Thomas Stevens

Dynamics-Part III (Toscanini vs. Vacchiano)

  • General Quotes

In making a point to establish his authority, the legendary Arturo Toscanini served up a marvelous Quotable (excerpted from the BrassBulletin Backstage series).

“Third tromba, [trumpet] piu forte,” the famous conductor Arturo Toscanini yelled at William Vacchiano, the newest member of the New York Philharmonic trumpet section. It was during the early 1930s, and, according to legend, Toscanini continued to ask Vacchiano for piu [more] forte until the latter ultimately responded with a sample of the powerful trumpet sound for which he eventually became well known in musical circles during his tenure as the orchestra’s solo trumpeter. “Third tromba, piu forte, no fortissimo," was Toscanini’s terse, dismissive response.

In addition to his orchestra career, William Vacchiano eventually became one of the 20th Century’s most respected brass teachers, holding positions at Juilliard and other major schools as well as doing private teaching. On one occasion during my studies with him, I inquired as to the veracity of the Toscanini ics.