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Last Stop, Carnegie Hall

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William Vacchiano (1912–2005) was principal trumpet with the New York Philharmonic from 1942 to 1973, and taught at Juilliard, the Manhattan School of Music, the Mannes College of Music, Queens College, and Columbia Teachers College. While at the Philharmonic, Vacchiano performed under the batons of Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter, Dimitri Mitropoulos, and Leonard Bernstein and played in the world premieres of almost 200 pieces by such composers as Vaughan Williams, Copland, and Barber. Vacchiano was important not only for his performances, but also for his teaching. His students have held the principal chairs of many major orchestras and are prominent teachers themselves, and they have enriched non-classical music as well. Two of his better known students are Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis. Last Stop, Carnegie Hall features an overview of the life of this very private artist, based on several personal interviews conducted by Brian A. Shook and Vacchiano’s notes for his own unpublished memoir. Shook also interviewed many of his students and colleagues and includes a chapter containing their recollections. Other important topics include analyses of Vacchiano’s pedagogical methods and his interpretations of important trumpet pieces, his “rules of orchestral performance,” and his equipment. A discography, a bibliography of Vacchiano’s own works, and lists of his students and the conductors and players with whom he performed round out this richly illustrated examination of one of the most influential trumpet players and teachers of the twentieth century.

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Chapter 1: Biography

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chapter one

B iography

F

Family History

William Anthony Vacchiano was born on May 23, 1912, in Portland, Maine, the seventh of eight children to Rafaello and Anna Vacchiano. Of his seven siblings, Vacchiano had five older sisters, one older brother, and one younger brother. The two oldest sisters, Mary and Margarita, were born in Italy before their parents immigrated to the United

States from their hometown of Cicciano, Italy. Vacchiano’s father, Rafaello, was trained as a metal worker after serving as a member of the

King’s Guard.1 Eventually, Rafaello sailed for America where he hoped to find more financial stability and a better life for his family. Many immigrants had various family members already living in America, which made the move and transition easier. It was no different for Rafaello.

When he arrived at Ellis Island, he was greeted by his two brothers,

Megucia and Pasquale.2

Rafaello Vacchiano found a place to live on Atlantic Avenue in

Brooklyn and began working there as a grocer. A year later, after enough money had been saved, he was able to pay for his wife and two daughters to move to America. This trip was more difficult than the usual transAtlantic crossing, for the ship, the Ravelli, developed rudder problems and was forced to dock in order to make the appropriate repairs. It took almost a month for parts to arrive and repairs to be made. Passengers

 

Chapter 2: Vacchiano and the New York Philharmonic

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Chapter two

Vacchiano and the

New York Philharmonic

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The New York Philharmonic

The New York Philharmonic, founded in 1842 under the leadership of Ureli Corelli Hill, is the oldest orchestra in continuous existence in the United States. Having performed over 15,000 concerts since its inception, the Philharmonic enjoys an immensely rich musical history.

In 1882, the Philharmonic went on its first tour and since then has performed in 425 cities, 59 countries, and on 5 continents. It was one of the first orchestras to give a live radio performance (1922) and was the first to give a live coast-to-coast broadcast (1930). With nearly 2,000 albums to its name (with over 500 currently available), the Philharmonic is one of the most recorded orchestras in the world.1

During Vacchiano’s membership with the Philharmonic, nearly every major conductor and soloist at that time visited the orchestra. The list of musical directors during his tenure includes Arturo Toscanini

(1928–1936), John Barbirolli (1937–1942), Artur Rodziński (1943–

 

Chapter 3: Responsibilities of a Principal Trumpeter

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Chapter three

R esponsibilities of a

Principal Trumpeter

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Principles of Orchestral Musicianship

In the context of sight-reading and transposition, Vacchiano taught many rules of orchestral style. Vacchiano absorbed these rules from his lessons with Schlossberg, as well as from his exposure to the great conductors who came through New York. Vacchiano performed under them all so many times that he knew how to play every major trumpet solo to their individual taste.

These rules were not hard-and-fast, but rather a starting point for interpreting orchestral music. Vacchiano made it very clear that Mozart was played differently from Wagner and that Strauss was played differently from Bruckner. The Italian style differs vastly from the French style, which is different from the German style. The rules address how to play each style appropriately in terms of rhythm, phrasing, articulation, sound, and dynamics. Vacchiano taught the rules in a general sense rather than as individual rules pertaining to specific compositions. This instruction enabled students to collect the necessary tools to correctly perform compositions with which they were unfamiliar. If studied and applied correctly, this knowledge is sufficient to govern the appropriate style of virtually every composition.1

 

Chapter 4: Vacchiano’s Rules of Orchestral Performance

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VACCHIANO’S RULES OF ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE

“I have a question that’s always asked: ‘When the value of a note gets shorter (quarter, eighth, sixteenth, etc.), how is the length of each note treated?’ I ask them in return, ‘If you’re going ten miles an hour and the note is one inch long, how long is the note if you are going twenty miles per hour?’ They will all say a half-inch. This is wrong. If you’re going twenty miles per hour it’s twice as long. The faster you go the longer the notes will be, otherwise it will disappear. Consequently, when you double and triple tongue the double tongue has to be twice as long as the single tongue. The triple tongue is twice as long as the double tongue to counteract for the speed in the air.

“We always spread eighth-notes very short because the air could catch them very fast, but if you’re playing at a terrific speed and you continue to play the eighth-notes short, they’ll go by like a shot—you have to counteract it. In the old days we called this hammer tongue.

 

Chapter 5: Pedagogical Methods

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Chapter FIVE

P edagogical Methods

F

Vacchiano’s teaching career spanned seven decades as an instructor at The Juilliard School (1935–2002), Manhattan School of Music

(1937–1999), Mannes College of Music (1937–1983), Queens College

(1970–1973, 1991–1994), North Carolina School of the Arts (1973–

1976), and Columbia Teachers College.1 In addition to his tenure at these renowned music schools, he instructed many students at his home in Flushing, New York, from 1935 to 2005. Vacchiano estimated he privately taught over 2,000 students during his entire career.2

Vacchiano’s professional teaching and playing careers began simultaneously when he joined the New York Philharmonic as third trumpet

(and assistant principal) at the age of twenty-three. Due to the declining health of his former teacher, Max Schlossberg, Vacchiano was appointed to the faculty of The Juilliard School.

Teaching Style

The teaching style Vacchiano employed during his career was strikingly similar to the style learned during his studies with Max Schlossberg, focusing primarily on orchestral style, transposition, and the rudiments of playing the trumpet. Weekly lessons were comprised of studies from three main method books: Arban’s Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet, Saint-Jacome’s Grand Method for Trumpet or Cornet, and

 

Photo Section

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Chapter 6: Vacchiano’s Use of Equipment

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Chapter SIX

Vacchiano’s Use of Equipment

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The Mouthpiece

As each Vacchiano student attests, Vacchiano possessed an uncanny knowledge of the inner workings of the mouthpiece and how to find the right mouthpiece for each student. He stated:

If you have a problem with your feet, you change your shoes.

If you have a problem with your eyes, you get different glasses.

Why should the lips be different? If someone is playing on the wrong mouthpiece he will never know the difference. If you give a student a mouthpiece that doesn’t fit him, you may hinder his career.1

This knowledge came from many years of personal experience, as well as analyzing each student’s embouchure and facial structure. The first time Vacchiano became aware of the importance of the mouthpiece is related in the following story:

One day, I was walking on 57th Street and I met Georges Mager.

I was pretty depressed about my playing. After I told him what mouthpiece I had, he explained that it was too small for me and then proceeded to give me a copy of his mouthpiece. That night we were doing Don Juan and I kept kicking my second trumpet

 

Chapter 7: Remembering Bill

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Chapter seven

R emembering Bill

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Philip Varriale’s Eulogy

On September 19, 2005, the music world lost one of its most dedicated students, teachers, and performers: William Vacchiano. After a long battle with various physical ailments, Vacchiano passed away at Cabrini

Medical Center in Manhattan from respiratory failure. Philip Varriale,

MD, honored Vacchiano’s life with this eulogy delivered on September

24, 2005:

On a crisp, sunny autumn day in 1982, I took myself from my home in Westchester and drove to the residence of William Vacchiano. I had never met Mr. Vacchiano, but I had heard a great deal about him as the trumpet icon of the New York Philharmonic and his reputation as a legendary teacher of his time.

I had been sufficiently busy in medical practice as a cardiologist, but my intent was to resurrect my passion to play trumpet after a hiatus of nearly twenty-five years. On arrival, I strolled a short walkway bringing me to the door of a solidly built, two-story brick house in an attractive and well-preserved suburban neighborhood of Queens, New York.

 

Appendix A: Principal and Guest Conductors of the New York Philharmonic, 1935–1973

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PRINCIPAL AND GUEST CONDUCTORS

Brown, Earle

Buketoff, Igor

Burle Marx, Walter

Busch, Fritz

Caduff, Sylvia

Cage, John

Calderon, Pedro

Canarina, John

Cantelli, Guido

Capolongo, Paul

Carvalho, Eleazar

Ceccato, Aldo

Chávez, Carlos

Cleve, George

Cluytens, André

Copland, Aaron

Craft, Robert

Damrosch, Walter

Davis, Colin

De Sabata, Victor

De Waart, Edo

Delacôte, Jacques

Delogu, Gaetano

DePreist, James

Diamond, David

Dixon, Dean

Dufallo, Richard

Ehrling, Sixten

Ellington, Duke

Endo, Akira

Enescu, Georges

Fiedler, Arthur

Foss, Lukas

Frühbeck de Burgos, Rafael

Gamson, Arnold

Ganz, Rudolf

Garcia-Asensio, Enrique

Gielen, Michael

Gilbert, David

Gillessen, Walter

Giulini, Carlo Maria

Golschmann, Vladimir

Goossens, Eugene

Gould, Morton

Hanson, Howard

Harris, Roy

Henderson, Skitch

Hendl, Walter

Herrmann, Bernard

Hindemith, Paul

Houtmann, Jacques

Iturbi, José

Izquierdo, Juan Pablo

Karajan, Herbert von

Katims, Milton

Kaye, Danny

Kertész, István

Kielland, Olav

Kirchner, Leon

Klemperer, Otto

Kondrashin, Kirill

Košler, Zdeněk

Kostelanetz, André

Koussevitzky, Sergey

Krips, Joseph

 

Appendix B: New York Philharmonic Trumpet Section, The Vacchiano Years, 1935–1973

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Appendix B

New York Philharmonic Trumpet Section,

The Vacchiano Years, 1935–1973

Season

1935–1936

Principal

Harry Glantz

Second

Third/Assistant

Nathan Prager William Vacchiano

Fourth

Max Schlossberg

1936–1937

Harry Glantz

Nathan Prager

Vacant

William Vacchiano

1937–1938

Harry Glantz

Nathan Prager

William Vacchiano

Vacant

1938–1939

Harry Glantz

Nathan Prager

William Vacchiano

Vacant

1939–1940

Harry Glantz

Nathan Prager

William Vacchiano

Vacant

1940–1941

Harry Glantz

Nathan Prager

William Vacchiano

Vacant

1941–1942

Harry Glantz

Nathan Prager

William Vacchiano

Vacant

1942–1943

William Vacchiano

Nathan Prager

James Smith

Vacant

1943–1944

William Vacchiano

Nathan Prager

James Smith

Vacant

1944–1945

William Vacchiano

Nathan Prager

Morris Boltuch

James Smith

1945–1946

William Vacchiano

Nathan Prager

Morris Boltuch

James Smith

1946–1947

William Vacchiano

Nathan Prager

Morris Boltuch

James Smith

1947–1948

William Vacchiano

Nathan Prager

Morris Boltuch

James Smith

1948–1949

William Vacchiano

Nathan Prager

John Ware

James Smith

1949–1950

William Vacchiano

Nathan Prager

John Ware

 

Appendix C: New York Philharmonic World Premières, 1935–1973

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Appendix C

New York Philharmonic World Premières, 1935–1973

* Symphony Society of New York

** Stadium Concert

+ NYP Commission

++ NYP 150th Anniversary Commission

+++ NYP Messages for the Millennium Commission

# Joint Commission

Composer

Composition

Date

Castelnuovo-Tedesco,

Mario

Barber, Samuel

McBride, Robert

Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra

Music for a Scene from Shelley for Orchestra

Prelude to a Tragedy

3/24/1935

11/20/1935

Saminsky, Lazare

Luening, Otto

James, Philip+

Fuleihan, Anis

“Three Shadows,” Poem for Orchestra, op. 41

Two Symphonic Sketches

Overture “Bret Harte”

Symphony

2/6/1936

4/11/1936

12/20/1936

12/31/1936

Cella, Theodore**

Purcell-Barbirolli

7/26/1937

10/21/1937

Mason, Daniel

Read, Gardner+

Achron, Isidor

Alpine Impressions

New Suite for Strings, Four Horns, Two Flutes, and

Cor Anglais

A Lincoln Symphony

Symphony No. 1 in A Minor, op. 30

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in Bflat Minor

Porter, Quincy+

Diamond, David**

Fuleihan, Anis

Haubiel, Charles+

Symphony No. 1

Overture for Orchestra

Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra

 

Appendix D: New York Philharmonic U.S. Premières, 1935–1973

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Appendix D

New York Philharmonic U.S. Premières, 1935–1973

* Symphony Society of New York

** Stadium Concert

+ NYP Commission

Composer

Composition

Date

Delius, Frederick

Delius, Frederick

Verdi, Giuseppe

Bax, Sir Arnold

Purcell-Barbirolli

Vaughan Williams, Ralph

“Koanga,” Dance

“Koanga,” Finale

String Quartet in E Minor

The Tale the PineTrees Knew

Suite for Strings

“Job,” A Masque for Dancing

1/2/1936

1/12/1936

1/23/1936

11/5/1936

11/7/1936

11/26/1936

Barbirolli, John

Jora, Mihail

Otesco, Nonna

Bartok, Béla

Oboe Concerto on Themes of Pergolesi

Marche Juive

“De La Matei Citire,” Prelude to Act II

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta

1/6/1937

1/28/1937

1/30/1937

10/28/1937

Rossellini, Renzo**

Canto di Palude

7/18/1938

Castelnuovo-Tedesco,

Mario**

Rossellini, Renzo**

Gomez, Carlos**

Aguirre, Julián **

Overture to “The Merchant of Venice”

6/18 /1939

Prelude to “Aminta”

Suite Andaluza

“Huella y Gato” from Two Argentine Dances

6/24/1939

7/15/1939

7/19/1939

Johnson, Horace**

Zemlinsky, Alexander

The Streets of Florence

Sinfonietta for Orchestra, op. 23

 

Appendix E: Selected Discography of William Vacchiano withthe New York Philharmonic, 1935–1973

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APPENDIX E

Beethoven, Ludwig van

Leonore Overture No. 3, op. 72a 10/24/1960

(Bernstein)

LPs: MS-6223, ML-5623,

M-30079, M-31071,

M3X-31068

CDs: MK-42222,

SMK-47521, SMK-63153

Beethoven, Ludwig van

Leonore Overture No. 3, op. 72a 12/6/1954

(Walter)

LPs: ML-5232, ML-5368

CDs: SMK-64487,

SX9K-66249

Beethoven, Ludwig van

Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, op. 125

(Bernstein)

5/19/1964

LPs: M2S-794, D8S-815

CDs: MK-42224,

SMK-47518, SMK-63152

Beethoven, Ludwig van

Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, op. 125

(Walter)

4/16/1949

LPs: SL-56, SL-156 (with

1949 finale), SL-186,

A-1067(EP),

ML-5200, 32-66-0001,

32-16-0322(e)

(with 1953 finale)

CDs: MPK-45552 (with

1953 finale)

Berg, Alban

Wozzeck

(Mitropoulos)

4/12/1951

LPs: SL-118, Y2-33126,

M2P-42470

CDs: MH2K-62759

Berlioz, Hector

Symphony Fantastique, op. 14

(Bernstein)

5/27/1964

LPs: MS-6607, ML-6007

CDs: SMK-47525,

SMK-60968

Berlioz, Hector

Symphony Fantastique, op. 14

(Bernstein)

3/5/1968

LPs: MS-7278, M-31843,

MY-38475

CDs: MYK-38475

Brahms, Johannes

Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, op. 68

(Walter)

12/30/1953

LPs: SL-200, DSL-200, ML5124, 32-36-0007

 

Appendix F: Bibliography of Music Publications by William Vacchiano

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Appendix F

Bibliography of Music Publications by William Vacchiano

Advanced Etudes for Trumpet, for Ear Training and Accuracy. Montrose,

California: Balquhidder Music, 2004.

Bugle Calls. Denver: Tromba Publications, 1998.

The Art of Bel Canto (singing style) for Trumpet. Portland, Maine: Manduca Music, 1999.

The Art of Double Tonguing. New York: C. F. Peters, 1998.

The Art of Solo Playing for Trumpet. Denver: Tromba Publications, 1998.

The Art of Triple Tonguing. New York: C. F. Peters, 1998.

Comprehensive Trumpet Studies. New York: Vacch Press, 2004.

Brandt, Vassily. Etudes for Trumpet (Orchestra Etudes and Last Etudes).

Ed. William Vacchiano. Los Angeles: Universal, 1965.

Graduate Studies for Trumpet, As Taught at The Juilliard School. Denver:

Tromba Publications, nd.

Improvisations Based on Nursery Rhythms and The Marine’s Hymn for

Trumpet or Cornet. Portland, Maine: Manduca Music, 1998.

Miniature Variations on “The Carnival of Venice” for Piccolo or E-flat

Trumpet. New York: C. F. Peters, 1999.

Miniature Variations on “The Carnival of Venice” for Solo Trumpet. New

 

Appendix G: The Students of William Vacchiano

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Appendix G

The Students of William Vacchiano2

A

John Abrahamson

Mark Adler

J. Ailey

W. Carl Albach

Jeffrey Albright

Joseph Albright

Joseph Alessi, Sr.

Jesse Alexander

Ralph Aliano

Dean Alspaugh

Edward Altshuler

Richard Ames

Edward Ampusat

Donald Angelica

David Anderson

Janis Anderson

Lane Anderson

Ronald Anderson

Joseph Andrucci

Joseph Andruzak

Lorenzo Angelo

Marc Angelone

George Apostolos

Irwin Applebaum

John Arant

Charles Arena

Jerome Austin

Anthony Aversa

Kenneth Ayden

B

Stephen Badalamenti

Alejandro Bacilar

Sydney Baker

David Baldwin

Neil Balm

Nelson Balsamo

Richard Barnes

Charles Barney

Andrew Baron

Jack Bass

Joseph Bass

Donald Batchelder

Marc Bedell

Robert Belosic

Donald Benedetti

Brian Benson

Michael Benvengo

George Berardinelli

Geoffrey Bergler

Martin Berinbaum

Richard Berlin

Lynn Berman

Donald Bigelow

Carol Bird

159

Howard Birnbaum

Neil Birnbaum

Edwin Bischoff

R. Bischoff

Ronald Blais

Halward Blegen

Luther Blodgett

Jerry Blum

Melvin Blumenthal

Michael Blutman

Alger La Bo

Leamon Boler

Michael Bollati

Francis Bonny

Robert Boudreau

John Bourque

Irvin Bourque

 

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