Wanda Toscanini Horowitz, 90, the daughter of conductor Arturo Toscanini and wife of piano virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz, died Friday at her Manhattan home. The cause of death was not immediately known.
She was born in Milan, the youngest of four children. As a young woman, she served as assistant to her mother, who saw to the maestro's needs for his concert tours.
When she met Horowitz at age 25, she was smitten. "In the first place he was good-looking," she recalled. "And his playing! I heard him play in a house after a concert. He played a Chopin mazurka and I remember I went home and said, 'I never heard anybody play a mazurka of Chopin like this.' "
After marrying the Russian-born pianist in 1933, Mrs. Horowitz followed her mother's example and began to care for her husband. She would pack his bags and make sure that he had all the comforts he required while touring, from proper curtains and bedding in his hotel room to lunches of filet of sole and asparagus.
Their marriage lasted for 55 years, a period when Horowitz was hailed as the greatest pianist of all time.
Shortly before her husband died in 1989, Mrs. Horowitz acknowledged some of the difficult times the couple endured. They separated briefly in 1949. At one point, Horowitz stopped playing for 12 years.
When Horowitz died, Leonard Bernstein paid tribute to Mrs. Horowitz.
Horowitz "was not only a super-pianist but a super-musician with all the mental fallibilities such geniuses have," the famed conductor told her. "You cared for him and guarded him through a series of neurotic crises the world may never know nor understand; and you returned him to us time and again, refreshed, renewed and ever greater."
The couple had one daughter, Sonia, who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and died at age 40 in 1974.