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Chapter 2: Vacchiano and the New York Philharmonic

Brian A. Shook University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter two

Vacchiano and the

New York Philharmonic


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–

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

Brian A. Shook University of North Texas Press PDF


Beethoven, Ludwig van

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


LPs: MS-6223, ML-5623,

M-30079, M-31071,


CDs: MK-42222,

SMK-47521, SMK-63153

Beethoven, Ludwig van

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


LPs: ML-5232, ML-5368

CDs: SMK-64487,


Beethoven, Ludwig van

Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, op. 125



LPs: M2S-794, D8S-815

CDs: MK-42224,

SMK-47518, SMK-63152

Beethoven, Ludwig van

Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, op. 125



LPs: SL-56, SL-156 (with

1949 finale), SL-186,


ML-5200, 32-66-0001,


(with 1953 finale)

CDs: MPK-45552 (with

1953 finale)

Berg, Alban




LPs: SL-118, Y2-33126,


CDs: MH2K-62759

Berlioz, Hector

Symphony Fantastique, op. 14



LPs: MS-6607, ML-6007

CDs: SMK-47525,


Berlioz, Hector

Symphony Fantastique, op. 14



LPs: MS-7278, M-31843,


CDs: MYK-38475

Brahms, Johannes

Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, op. 68



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

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Chapter 3: Responsibilities of a Principal Trumpeter

Brian A. Shook University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter three

R esponsibilities of a

Principal Trumpeter


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

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Chapter 1: Biography

Brian A. Shook University of North Texas Press PDF

chapter one

B iography


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

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Chapter 6: Vacchiano’s Use of Equipment

Brian A. Shook University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter SIX

Vacchiano’s Use of Equipment


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

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