William Vacchiano

Discussion in 'Orchestra / Solo / Chamber Music' started by robertwhite, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. robertwhite

    robertwhite Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
  2. robertwhite

    robertwhite Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    New York Times Obituary:

    September 24, 2005
    William Vacchiano, Trumpeter and Teacher, Dies at 93

    William A. Vacchiano, a master of the trumpet who never missed a concert during 38 years in the New York Philharmonic and is said to have instructed some 2,000 students, died on Monday. He was 93.

    The Juilliard School, where he taught for many years, announced his death.

    Mr. Vacchiano retired from the orchestra as principal trumpeter in 1973 but continued his career as an influential teacher. His students included Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis and Philip Smith, the Philharmonic's current principal trumpeter.

    Mr. Vacchiano was born in Portland, Me., and took up the instrument at 12, making such progress that he joined the Portland Symphony at 14. After attending Juilliard, he auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera and the Philharmonic and was offered jobs at both on the same day.

    He picked the Philharmonic and was named to the top job in 1942, playing for conductors like Dimitri Mitropoulos, Leopold Stokowski and Leonard Bernstein, and appearing on numerous recordings.

    Mr. Vacchiano's technique was superb, naturally, but he was also known for his smooth sound. He once said that a controlled vibrato, clarity of attack and beautiful tone were the hallmarks of great trumpet playing.

    He taught at Juilliard from 1935 until 2002, as well as at four other schools, including the Mannes College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. He said in a 2002-3 newsletter from Stork Custom Mouthpieces, "I had to be in so many places that I had people who made their living just getting my instruments from one hall to the next and having cabs ready for me."

    As a teacher, he placed special emphasis on the mouthpiece and finding the right one. In 1940, using tools from a hardware store, he worked on his own and went on to acquire several hundred, as well as designing a line of them. He was also a proponent of studying trumpets made in different keys, and helped establish the practice of using the right one for the right music, rather than transposing.

    Mr. Vacchiano is survived by his daughter, JoAnn Vacchiano, and four grandchildren.

    He compared teaching to what a painter does. "He sees a subject and from it he creates a great piece of art," he said in the newsletter. "My students come in, more or less, raw and green. But from them I can reproduce myself, you might say, and create great artists."

    Mr. Vacchiano said he also tried to instill a healthy attitude about music.

    "This is the way life should be," he said. "This, to me, is happiness. When I feel bad I go down to the studio in my house, I pick up my horn and I'm in seventh heaven. That's what music should be like."

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