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Arturo Toscanini (Parma, Kingdom of Italy, March 25, 1867 – New York, United States, January 16, 1957) was an Italian musician, considered by many of his contemporaries (critics , colleagues and the general public) and many critics of today as the greatest conductor of his time and the twentieth century. He was famous for his brilliant intensity, his tireless perfectionism, his prodigious ear and his photographic memory, which allowed him to correct errors of members of the orchestra that had been unnoticed for decades by his colleagues.
Toscanini began his musical training in Parma by winning a scholarship to the local conservatory, where he studied cello. After his studies, he was admitted to the orchestra of an opera company with which he toured South America. While they represented Aida in Rio de Janeiro in 1886, the conductor of the orchestra was booed by the public and forced to leave the stage. Toscanini, fortunately, took the baton animated by the other musicians, beginning this way, with 19 years, his career as a director.
In 1898, he was appointed resident director of La Scala in Milan, where he remained until 1908. During that time he premiered works by contemporary authors, among others, the oratory Mosè by Lorenzo Perosi, whose first interpretation took place in May 1901 in the Salone Perosi of Milan. After this first period in La Scala he went to the United States to direct at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (1908-15). Later, he returned to La Scala in the 1920s. He played at the Bayreuth Festival (1930-31) and at the Salzburg Festival (1934-37). Between 1926 and 1936 he directed the Philharmonic Orchestra of New York.
Radically opposed to the fascist regimes of Germany and Italy, he left Europe to go to the United States. There the NBC Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1937 for him, and with it he performed regularly until 1954 on National Radio. His performances made him the first star conductor of the modern mass media. His activity as director of live performances for the radio continued until his retirement.
Toscanini was famous for his interpretations of Beethoven and Verdi. He made numerous recordings, especially towards the end of his career, most of them published, in addition to the many available recordings of his performances for the radio.
Toscanini in Argentina
At the beginning of the 20th century Toscanini was already conducting operas in Buenos Aires. In 1912 he was in charge of the direction of the lyric season of the Teatro Colón. He returned in 1940 with the NBC orchestra and in 1941 to direct a series of concerts with the Stable Orchestra of the Teatro Colón.
In Argentina, the cult by Arturo Toscanini has existed since the beginning of the 20th century. For the first time in the world, by Radio Nacional FM, more than 300 programs of one hour each were broadcast, with all the Master’s commercial legacy, containing approximately 90 percent of the unofficial live records, except for two or three that it has been almost impossible to rebuild, and dozens of hours of rehearsals.
The musicologist Claudio von Foerster (who was related to Walter Toscanini and Wanda Horowitz) studied and disseminated the figure of Toscanini.
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