|One of the most acclaimed musicians of the 20th century
Toscanini is considered one of the greatest orchestra conductors of all time. He was well known for his intensity, attention to detail and photographic memory. Not one to shy away from his personal beliefs, Toscanini refused to conduct for both Mussolini and Hitler.
Born in Parma, Italy, Toscanini won a scholarship to a local music conservatory where he studied the cello and joined the orchestra of an opera company in 1886. Conflict developed between the company and its conductor resulting in the conductor's firing. It was suggested by the company to have Toscanini pick up the baton and lead them. In spite of his age and lack of training, the public was enthralled with his mastery of the music and his career as a conductor took off. He would gain international fame.
His refusal to display Mussolini's photograph or conduct the Fascist anthem, "Giovinezza," became legendary. Mussolini, incensed at the conductor's refusal to honor him, kept Toscanini under constant watch, tapped his phone and took away his passport. The passport was only returned after worldwide protest. At the outbreak of World War II, Toscanini left Italy for America.
He would flourish during the early days of radio as conductor of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, created especially for him in 1937. Performing live from NBC's Studio 8-H in Rockefeller Center, he conducted his first concert on December 25, 1937. The studio was specifically built for the orchestra complete with perfect acoustics. The NBC concerts continued in Studio 8-H until the fall of 1950 when they would move to Carnegie Hall. The studio would later be remodeled for television and today is home to NBC's long running show, "Saturday Night Live."
This elegant frame is museum quality and displays a photograph of Arturo Toscanini measuring 24" x 30". It houses 2 smaller frames. An 11" x 14" frame of the actual photograph and a 5.5" x 3.5" frame of an engraved plate with Toscanini's name and the years of his birth and death. The photograph was taken in 1938 by famed NBC photographer, Ray Lee Jackson. Written on the photograph in Toscanini's hand, a personal message, "To Lewis Lane, with cordiality, Arturo Toscanini" and date of "May 12, 1941."