William Vacchiano, 93, a trumpeter who as principal trumpet for 31 years at the New York Philharmonic never missed a performance before leaving in 1973, died Monday of respiratory failure at a hospital in Manhattan, colleagues said.
Vacchiano began taking lessons around age 8, and he began playing in the Portland Symphony Orchestra in Maine when he was 14. After attending the Juilliard School, he joined the philharmonic's trumpet section in 1935.
That same year, Vacchiano joined the Juilliard staff, where his students over the years included Wynton Marsalis and Miles Davis. He estimated that he taught 2,000 students over the course of 67 years.
There are probably "only a handful of trumpet players in any major orchestra who haven't taken a lesson from him," said his friend and former student Lee Soper of Greenwich, Conn.
He retired from Juilliard in 2002 and was awarded an honorary doctorate a year later. He also taught at four other schools, published numerous trumpet method books and designed his own line of trumpet mouthpieces.