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Last Stop, Carnegie Hall

New York Philharmonic Trumpeter William Vacchiano

Brian A. Shook

Publication Year: 2011

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private artist, based on several personal interviews conducted by Brian A. Shook and Vacchiano’s notes for his own unpublished memoir.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

Published by: University of North Texas Press

Series: Lives of Musicians


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-ix

List of Illustrations

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pp. x-xii

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pp. xiii-xiv

During my teen years in New Orleans, my trumpet teacher was George Jansen. He had studied with William Vacchiano some twenty-five 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 ...

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pp. xv-xvi

Few trumpet teachers influenced as many individual students professionally and personally as William Vacchiano, principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic (1935–1973). His contributions to the music world include hundreds of orchestral recordings, numerous method books, thousands of private students, and a lifetime of research on ...

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pp. xvii-xix

Researching and communicating the life and career of Bill Vacchiano has touched me both musically and personally. I did not realize the number of individuals and organizations with which I would become so familiar over the years in preparing this book. A task this monumental would not be possible without the specific assistance of others. ...

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pp. 1-2

I met William Vacchiano when he was ninety-one years old; I was twenty-four. I was a doctoral student in trumpet performance at Arizona State University, and my major professor, David Hickman, and I decided that writing a biography of a famous musician would be just the right fit for me and my interests. I compiled a list of prominent trumpet ...

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Chapter 1: Biography

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pp. 3-27

William Anthony Vacchiano was born on May 23, 1912, in Portland, Maine, the seventh of eight children to Rafaello and Anna Vacchiano. Of his seven siblings, Vacchiano had five older sisters, one older brother, and one younger brother. The two oldest sisters, Mary and Margarita, were born in Italy before their parents immigrated to the United ...

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Chapter 2: Vacchiano and the New York Philharmonic

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pp. 28-48

The New York Philharmonic, founded in 1842 under the leadership of Ureli Corelli Hill, is the oldest orchestra in continuous existence in the United States. Having performed over 15,000 concerts since its inception, the Philharmonic enjoys an immensely rich musical history. In 1882, the Philharmonic went on its first tour and since then has ...

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Chapter 3: Responsibilities of a Principal Trumpeter

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pp. 49-58

In the context of sight-reading and transposition, Vacchiano taught many rules of orchestral style. Vacchiano absorbed these rules from his lessons with Schlossberg, as well as from his exposure to the great conductors who came through New York. Vacchiano performed under them all so many times that he knew how to play every major trumpet ...

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Chapter 4: Vacchiano’s Rules of Orchestral Performance

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pp. 59-66

A significant part of Vacchiano’s pedagogy was teaching the student to play with the correct style. These rules were imparted to Vacchiano through his contact with many famous conductors and most importantly his teacher, Max Schlossberg. Vacchiano estimated the number of these rules to exceed two hundred. The rules found below, which I ...

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Chapter 5: Pedagogical Methods

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pp. 67-80

Vacchiano’s teaching career spanned seven decades as an instructor at The Juilliard School (1935–2002), Manhattan School of Music (1937–1999), Mannes College of Music (1937–1983), Queens College (1970–1973, 1991–1994), North Carolina School of the Arts (1973– 1976), and Columbia Teachers College.1 In addition to his tenure at ...

Photo Section

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pp. ps1-ps18

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Chapter 6: Vacchiano’s Use of Equipment

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pp. 81-99

As each Vacchiano student attests, Vacchiano possessed an uncanny knowledge of the inner workings of the mouthpiece and how to find the right mouthpiece for each student. He stated: If you have a problem with your feet, you change your shoes. If you have a problem with your eyes, you get different glasses. Why should the lips be different? If someone is playing on the ...

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Chapter 7: Remembering Bill

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pp. 100-123

On September 19, 2005, the music world lost one of its most dedicated students, teachers, and performers: William Vacchiano. After a long battle with various physical ailments, Vacchiano passed away at Cabrini Medical Center in Manhattan from respiratory failure. Philip Varriale, MD, honored Vacchiano’s life with this eulogy delivered on September 24, 2005: ...

Appendices A-G

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pp. 124-165


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pp. 166-176

Bibliography and Sources

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pp. 177-184


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pp. 185-194

E-ISBN-13: 9781574413410
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574413069

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 38 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Lives of Musicians
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OCLC Number: 723944090
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Last Stop, Carnegie Hall

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Subject Headings

  • Vacchiano, William.
  • Trumpet players -- New York (State) -- New York -- Biography.
  • Trumpet -- Instruction and study -- United States.
  • New York Philharmonic -- History -- 20th century.
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