On May 21, 2002 approximately 100 former students, colleagues, and friends met in the board room of the Juilliard School of Music in New York City to celebrate a momentous occasion: the ninetieth birthday of William Vacchiano. Vacchiano, who was a member of the Juilliard faculty from 1935 until his recent retirement, also taught simultaneously at the Manhattan School of Music and the Mannes College of Music in New York. At one time his students played in virtually every major symphony in the United States. In 1995 he estimated that he had taught about two thousand trumpet students.
William Vacchiano served as principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic, beginning his tenure with the orchestra under the baton of Toscanini in 1936 and ending it in 1973 under Pierre Boulez. His playing was known for its intensity along with a beautiful tone and luscious legato.
At the celebration Vacchiano was introduced by Juilliard president Joseph Polisi, the son of William Polisi, former Philharmonic principal bassoonist and close friend of Vacchiano. President Polisi told a moving story about literally knowing the trumpeter since the day of his birth,as Vacchiano drove the elder Polisi to the hospital through a blinding snowstorm to see his newborn son. After the introduction Vacchiano himself spoke of the joy and pride of being associated with Juilliard for so many years.
Present at the celebration were illustrious active and retired trumpeters, former and present members of the Philharmonic (including Philip Smith and Gerard Schwarz) and artists from every realm of the music world. It was an extraordinary opportunity to honor this much-loved living legend of trumpeters. All of us who were present look forward to celebrating William Vacchiano's next milestone with him.
|Philip Smith and William Vacchiano|