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Event Alert! Toscanini: A Conductor Stands Up For Justice

There will be a FREE EVENT at the United Nations Headquarters to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an annual event sponsored by B’nai B’rith International.

EVENT DETAILS:

Toscanini: A Conductor Stands Up For Justice

Date & Time: Tuesday, January 27th at 1:15pm

Place: United Nations Headquarters, Conference Room 3

Admission: FREE

Pre-registration required – RSVP by Jan. 20 at rsvpun@bmaibriht.org or phone 1-212-557-0019

(In case of inclement weather only, call 1-212-490-1352 for possible schedule change.)

EVENT INFORMATION:

Using rare film footage and archival orchestral recordings, Cesare Civetta (director of the Beethoven Festival Orchestra and author of The Real Toscanini: Musicians Reveal the Maestro), will explore the life, music, and extraordinary impact of the man whose fiery passion and astonishing talent made him one of the most acclaimed musicians of the 20th century.

Special note will be given to Toscanini’s defiance of Hitler and Mussolini “Jewish policies,” eventually leading him to establishing the orchestra now known as Israel Philharmonic in 1936, in solidarity with Jewish musicians escaping Nazi persecution. The presentation will feature audio interviews with artists who performed under Toscanini as well as rare video footage of Toscanini rehearsing and conducting. The presentation will be followed by a Question & Answer period.

ABOUT MAESTRO CESARE CIVETTA:

CESARE CIVETTA is an internationally acclaimed conductor who has led more than 60 orchestras in 28 countries, including performances at Lincoln Center and Madison Square Garden. He is the author of The Real Toscanini: Musicians Reveal the Maestro, and his concerts have been broadcast live over National Public Radio, Swedish Radio and the South African Broadcasting Company, and featured on CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC.

IN CHINA, he was the first foreign-born conductor to conduct at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music. He has also given master classes, lectures and conducted the orchestras of the Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang conservatories, where he found an outpouring of enthusiasm for Western music that was shared by orchestras, students and audiences alike.

IN RUSSIA, Mr. Civetta had the unique distinction of being the first American to conduct a transcontinental tour of the former Soviet Union. He gave the first performance of Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever at the Communist Party Headquarters in Yaroslavl, where Civetta turned the statue of Lenin to face the wall. Coverage of Civetta’s historic tour of Poland, Romania and Russia during the dismantling of the Soviet Union was broadcast over Voice of America, and a video documentary about it was produced in nine languages.

To view a video of Maestro Civetta’s orchestral tour of Russia, click here.

For information about Maestro Civetta’s recently published book, The Real Toscanini, click here.

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Arturo Toscanini, Music Conductor and Orchestra Ally

The following is an excerpt from The Real Toscanini by Cesare Civetta, as posted on PBS’s Orchestra of Exiles page. Read the entire excerpt on their website.

When the Polish violinist Bronisław Huberman founded the Palestine Symphony Orchestra, he asked Toscanini to conduct a benefit concert in New York for the new orchestra. Toscanini decided to travel to Palestine in December of 1936, train the orchestra, and conduct the first concerts of what later became known as the Israel Philharmonic, composed of refugee Jewish musicians who had escaped persecution. Toscanini refused to accept a fee or reimbursement for his travel expenses.

Toscanini: “I had to show my solidarity.” “It is everyone’s duty to help in this cause according to one’s means.”

The news of Toscanini’s plans to inaugurate the orchestra attracted more musicians to join the orchestra and resulted in very successful fund-raising for the new venture. Toscanini stayed for more than a month. The dress rehearsal for the first concert was open to artists and workers. “The public’s response was one of overwhelming emotion. The president of the Hebrew University broke into uncontrollable tears.” There were nine sold-out concerts in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa, and concerts in Cairo and Alexandria. In Tel Aviv, crowds stood outside near the windows and some people even climbed onto the roof attempting to hear. At the end of the first concert, the ovation lasted for more than thirty minutes.

Keep reading this excerpt on PBS.org!

Tune into the PBS premiere of Orchestra of Exiles on Sunday, April 14, 10 pm.

In The Real Toscanini, Cesare Civetta presents an intriguing collection of vivid, one-of-a-kind interviews with artists who performed with Toscanini. A portrait of the inner workings of the maestro emerges through these extensive conversations, conducted by the author over a period of 20 years, together with other firsthand recollections. These accounts clarify Toscanini’s philosophy, musical style, and techniques. They depict a man tormented by inner demons of anger and depression, which were easily triggered by his frustration at being unable to produce the musical ideal in his mind’s ear.