The Toscanini Legacy collection of sound recordings forms a part of the Toscanini Legacy housed at The New York Public Library. The recordings collection consists of acetate discs, shellac discs, vinyl discs, reel tapes, Selenophone recordings, kinescope films, and metal parts for 78 rpm recordings.It includes a set of 1926 La Scala rehearsals for concerts on October 7-9, 1926, then skips to the 1939/40 season, beginning with the rehearsals on April 10-12, 1940. The collection contains comprehensive holdings of rehearsals from the 1946/47 season to the 1953/54 season, as well as performance recordings from the 1932/33 season through the 1953/54 season, and recording sessions from 1920 to 1954.
In addition, the collection includes tapes from several large recording projects that began before Toscanini died, but were completed after he died. Among these large projects were Toscanini: the man behind the legend, a biographical documentary project; The Riverdale project, a project to transfer Toscanini's commercial disc recordings to tape; and a preservation project carried out by the Toscanini family which systematically transferred acetate disc recordings in the collection to tape.
Biographical/historical: Arturo Toscanini was a renowned Italian conductor famous for his work with the NBC Symphony Orchestra from 1937 to 1954. Born in Parma, Italy in 1867, Toscanini was educated at the Parma Conservatory. He first conducted in Rio de Janeiro in 1886; by 1898, he was chief conductor at La Scala, where he was to work until 1929. During this period, he also conducted at the Metropolitan Opera (1908-1915) and was a guest conductor for the New York Philharmonic (1926-1928).
In 1928, he accepted the conductorship of the newly formed Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York, where he stayed until his first retirement in 1936. In 1937, NBC persuaded him to return to conduct a series of concerts with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra created especially for him. He led this orchestra until he was forced into a second retirement in 1954.
Toscanini's other important engagements included the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1935, 1937-1939), the Bayreuth Festival (1930, 1931), the Vienna Philharmonic (1933, and at the Salzburg Festival 1934-1937), and the Lucerne Festival (1938, 1939). He also worked with many famous performers, including Jussi Björling, Emanuel Feuermann, Jascha Heifetz, Vladimir Horowitz, Alexander Kipnis, Zinka Milanov, Jan Peerce, and William Primrose. He died in Riverdale, N.Y. on January 16, 1957.
Ownership: Gift of the Toscanini family; April 1987.
Content: Finding aid located in: *L(Special) 89-1.