Miles Davis and Bill Vacchiano, Juilliard and classical musi

Discussion in 'Orchestra / Solo / Chamber Music' started by Jimi Michiel, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

    Mar 22, 2005
    I read some of the posts under a previous topic and thought this might be an interesting thread on its own. I did some research last year on the relationship between Miles and Vacchiano, here are some of the intersting things that I found:

    -the oft-quoted passage in Miles: The Autobiography is almost certainly false. I went down to New York to interview Vacchiano about it and when I showed him the passage in the book, he told me that he would have immediatly kicked Miles out of the studio for being so disrespectful.

    -In the beginning, Miles was actually a very good student at Juilliard. His recieved mostly A's, including in private lessons with Vacchiano. Vacchiano told me that Miles was "a decent student," although nothing more. He also confirmed the imfamous "cigarette" story. In his second semester, as he began to hang out at more clubs and became closer to Charlie Parker, his grades suffered. He enrolled in summer courses to catch up, but he never made it back in the fall. For more about this, see John Szwed's book on Miles.

    -Miles complains in his autobiography about hating to play in an orchestra. A few pages later, he talks about how he would go to the library and check out scores by Stravinsky and Schoenberg. Contradiction? Nope. The Juilliard archives show that orchestras at Juilliard, at the time that Miles was there, played very little repertoire with interesting trumpet parts. For someone who spent half a century playing melody, you could understand why he wouldn't be into playing (at best) Mozart and Haydn Symphonies.

    -Miles has this image of hating classical music. He criticized Wynton for playing the music of "dead, white Europeans" (ie the stuff he played at Juilliard). Miles acceptance of "classical" music is shown in his late recording "Aura", a concept album in which he collaborated with the composer Palle Mikkelborg. This album combines serial ant atonal techniques to great effect.

    Anyways, I hope this is at least interesting to everyone (or someone) out there. I'm sorry for the spelling and lack of documentation. I'd be glad to email anyone who wants it a copy of my final paper (still in progress). It at least has better spelling and a bibliography :D

  2. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    jimi- That's interesting to read. Thanks for sharing it. Also, thanks for the horse story on the other thread.
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    Bravo to you for your scholarship!


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