Marcel Tabuteau

Marcel Tabuteau

How Do You Expect to Play the Oboe If You Can't Peel a Mushroom?
Laila Storch
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/13/2017
Format: Paperback 60 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-03267-6
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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.

Author Bio

Laila Storch is Professor Emerita of Oboe at the University of Washington School of Music and a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Marcel Tabuteau.


“Marcel Tabuteau is one of the greatest figures in 20th century music. Studying the oboe from an early age at the Paris Conservatory, he was brought to the United States in 1905 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. Tabuteau is known for revamping the oboe world with his performances, pedagogical and reed-making techniques.”

“Everyone always said that a book ought to be written about that unique and extraordinary man, Marcel Tabuteau. Now, at last, the book has arrived.”
 — Louis Rosenblatt

“Ms. Storch's style is descriptive, informative, and engaging—a nice blend between the historical and the personal. This volume gets my vote as the winning historical profile of one of the most influential and revered performers and pedagogues of our time—Marcel Tabuteau. A must for every serious musician's library.”
 — Linda Strommen, Indiana University

“In this volume, Ms. Storch cleverly captures the essence of Marcel Tabuteau, one of the finest musicians and greatest teachers of his era and whose unique perspective profoundly influenced classical music for generations to follow. The stories she tells about this remarkable man are, at once, poignant, witty and right on the mark.”
 — John Minsker

“[Storch's] personal descriptions of what it was like to study with this mercurial genius are absolutely fascinating; they provide indispensable glimpses for this generation of oboe students, not to mention future ones.”
 — Dan Stolper, Interlochen Centre for the Arts

“This book will be informative, interesting, and beneficial for anyone who is involved with the performance of music in the United States, whether in the field or in academe.June 2009”
 — Lois Kuyper-Rushing, Louisiana State University

“Laila Storch . . . is generous in her admiration of [Marcel Tabuteau's] compelling artistry. She has produced a monumental tribute to an extraordinary musician whose influence remains alive in each generation of American oboists.87 Summer 2009”
 — Anthony McColl, Double Reed News

“[This biography is] movingly personal . . . . may prove to be one of the most accomplished and important musical biographies of the 21st century.8/1/10”
 — Christopher Brodersen, Fanfare

“Laila Storch's biography of Marcel Tabuteau provides a detailed and intimate portrait of the life and artistry of the man widely considered to be the father of the American school of oboe playing. Vol. 33, No. 2, Summer 2010”
 — The Double Reed

“Storch’s intriguing book will appeal to a broad audience, not just oboists. Anyone interested in music will find Tabuteau's philosophies and Storch's research beneficial and applicable.January 2009”
 — Choice

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Table of Contents

Accessing the Audio Files

1. Compiègne and the Tabuteau Family
2. Paris Conservatoire: Tabuteau's Studies with Georges Gillet, 1902-1904
3. Arrival in America: Walter Damrosch and the New York Symphony Orchestra, 1905-1908
4. The Metropolitan Opera: Singers and Conductors of the "Golden Age," 1908-1914
5. San Francisco Interlude: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition Orchestra, 1915
6. The Philadelphia Orchestra: The Stokowski Years, 1915-1940
7. Tabuteau as Soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra: 1915-1954
8. Tabuteau at the Curtis Institute of Music: 1924-1946
9. Lessons with Tabuteau: My Arrival in Philadelphia, January 1943
10. My First Year with Tabuteau at the Curtis Institute: October 1943-May 1944
11. Tabuteau Conducts the Curtis Orchestra: Fall 1944-Spring 1945
12. Tabuteau's Summers in Canada: Salmon Fishing in Nova Scotia
13. Another Year of Study with Tabuteau: 1945-1946
14. Summers in France: The Pingouinette; Back to Philadelphia, 1948
15. Tabuteau's Last Years at the Curtis Institute: 1946-1954
16. The Casals Festivals in Prades and Perpignan: 1950, 1951, and 1953
17. Tabuteau as Seen by His Philadelphia Orchestra Colleagues
18. Retirement in France: La Coustiéro, 1954-1959
19. Tabuteau's Final Years in Nice: 1959-1966
20. Philadelphia Postlude: Tabuteau's Playing; His Musical Ideas and Influence

Appendix 1. Introduction and Text Transcription for the Tabuteau-Wolsing Audio Files
Appendix 2. The Students of Marcel Tabuteau at the Curtis Institute of Music
Appendix 3. The Tabuteau System: Essay and Outline by Marc Mostovoy
Glossary of Terms Used by Oboists
Selected Bibliography