The tour follows the historical tours made by the great maestro, Arturo Toscanini, in 1920 with the Orchestra Arturo Toscanini and in 1950 (at the age of 83) with the NBC Symphony Orchestra.
Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) is considered by many to have been the greatest conductor of his era. He was renowned for his brilliant intensity, restless perfectionism, his phenomenal ear for orchestral detail and his photographic memory-which gave him extraordinary command over a vast repertoire of orchestral and operatic works, and allowed him to correct errors in orchestral parts unnoticed by his colleagues.
Symphonica Toscanini, an orchestra comprised of a rotating group of nearly 200 young virtuoso musicians, is quickly gaining an international reputation for the incomparable excellence of its performances. Founded in Rome in May 2006, with Lorin Maazel as Music Director for Life, Symphonica Toscanini has already toured Russia, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The orchestra is dedicated to the musical ideals and integrity embodied by Maestro Arturo Toscanini, whose many achievements include serving as music director of Milan's Teatro alla Scala, New York's Metropolitan Opera Company, the New York Philharmonic, and the NBC Symphony Orchestra.
"When I was asked to lead an ensemble whose ranks are drawn from some of the most awesomely gifted young soloists of our day, first as guest conductor and eventually as Music Director, I felt it incumbent upon me to accept the challenge. I'm glad I did,"Â said Music Director Lorin Maazel. "In recent tours in Europe and Asia these young people have realized their musical potential in an orchestral frame so stunningly as to bring audiences to their feet at the end of each concert cheering and lauding these sterling virtuosi and roaring for more. In presenting the Symphonica Toscanini in their first major U.S. tour, I revel in anticipation of the acclaim they will surely be accorded."Â
LORIN MAAZEL: Lorin Maazel, who has led more than 150 orchestras in more than 5,000 opera and concert performances, became Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in September 2002. His appointment came 60 years after his debut with the Orchestra at Lewisohn Stadium, then the Orchestra's summer venue. Beginning with the 2006-07 season, Maestro Maazel is also Music Director of the new Santiago Calatrava-designed opera house, the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, in Valencia, Spain.
Prior to his tenure as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Maazel conducted more than 100 performances of the orchestra as a guest conductor. He served as music director of the Bavarian Radio Orchestra (1993-2002), and has held positions as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1988-96); the first American general manager and chief conductor of the Vienna Staatsoper (1982-84); music director of The Cleveland Orchestra (1972-82); and artistic director and chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1965-71). Maazel was named Music Director for Life of Symphonica Toscanini in 2006.
About SYMPHONICA TOSCANINI: Symphonica Toscanini consists of a flexible group of musicians who alternate playing for the orchestra's varied projects. Most are Italian, many with international backgrounds. Though young, all have prior experience in other leading orchestras or as soloists. Maazel selected the members of the orchestra based not only on their professional qualities, but also on their motivation and artistic commitment. He had been able to observe the musicians firsthand since 2002, when he conducted many of them as members of the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini. When that experience drew to a close, the musicians and Maazel felt a deep solidarity that led them to form a new orchestra, the Symphonica Toscanini, which enables them to pursue their musical ideals autonomously in a spirit of ongoing cultural exchange. Orchestra members are chosen on a concert-by-concert basis, with no guarantee of permanent engagement. This remarkable model is a testament to the musicians' belief in their professional skills, and their ability to work as a team.
The orchestra is managed by the Symphonica Toscanini Foundation, a private foundation created to serve the organizational needs of the ensemble, and headed by Pia Elda Locatelli, president and Gianni Baratta, general manager. In addition to its headquarters in Rome, the Foundation also has an office in Washington, DC. More international offices will open in 2007. Symphonica Toscanini does not owe its existence to annual state subsidies, but is funded through earned income, and the generosity of sponsor corporations and individuals.
The Tour: The 2007 Symphonica Toscanini tour title, "In the Footsteps of Toscanini - Symphony of the Air,"Â is inspired by the Symphony of the Air orchestra that formed after Maestro Toscanini's retirement from the NBC Symphony Orchestra in 1954. Against many odds, the musicians of that orchestra regrouped and continued to perform together for nearly a decade.
The repertoire for this tour is heavily influenced by the programmatic choices of Arturo Toscanini. Toscanini was the first Italian conductor of world-class talent to establish himself as being equally committed and adept at performing both foreign and Italian works. He was well-known for his interpretation of the music of Wagner, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky, in addition to works by Italian masters such as Verdi, Rossini, Respighi, and Puccini. Maestro Maazel has selected repertoire steeped in this tradition for Symphonica Toscanini's 2007 U.S. tour, including Brahms' Symphony No. 4; Rossini's Overture to Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Tchaikovsky's Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32; Respighi's Fontane di Roma and Pini di Roma, and Wagner's TannhÃƒÂ¤user Overture.