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William Vacchiano, Wynton’s trumpet professor, died at 93

William Vacchiano, a trumpeter whose musical career started in Maine and took him to the New York Philharmonic and The Juilliard School, died at 93 on September 19, 2005.
Vacchiano was principal trumpet for 31 years at the New York Philharmonic and he never missed a performance before leaving in 1973. He continued to a teach until 2002 at The Juilliard School, where his students included Wynton Marsalis and Miles Davis.

William Vacchiano, principal trumpeter of the New York Philharmonic from 1942 to 1973, died on September 19.

According to a statement from the Juilliard School, where he taught for many years, he died at Cabrini Medical Center in New York City of natural causes. He was 93.

Vacchiano was born in Portland, Maine, and took up the trumpet at age 12. Two years later, he joined the Portland Symphony, and also played with the 242nd Coast Artillery Band. He studied at Juilliard, then called the Institute of Musical Art, from 1931 to 1935.

In 1935, he joined the New York Philharmonic, having turned down a simultaneous job offer from the Metropolitan Opera; he was made principal trumpeter seven years later. During his 38 years with the orchestra, he performed and recorded with conductors Leonard Bernstein, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, George Szell, and Bruno Walter, among others.

Vacchiano was one of the first important American trumpet players to use an instrument tuned to the key of C (the standard trumpet is in B-flat), and according to Juilliard he helped to spread the practice of using instruments transposed to fit various works of music.

He also wrote a series of textbooks and designed a line of trumpet mouthpieces.

Vacchiano was a member of Juilliard’s faculty from 1935 to 1998 and an emeritus professor from 1998 to 2002. He taught about 2,000 students, according to his own estimate; they included Wynton Marsalis, Miles Davis, Gerard Schwarz, and Philip Smith, the Philharmonic’s current principal trumpeter.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Philharmonic said, “William Vacchiano was a highly respected and beloved member of the New York Philharmonic over the course of several decades. His presence is still felt here, and will live on in the memory of the musicians, board and staff.”

Juilliard president Joseph W. Polisi and chairman Bruce Kovner said, “The entire Juilliard community mourns the passing of William Vacchiano, one of the longest-serving faculty members in the history of the school. A person of impeccable musical integrity and great humanity, he was revered and loved by his students and friends. He will be deeply missed.”

Source: Playbill Arts

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  1. ill always miss him he was great

    patrick.o on Feb 10th, 2011 at 10:13pm

  2. I play with a stork mouthpiece invented by Vacchiano..well he was straordinary invent a such incredible way to play trumpet!

    Michele Marconi on Sep 16th, 2009 at 1:18pm

  3. Muito bom o comentario sobre vachiano, o pai musical de varios trompetistas no mundo.

    josue da Silva Brito on Sep 11th, 2009 at 10:11am