Half a century later, Toscanini plays on

Lorin Maazel, music director & conductor of the Symphonica is delighted to be chosen to lead Toscanini's memorial orchestra.

By RORY KRESS
November 21, 2007 09:06
1 minute read.
LORIN MAAZEL 88 224

LORIN MAAZEL 88 224. (photo credit: )

 
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In a tribute concert to Arturo Toscanini, the Symphonica Toscanini Orchestra will make a stop in Jerusalem at the Church of the Redeemer on November 26 at 6:30 p.m. The performance is part of a year-long world tour commemorating the 50th anniversary of the beloved maestro's death. The Symphonica's rendition of Giuseppe Verdi's Messa da Requiem will be broadcast across the globe from Israel. Since 2006, the orchestra has featured nearly 200 musicians who rotate in and out of the group, most of them young prodigies. Toscanini is widely held to be the greatest conductor of all time - said to have had an ear with a microscopic ability to refine his musicians and a consequent thirst for utter perfection. With a photographic memory, he famously took up the baton for the first time in Rio de Janeiro when the conductor was booed off the stage and Toscanini took the podium, leading an orchestral score of Aida from memory. He went on to lead the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. He was also the inaugural conductor for the opening of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra which is today the world-renowned Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. The NBC Symphony Orchestra was formed to play under Toscanini's baton. The tour, entitled "In the Footsteps of Toscanini - Symphony of the Air" has already toured the globe extensively: from Kansas to Morocco. The US leg of the tour followed Toscanini's historic routes from 1920 and 1950. Lorin Maazel, music director and conductor of the Symphonica is delighted to be chosen to lead Toscanini's memorial orchestra. "When I was asked to guide… an ensemble whose ranks are drawn from some of the most awesomely gifted young soloists of our day, I felt it incumbent upon me to accept the challenge. I'm glad I did," Maazel recalls. The Symphony of the Air formed towards the end of Toscanini's life. His NBC Symphony Orchestra musicians, deciding that their maestro was irreplaceable, played before an empty podium. Though today that podium is filled, the memory of Toscanini's music lives on through the instruments of these young virtuosos.

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