2007_01_arts_tosc.jpgArturo Toscanini's (pictured with Puccini), "maestro di maestri of music", was not only known for his photographic memory and mastery of music - he was also an avid collector of art. The 50th anniversary of his death is approaching, and with it - his private collection of art is on display in an exhibit called "Maestro's Secret Music".

Yesterday, around 60 works were previewed from this collection at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. On the 16th Toscanini's death will be commemorated there by the New York Philharmonic and Italy's Symphonica Toscanini orchestra.

Most of the works,Italian and American pieces from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, are still owned by the Toscanini family. His grandson, Walfredo, said that "the paintings meant so much to him. He would get up in the middle of the night and go and look at them, rearrange them and really take great care of them."

Toscanini moved to New York in 1908 to lead the Metropolitan Opera, and then to become the music director of the New York Philharmonic. Alfred East's oil painting of New York's Flatiron is part of the collection which will also include video excerpts of Toscanini’s televised performances, and rare home movies from the 1930s, including footage of the Philharmonic’s historical 1930 European tour. It will be on view through March 31st on Thursday afternoons on the Grand Promenade and First Tier at Avery Fisher Hall.