Arturo Toscanini – a brilliant rise to stardom

Listening to a radio show in the car earlier this week, a remarkable event in the life of Arturo Toscanini, considered during his lifetime ‘the greatest conductor of all times’ came to my attention.

Toscanini was born in Parma, Italy where he won a scholarship to study the cello at the music conservatory. As cellist he joined an opera company with whom he went on tour to South America in 1886. While rehearsing ‘Aida’ in Rio de Janeiro  the performers were more and more unsatisfied with the local conductor who was supposed to lead them for the opera performance. The conductor was sacked, subsitutes were found but still, the orchestra, choir and singers were still unhappy. The evening of the performance arrived, the show starting with complete chaos among the performers. The audience highly unhappy started to show signs of discontent and the conductor was forced to leave the stage. No one knew what to do, when suddenly Toscanini got up, left his cello and took over to conduct the orchestra. What was most remarkable he conducted the whole opera by heart! That evening a star was born.

When he got back  to Europe, Toscanini returned shortly to the cello chair, but was soon more and more in demand as conductor. The rest is history. For us today Toscanini provides an inspiration to what we can achieve if we have courage, belief and faith.