The exhibit will include some 60 pieces from Toscanini's personal collection of works by Italian artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including paintings, drawings and sculptures by Vittore Grubicy de Dragon, Gaetano Previati, Giovanni Fattori, Giovanni Segantini and Umberto Boccioni. The work of American artists such as George Inness and Alfred East will also be featured.
The installation will include video excerpts of Toscanini's televised performances, and home movies from the 1930s, including footage of the Philharmonic's historical 1930 European tour. The exhibition will travel to Parma and Livorno, following the showing at Avery Fisher Hall, its only U.S. venue.
An illustrated, bilingual catalogue, with a preface by Philharmonic president and executive director Zarin Mehta and introductory essays by Harvey Sachs (Toscanini's official biographer), will include documents and photographs illustrating the relationship between Toscanini and the artists in addition to images of the artwork.
Toscanini was a lover of art and collected many paintings, drawings, and sculptures. "Every painting in the maestro's collection had to respect an emotional rule, a 'visione che in un determinato momento, in quel determinato posto, impressioni l'anima' ('a vision that, in a certain moment, in that certain place, impresses the soul')," said exhibition curator Renato Miracco.
According to Toscanini's son, Walter, all paintings in the exhibition were hung on the walls of their home; nearly all of the works on display are still owned by the Toscanini family.
The exhibition will coincide with a joint concert and gala by the Philharmonic and Symphonica Toscanini, featuring soprano Ren_e Fleming, on January 16. The concert, called "A Tribute to Toscanini," will be conducted by Lorin Maazel, who is music director of both orchestras. The menu for the gala dinner will be created by famed Italian chef Lidia Bastianich, and proceeds from the event will go toward establishing the Arturo Toscanini Associate Conductor's Chair at the New York Philharmonic.
The Avery Fisher concert will be part of an international tour by the Symphonica Toscanini, which is comprised of a rotating group of nearly 200 young musicians and was founded in Rome in May 2006. The Symphonica is "dedicated to the musical ideals and integrity" of Toscanini, who served as music director of Milan's Teatro alla Scala, New York's Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic and the NBC Symphony Orchestra.
The tour, titled "In the Footsteps of Toscanini — Symphony of the Air," is inspired by the Symphony of the Air, the orchestra formed after Toscanini's retirement from the NBC Symphony Orchestra in 1954.