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Walfredo Toscanini, 1928-2011


 Walfredo Toscanini (at left) with Arturo Toscanini, his grandfather, during the 1950 tour of the NBC Symphony OrchestraWalfredo Toscanini (at left) with Arturo Toscanini, his grandfather, during the 1950 tour of the NBC Symphony Orchestra

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.


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My son Kim called this morning and said sadly;"I don't have a Godfather anymore." Wally was my best friend at the school of Architecture and we have been dear friends right up til now. I will miss him enormously, but unless the normal course of history changes radically, I'll be seeing him down the road before very long. my fond wishes to Elaine and the family.

Walfredo Toscanini

I had but a brief moment to speak with Mr. Toscanini this last June. I lecture on his grandfather at the Roadscholar (formerly Elderhostel) program at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. A great admirer of his grandfather I had hoped to speak to him and interview him as well. He seemed enthusiastic but did claim poor health. My deepest regret was not pursuing it further. In addition to his passing was Piero Weiss with whom I taught at Peabody. I too regret not having engaged him in talks about Toscanini as they were friends. My deepest sympathy to his family and hope they know the legacy of Toscanini lives on. With great respect. Ernest Liotti

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