, NBC Symphony
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 7061 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Emil Waldteufel
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 17.
    Toscanini Unreleased
    Label: Concerto   Catalog: 2074 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Various
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    DVD: $19.99
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  • 18.
    Music In The Air - A History Of Classical Music On Television
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 101640 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Various
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Anna Netrebko
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Pierre Boulez,  Herbert von Karajan,  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 19.
    Arturo Toscanini Conducts The NBC Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2099 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Schubert
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Arturo Toscanini Conducts Schubert, Elgar, Mozart, Rossini, Wagner, Brahms & Mendelssohn
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2384 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Nathan Milstein
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 21.
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 176 Release Date: 06/19/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 22.
    Debussy - Le Compositeur Et Ses Interpretes
    Label: Aeon   Catalog: 1215 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Claire Croiza,  George Reeves,  Ninon Vallin,  Gustav Cloëz  ... 
    Conductor:  Camille Chevillard,  Pierre Monteux,  Walther Straram,  Arturo Toscanini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Des Concerts Lamoureux,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre Des Concerts Straram  ... 
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  • 23.
    Arturo Toscanini: The Wagner Recordings
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2096 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Helen Traubel
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 24.
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5101 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 25.
    Puccini: La Boheme / Toscanini, Albanese, Peerce, Mcknight, Valentino
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 7058/59 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Licia Albanese,  Frank Valentino,  Anne McKnight,  George Cehanovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Chorus,  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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