Last Stop, Carnegie Hall: New York Philharmonic Trumpeter William Vacchiano

Last Stop, Carnegie Hall: New York Philharmonic Trumpeter William Vacchiano

Last Stop, Carnegie Hall: New York Philharmonic Trumpeter William Vacchiano

Last Stop, Carnegie Hall: New York Philharmonic Trumpeter William Vacchiano

Synopsis

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very private artist, based on several personal interviews conducted by Brian A. Shook and Vacchiano's notes for his own unpublished memoir.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.

Excerpt

During my teen years in New Orleans, my trumpet teacher was George Jansen. He had studied with William Vacchiano some twentyfive years earlier and recommended that I do the same in college. the first time I met Mr. Vacchiano was when I auditioned at Juilliard in 1979 (Gerard Schwarz and Edward Treutel were also there). I played Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto, and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2. After the audition, as I walked out of the room, Vacchiano told me, “Tell George Jansen he was right.” I had no idea what that meant. I later asked Mr. Jansen about Vacchiano’s cryptic comment. He said he’d told Vacchiano I was a genius. I had already enjoyed a lot of success as a high school trumpeter, but I had no idea Mr. Jansen thought that highly of me, so that was quite a compliment coming from both of them.

I studied with Mr. Vacchiano at Juilliard from 1979 through 1980, and took a few lessons in 1981. He had retired from the New York Philharmonic before I got to Juilliard. We went through the standard books and excerpts and studied double and triple tonguing, transposition, how to approach certain types of music, and all kinds of technical things. He liked to write the number of each exercise on the inside flap of the book you were to work from. I still have the Saint-Jacome and Sachse books from those lessons. It’s funny, but I hadn’t thought about that until the moment I started considering my contribution to this book—over twenty years ago.

My lessons took on a new character once we got to know each other better. We had some differences of opinion, mainly about race and cul-

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