Marcel Tabuteau: How Do You Expect to Play the Oboe If You Can't Peel a Mushroom?

Marcel Tabuteau: How Do You Expect to Play the Oboe If You Can't Peel a Mushroom?

Marcel Tabuteau: How Do You Expect to Play the Oboe If You Can't Peel a Mushroom?

Marcel Tabuteau: How Do You Expect to Play the Oboe If You Can't Peel a Mushroom?

Synopsis

Laila Storch is a world-renowned oboist in her own right, but her book honors Marcel Tabuteau, one of the greatest figures in twentieth-century music. Tabuteau studied the oboe from an early age at the Paris Conservatoire and was brought to the United States in 1905, by Walter Damrosch, to play with the New York Symphony Orchestra. Although this posed a problem for the national musicians' union, he was ultimately allowed to stay, and the rest, as they say, is history. Eventually moving to Philadelphia, Tabuteau played in the Philadelphia Orchestra and taught at the Curtis Institute of Music, ultimately revamping the oboe world with his performance, pedagogical, and reed-making techniques.In 1941, Storch auditioned for Tabuteau at the Curtis Institute, but was rejected because of her gender. After much persistence and several cross-country bus trips, she was eventually accepted and began a life of study with Tabuteau. Blending archival research with personal anecdotes, and including access to rare recordings of Tabuteau and Waldemar Wolsing, Storch tells a remarkable story in an engaging style.

Excerpt

For almost forty years music lovers, students, connoisseurs, and fellow musicians were enthralled by the unique artistry of Marcel Tabuteau. They listened to his phrasing, his elegance of style, and to his silvery tone as it would spiral and float seemingly without effort to the top rows of the balcony of the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. During the time that Tabuteau was the solo oboist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he also taught at the Curtis Institute of Music. To his own oboe students he passed on the best elements of the French woodwind tradition, at the same time establishing such new standards of finesse in orchestral blending, variety of tone color, and nuance of phrasing that what is now known as the “American school of oboe playing,” or, more specifically, the “Tabuteau style,” has become the accepted and expected norm for oboists in all American symphony orchestras. Through his conducting of woodwind ensembles, his influence reached the players of all other wind instruments. in later years he coached string groups and led an orchestra. Many violinists, violists, cellists, and pianists have said that they received their most valuable musical knowledge in Tabuteau’s classes at Curtis.

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