Arturo Toscanini

(1867–1957)

Arturo Toscanini

Anecdote...

Every Christmas, composer Giacomo Puccini would have a cake baked for each of his friends. One year, having quarreled with Toscanini just before Christmas, he tried to cancel the order for the conductor’s cake. But it was too late — the cake had already been dispatched. The following day, Toscanini received a telegram from Puccini: “Cake sent by mistake.” He replied by return: “Cake eaten by mistake.”

Biographical Note: 

Arturo Toscanini was an Italian conductor. Toscanini has been highly acclaimed for his authoritative and memorable interpretations of symphonies and operas. He brought great music to thousands of new listeners during a career that spanned nearly 70 years. Born in Parma, Toscanini became principal conductor at Italy’s leading opera house, La Scala in Milan, in 1898. From 1908 to 1915 he was principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York City. In 1937 he became conductor of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) Symphony Orchestra, which had been organized specially for him.

Toscanini, who always conducted from memory, is credited with restoring the proper style and discipline to Italian opera, particularly those of Giuseppe Verdi. In the symphonic repertoire, he was considered unrivaled in interpreting the music of Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms. Noted for attention to detail and fidelity to composers’ intentions, Toscanini brought clarity and precision to conducting.