La Scala mourns Karajan’s best trumpet

La Scala mourns Karajan’s best trumpet


norman lebrecht

April 11, 2021

The legendary Giuseppe Bodanza has died. He was principal trumpet of the La Scala orchestra from 1963 to 2000.

La Scala has posted this message from two of his colleagues:
Danilo Stagni, first horn:
When Karajan was asked in 1967 what he would like to take away from Italy, he replied: a Ferrari, and Bodanza. This says all you need to know about Pipo. I personally played alongside him for almost 30 years, actually, I should say I grew up by his side because I was 17 years old. He taught me about style, technique, the sense of belonging to the institution of La Scala always with affection and sympathy, without the hierarchical sense that was then very strong in the orchestra. He was the only retiree who kept up a subscription to our concerts, he always followed the orchestra. For me, he will never stop being part of it.
Francesco Tamiati, first trumpet:
I think today of him as a man who lived through music and his role in our theatre as a monk lives faith, with rigour and dedication. I was privileged as well as fortunate to work alongside him, to learn and listen to the purity and beauty of his sound, the construction of phrases: it didn’t just sound great, in his sound there was the whole tradition of Opera.
How much and what experience.
Appreciated and respected by all the great conductors for his qualities.
Appreciated and respected by all my colleagues for his nobility.
Thank you Pippo
Francesco Tamiati, first trumpet





  • henry williams says:

    karajan said he would like to take away
    with him a ferrari.
    he could afford it

    • Herbie G says:

      Karajan’s losing his own trumpet is a tragedy. He blew it ceaselessly…

      • Jared says:

        Garbage! K well deserved his game. He never pranced about like many diva conductors, but did use his earnings to fulfill an active and sporty private life. Some folk are just jealous.

  • Lorenzo Ballenzoni says:

    He is holding an Abbado recording and not a Muti one.

    Legendary players are smart men with a taste for good music. Q. E. D.

    • microview says:

      Yes Abbado’s early Brandenburg Concertos LP set with the La Scala Orchestra (p1976, Dischi Ricordi), where he plays in No 2

  • Edgar Self says:

    Two moving, beautifully witten tributes from Giuseppe Bodanza’s close colleagues in La Scala Orchestra. Profound thanks to them both.

  • William donohue says:

    Great place to do business.. They are very helpful to a newbee.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Bravo, Pippo!
    Requiescat in pace, Maestro.

  • Radames says:

    This is very sad. He taught me trumpet for several years in the 1980s and I have always fondly remembered his immense competence, generosity and kindness. Not to mention his outstanding playing in the orchestra.

  • Helen Campo says:

    Dear Mr. Lebrecht,
    I am a flutist based in NYC, and Giuseppe Bodanza was my father’s first cousin. I wanted to thank you for your lovely article which expresses succinctly his beauty as a player and colleague. I showed the article to his daughter, who also very much appreciates it, but just thought I’d let you know that there is a small mistake. The first horn player’s name is Danilo Stagni (not Pondi). Also, it may be of interest that Pippo was actually the Principal Trumpet of the Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala and the Philharmonic Orchestra until 2007. Although, he “officially” retired in 1999 at the age of 60, because that is La Scala’s official mandatory retirement age, Maestro Ricardo Muti, who was La Scala’s permanent conductor at that time wanted him to stay, and apparently “couldn’t find anyone good enough to replace him“. So, because he loved his job very much and was still at the top of his game, he went on playing for 8 more years until 2007. Thank you,
    Helen Campo