Walfredo Toscanini, 1928-2011
It was with sad news that we heard of the passing of Walfredo Toscanni, who died on December 31, 2011. An architect who was based in New York City, he was the grandson of conductor Arturo Toscanini and was instrumental in allowing NYPL's Music Division to obtain the Toscanini Legacy — the massive collection containing the conductor's personal papers, musical scores, and recordings.
I am gratified that The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts was able to mount two exhibitions that were heavily influenced by Walfredo: Five Hundred Years of Italian Dance: Treasures from the Cia Fornaroli Collection (2006), which honored his mother, the dancer Cia Fornaroli; and Arturo Toscanini: Hommage to the Maestro (2007), which observed the 50th anniversary of his grandfather's death. At the opening reception for the latter exhibit, I could see that Walfredo was happy to keep the knowledge of his grandfather active and alive. (We included a few photographs of Walfredo as a young man, such as the one above.)
Just recently, we asked Walfredo if he had time to help us identify some of the many hundreds of photographs in the Toscanini Legacy. Despite a busy schedule for a man approaching 80 years of age, Walfredo made time for Seth Winner and myself to help identify many of the photographs. (I am still working at incorporating his attributions into our finding aid so that it can be added to the website.) He was enthusiastic to share the stories behind some of the pictures, and we even enjoyed a few jokes.
We offer our sincere condolences to his widow, Elaine; his children Liana, Maia, and Cia; and his grandchildren.