Born in 1911, Nuncio “Toots” Mondello started life in Boston, where he performed on the alto and soprano saxophones with his father’s band from the age of 8 and joined the musicians’ union when only 14. Mondello studied at NEC in 1927; his classes included harmony with William B. Tyler and solfeggio with Clara Ellis. He became assistant bandleader with Mal Hallett’s Toast of New England in the same year.
Between 1934 and 1935, Mondello was the principal alto saxophonist in Benny Goodman’s radio band. Over his career he also played on shows for Kate Smith, Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, and Milton Berle, among others. Mondello played what is called “the Boston sound” – clear and well-rounded – and was considered one of the best saxophonists of this style.
Mondello became interested in classical music in the 1930s while studying flute with James Pappoutsakis of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and eventually studied composition with Paul Creston. His pieces saw many performances in the 1970s; in all he composed more than thirty chamber music and orchestral pieces.
Late in his career, Mondello performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He died in 1992.
The Nuncio “Toots” Mondello collection consists of 9 drop-front archival boxes, 4 records cartons, and 2 LP cases
This collection includes materials created by and belonging to Nuncio “Toots” Mondello. The materials were donated by Mondello in his will as of 16 December 1992.
Access to the Nuncio “Toots” Mondello collection is granted by the archivist or the Director of Libraries. Appointments must be scheduled in advance. There are no restrictions pertaining to this collection.
All copyrights to this collection belong to the New England Conservatory. Permission to publish materials from this collection is granted by the Director of Libraries. This collection should be cited as: Nuncio “Toots” Mondello Collection in the Archives at New England Conservatory, Boston.
Finding aid compiled by Marti Verso, Fall 2008