William Vacchiano- Hero

Discussion in 'Wise Talk!' started by wiseone2, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    How much courage do you think it took to have a trumpet black student in 1945 at Juilliard? There were no black musicians in any american orchestra, so why waste time with a student who could not find work. Forget a solo career, no trumpet player had one!
    William Vacchiano had the courage to accept Miles Dewey Davis as a student in 1945.

    Twenty five years later, I had relocated to NYC from Baltimore. I had been the first black musician employed by the Baltimore Symphony. I came to NYC in the fall of 1970. I met Mr Vacchiano many times at Peppy's and we were always the best of buddies. He was a super nice guy.
    The NY Philharmonic had come under fire for it's hiring practices. Bill Vacchiano invited me to play for him, even though he knew my playing, to get on the sub list. I played for him....I was immediately on the list.

    My most memorable experience was a three week period playing extra with the orchestra. We played the Mahler 6th Symphony the first week. I played the 5th trumpet part in this perfomance. John Ware had a boo-boo on his lip and played 6th trumpet. Lots of solos in the 5th parts, I will never forget Bill Vacchiano beaming like a proud parent at me.
    That was to be his last year with the Philharmonic.

    William Vacchiano will always be my hero.
  2. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    Ya know, it really makes me sad that I've never gotten to meet these people in person, Dizzy, Vacchino, etc. Great loses, all of them.
  3. old geezer

    old geezer Pianissimo User

    Dec 26, 2004
    is it just me or does it seem like a lot of the "greats" are really good down to earth people. it seems like after someone has passed on the truly wonderful stories about that person come out. the good guys seem to to do the right thing with out any fan fare, they do it because it is "the right thing". thanks for the story. old geezer Dave
  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    You know , Wimer, it occurs to me that he was just doing for you what Max Schlossberg did for him so many years before after he had failed in an attempt to get into St. John's to learn accounting. As the story goes, he was walking the streets wondering what he was going to do, after, what kind of living could he make as a trumpet player and bumped into a friend that was studying with Schlossberg. He advised WV to go take a lesson, to play for him. After Schlossberg heard him he is reported to have said, "My boy, I want to take care of you." He taught him and helped get his name around. The rest is history.

    He saw in you, in so many of us, something worth taking care of.

    And we're glad he did.

  5. john daniel

    john daniel New Friend

    Sep 20, 2005
    appleton, WI
    Ghitalla told me a few stories about his lessons with Vacchiano. One was that Vacchiano wouldn't listen to the stuff Ghitalla was working on, because he knew it would sound fine already. He just kept throwing stuff on the stand that he knew Ghitalla would struggle to play. Ghitalla told me that he never once was able to predict what he would be asked to play in a lesson. Vacchiano sent Ghitalla to play principal trumpet in the NYC opera with the instructions, "tell the conductor you have lots of opera experience." He did, the conductor knew it wasn't true but just smiled. He got through the gig and shortly thereafter moved to Houston to play principal trumpet.
  6. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

    Mar 22, 2005
    Sounds like my first lesson with Charlie Schlueter (Another Vacchiano student). I went in with something to play (I don't remember what), but I ended up sight reading Top Tones #24. Argh!!! D# minor. I never realized how much Charlie got from Vacchiano until I went down to NY to get a lesson with him. Both incredible teachers in their own way, but it was amazing to experience the lineage (Even if I only got two lessons with Mr. V).
  7. BigBadWolf

    BigBadWolf Piano User

    Nov 30, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    I did the same for my first lesson with Charlie. I recall him saying that Vacchiano had him play the D# minor Top Tone for his first lesson.
  8. Kenzo

    Kenzo Pianissimo User

    Nov 18, 2003
    Bristol, Connecticut
    Mr. V was awesome. I didn't do Top Tones in my first lesson with him. He had me sightread Bousquet #16 as trumpet in H. He rarely listened to what I had prepared, we were always advancing.

    I am honored to have studied with Mr. V.

Share This Page