ARMANDO GHITALLA, (June 1, 1925 â€“December 14, 2001) American Orchestral player and trumpet soloist was one of the most respected players of his time. He is often remembered as the first person in modern times to perform and record the Hummel Trumpet Concerto. Ghitalla, who always searched for never or rarely performed solos, played with a remarkably beautiful singing style of unparalleled phrasing and musicianship. He performed numerous high register concertos with elan and ease. Always a gentleman, he was revered and loved by his students.
Ghitalla was born in Alpha, Illinois. In 1942, soon after the United States entry into World War Two, he joined the U.S. Navy, playing in Navy Bands. At the conclusion of the war, he entered the Juilliard School on the G.I.bill. At the start of his career he played with New York City Opera, the New York City Ballet, and the Houston Symphony. He went on to become a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra where he performed for twenty-eight years, and served as principal trumpet for fifteen. He was also active as a soloist, and he is the first trumpeter to record the Trumpet Concerto in E by Johann Nepomuk Hummel. Ghitalla was informed by a graduate student of his of a reference to a concerto by Nepomuk Hummel in the British Museum Library. The concerto was unknown at that time. Ghitalla requested a microfiche copy of the work from the library and asked if there were any right associated with it. The library sent him a copy and informed him that he was free to do with it as he wished. Ghitalla went on to correct score errors and to edit it for performance.
He performed it on a recital at Town Hall, New York city in 1958. During the intermission, he was approached by representatives of International Publishing asking if he had any interest in having them publish the work. Ghitalla found the publisher's terms unreasonable and the work went to Robert King Music where it was published in the key of Eb. The first recording of the Hummel was taped between December 1963 and January 1964 with the "Boston Chamber Ensemble," which was made up of members of the Boston Symphony, and conductor Pierre Monteux. At that time Ghitalla also recorded the Albrechtsberger, Concertino in Eb and the Molter, Concerto in D. This historical recording took place in Kresge Auditorium at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ghitalla played the Hummel in the original key of E major, using a Martin C trumpet. During Ghitalla's tenure with the Boston Symphony, he taught at the New England Conservatory of Music and Boston University. After retirement from the Boston Symphony, he continued teaching firstly at the University of Michigan and then at Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.