- David Cairns
(b Parma, March 25, 1867; d New York, Jan 16, 1957). Italian conductor. The son of a tailor (who had fought with Garibaldi), he early showed exceptional musical gifts and in 1876 at the age of nine was sent to the Parma Conservatory, becoming a boarder in 1878. For nine years he studied the cello there (with Leandro Carini) and also the piano and composition, graduating in 1885 with maximum marks. Toscanini began his professional life as a cellist (while still a student he had played in the orchestra of the Teatro Regio, Parma), and was second in the cello section for the première of Verdi’s Otello at La Scala in 1887. But by that time he had already embarked on the career of conductor, for which a prodigious musical memory and ear, insatiable curiosity, great powers of concentration, and a dominating and uncompromising character alike destined him. At the age of 19, on tour in Brazil with an Italian troupe, a series of accidents led to his being promoted from the cellos to take over a performance of ...