Principal Musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra

  with brief biographical remarks






Principal Musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra


This website has two listings of musicians of the great Boston Symphony Orchestra:


- A listing of all the Musicians of the Boston Symphony from its creation in 1881 until today.  This list includes the names, location and date of birth and death, instruments, positions and dates of service of all known full-time Boston Symphony Orchestra musicians.  To go to this list of all BSO musicians, click: Boston Symphony Orchestra Musicians List


- A listing of the Principal Musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra covering the Principal, or first chair musicians, with short biographical notes and photographs.  This listing is the subject of this webpage, shown below.



  Boston Symphony Orchestra with Georg Herschel, conductor in an 1882 photo-collage


A Listing of Boston Symphony Orchestra PRINCIPAL Musicians


This page of the site seeks to list all the Principal, or first-chair musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since its inception in 1881.  Also, the principal conductors or Music Directors of the Boston Symphony Orchestra are featured.  With each musician, I have tried to reconstruct a short biography of the musician's professional career.  Also, where possible, I have included a photograph of the musician. 

A Listing of ALL Boston Symphony Orchestra Musicians


As well as the Principal musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra contained on this page, I am constructing what is intended to become a complete listing of all of the musicians of the Boston Symphony since its creation in 1881.  To see this listing of all the Boston Symphony Orchestra musicians, click on the link ' Boston Symphony Orchestra Musicians List'.  This listing includes names, instruments, titles and dates of service of all known Boston Symphony musicians.  Also, when know, the place of birth, and the birth and death dates are included.  Please have a look at this listing, and any corrections or updates to this site are welcome by contacting me, at the link below.


Also, the Boston Symphony Orchestra has descriptions and photographs of all the current Orchestra musicians on its excellent website.  You can visit the BSO website by clicking the link: GO TO THE BSO WEBSITE

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Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Directors


1881-1884   Isidor Georg Henschel



George Henschel 1879 painted by Lawrence Alma-Tadema


Georg Henschel, (from 1914, Sir George), was born in Breslau, then part of Prussia (later Germany and now Poland) on February 18, 1850.  He was a singer and pianist by training, having studied at the Leipzig Conservatory 1867-1870 and at the Berlin Royal Conservatory (part of Akademie der Künste, Berlin) 1870-1874.  Henschel came to Boston in 1881 with his student, a Boston singer named Lillian Bailey (1860-1901), whom he was shortly to marry.  Henschel made such a success at one of the Harvard Musical Association concert performances that he caught the attention of the Boston businessman and music lover Major (actually, a Civil War Colonel) Henry Lee Higginson (1834-1919).  It had been Henry Lee Higginson's idea for some time to create a symphony orchestra in Boston which would reach the level of the great orchestras of Europe.  Mr. Higginson organized the Boston Symphony Orchestra Association in 1880, facilitated by his guarantee of the orchestra finances.  The result was the first BSO season in 1881-1882, with George Henschel as Music Director. 

Boston Music Hall

Boston Music Hall in 1882, the original location of Boston Symphony concerts under George Henschel


As an orchestra builder, George Henschel hired many European musicians, particularly German, as well as employing Boston musicians from the older Handel & Haydn Society Orchestra, from Boston's Germania Orchestra, and from the Harvard Musical Association orchestra.  These latter included pioneering Boston orchestral musicians such as the three Akeroyd brothers, Eichler father and sons, the Heindl brothers and son, Carl Miersch, the Mullaly brothers, the Schmidt brothers, the Suck brothers, and others.  The European musicians would sail to Boston each season in October, alone, and then return to their families in Europe the following May.  Contracts were on a season-by-season basis, which made for a certain level of instability and change.  In Boston, Henschel was praised for his ambitious programs, but less so regarding the discipline and consistency of the orchestral playing.  In 1884, after three seasons in Boston, Georg Henschel returned to London to become Professor of singing at the Royal College of Music 1886-1888.  He also began in 1886 the London Symphony Concerts (not connected with what was later the London Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1904).  These London concerts continued until 1897.  From 1893-1895, Henschel conducted the Royal Scottish Orchestra.  He was, along with Édouard Colonne, one of the earliest-born conductors to make a phonograph recording of a complete symphony orchestra.  Henschel died in Aviemore, Scotland his highland home September 10, 1934.


A Georg Henschel Story:  George Henschel was a good friend of Johannes Brahms, but was terrified by Brahms' loud and unmusical snoring and wrote:  " We retired to No. 11, and it was my instant and most ardent endeavour to go to sleep before delight at seeing him take up a book and read in bed was equaled only by my horror when, after a few minutes, I saw him blow out his candle. A few seconds later the room was fairly ringing with the most unearthly noises...what should I do? I was in despair... I went downstairs to the porter, whom, not without some difficulty, I succeeded in rousing from a sound sleep...I made him open room No. 42 for me...I returned, early in the morning, to the room in which I had left Brahms...he was awake and, affectionately looking at me said 'Oh, Henschel, when I awoke and found your bed empty, I said to myself, There! he's gone and hanged himself ! But really, why didn't you throw a boot at me ?' The idea of my throwing a boot at Brahms ! "


1884-1889, 1898-1906  Wilhelm Gericke

Gericke studio   Wilhelm Gericke studio portrait circa 1898 - Boston Symphony Archives


Wilhelm Gericke was born in Schwanberg, Austria about 30 km south of Graz on May 18, 1845. His family was not musical, yet he showed an early musical aptitude.  Wilhelm Gericke entered the Vienna Conservatory at age 16 and studied conducting with Felix Otto Dessoff (1835-1892 and friend of Brahms) and piano under Julius Epstein (1832-1926) during 1862-1865.  Epstein, who outlived his pupil Gericke, was instrumental in recommending to Henry Lee Higginson two Boston Symphony conductors: Gericke and Nikisch.  Wilhelm Gericke's early experience was gained by conducting opera at regional opera houses, a typical development path for conductors in Europe at that time.  Following graduation in 1865, Gericke joined the Linz Opera, where he was Kapellmeister until Spring, 1874.  The conducting talent early demonstrated by Gericke lead to his appointment in 1874 as assistant conductor under Wilhelm Jahn (1835-1900), Music Director of the Vienna Hofoper, as the Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper) was known at that time.  In 1880, Wilhelm Gericke was selected as conductor of the Vienna Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (the Friends of Music or 'Musikverein') 44.  In October, 1884, Henry Lee Higginson heard Gericke conduct Aida at the Vienna Opera, and asked his friend Julius Epstein, also of course Gericke's teacher, if Gericke would come to Boston. Epstein was doubtful, but Gericke immediately agreed 45.  It seems that Gericke had been in a dispute with the Music Director Jahn 46, which may well have influenced Gericke's decision.  After gaining Gericke's agreement in October 1884, Higginson quickly arranged for Gericke to come to Boston to assume the director position starting the season in November, 1884. 

Gericke 1900   Wilhelm Gericke in 1900


In Gericke's 13 seasons as head of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Gericke was instrumental as an orchestra builder, bringing it to a more consistently high level.  Gericke is said by contemporary critics 47 to have instilled a higher standard of orchestral playing and to have built new discipline which was not a strength of George Henschel.  Early on, Wilhelm Gericke, in the summer of 1885 between his first and second seasons hired some 20 new orchestra musicians in Europe, primarily in Vienna 26. The new musicians included Franz Kneisel, Concertmaster and Louis Svecenski, who was violinist and violist in the orchestra for 18 years, Max Zach viola, and Emanuel Fiedler violin who was father of Arthur Fiedler, and Gustav Gerhardt, BSO Bass for 41 years, 1885-1926.  Gericke also worked to extend the season by touring other cities, and by adding a Pops program.  This made the orchestra more attractive to musicians, particularly European musicians, by guaranteeing longer employment.  European musicians of the era would sail to the US in September, leaving their families behind, and return to Europe in June.  Gericke was able to offer multi-year contracts with the best players.  By the 1904-1905 season, during Gericke's second term as Music Director, the Boston Symphony had expanded to a complement of 91 musicians, compared with the 71 musicians of Henschel's orchestra.  It is widely considered that by his selection of musicians, his discipline, and tenacity, in addition to his art that Wilhelm Gericke made the Boston Symphony a great orchestra for the first time.  By January of the 1888-1889 season, it was known that Wilhelm Gericke would resign from the Boston Symphony 48 due to poor health, primarily from the Boston workload.  Gericke returned to Europe, and between 1890 and 1898, Gericke was living in Dresden.  In 1898, following several seasons of growing criticism of the conducting of Emil Paur, Henry Higginson convinced Wilhelm Gericke to return as Music Director of the Boston Symphony in the 1898-1899 season.  Then, after eight more seasons as Music Director of the Boston Symphony, in 1906, Wilhelm Gericke returned to Vienna.  Wilhelm Gericke died in Vienna on October 27, 1925 at age 80. 


Some critics, such as the American violinist Sam Franko (1857-1937) were critical of the conducting of Wilhelm Gericke.  Franko, who played under Gericke in the 1885-1886 season wrote '...the performances were full of subtle nuances, finely balanced, but lacked spirit and life...' 124.  Others, such as Howe 5 credit Gericke with a clear and classical style, while also bringing the discipline and ensemble training that the Boston Symphony needed in its founding years.


1889-1893  Arthur Nikisch 

Nikisch Paris   Arthur Nikisch studio portrait Paris circa 1910 - Boston Symphony Archives


Arthur Nikisch was born in Lébény, Hungary, located mid-way between Vienna and Budapest on October 12, 1855.   Nikisch studied At the Vienna Conservatory. At the Conservatory, Nikisch studied conducting under Johann von Herbeck (1831-1877), and violin and conducting under Joseph Hellmesberger, Jr. (1855-1907).  Upon leaving the Vienna Conservatory in 1878, Nikisch followed the German method of mastering conducting with a series of 'provincial' conducting responsibilities.  In 1878, Nikisch became second conductor of the Stadt Theater, Leipzig (the opera), and in 1882, Nikisch advanced to Principal conductor.  In 1889, Henry Lee Higginson, founder of the Boston Symphony, was searching for a successor to Wilhelm Gericke, who had decided to return to Vienna.  Higginson's friend Julius Epstein of the Vienna Conservatory, just as he had recommended Gericke, now recommended Nikisch 56.  Nikisch accepted and arrived in October, 1889 for the opening of the Boston 1889-1890 season.  He is said to have found the BSO a better ensemble than he had expected 2.  With the Boston Symphony, contemporaries noted that Nikisch conducting style was more free and romantic than Gericke's more classical approach. The Boston Symphony under all its conductors regularly toured U.S. cities, but a disagreement between the orchestra and Nikisch about such touring lead to his departure in the Spring of 1893.  (It is interesting that Nikisch demurred at touring then, but later returned in 1912 to tour the eastern U.S. with the London Symphony.  But the press claimed Nikisch was earning $1000 per night on this later tour 76.)  On leaving Boston, 1893-1895 Nikisch became Director General of the Budapest Royal Opera. 

Nikisch 1906


The Nikisch fame and career as a conductor advanced rapidly, and contemporaries all agree that he had an immediate, and some said magical, effect on the playing of an orchestra, simply from his direction.  In 1895, Nikisch became Music Director of the famed Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, one of the oldest and greatest symphony groups.  Nikisch remained head of the Gewandhausorchester until his death in 1922.  Also in the 1895-1896 season, Nikisch became Music Director of the Berlin Philharmonic, while still Music Director in Leipzig. It may seem unusual, particularly for that era, for Nikisch to be Music Director of two of the leading symphonies.  However, Wilhelm Furtwängler succeeded Nikisch in both positions upon Nikisch's death. 



  Arthur Nikisch with the Boston Symphony Orchestra 1891


Arthur Nikisch made some of the earliest recordings of a full symphony orchestra playing major works.  This was physically and musically difficult to accomplish in the acoustic recording era, and the results so variable and often poor that many leading conductors of that era did not enter the recording studio.  Nikisch's first recording was with the London Symphony in June, 1913.  This was followed by one of the most famous early recordings: the Beethoven Symphony no 5 with the Berlin Philharmonic in November, 1913.  Fritz Busch in his autobiography 82 wrote that Nikisch knew everyone's name.  This was unlike, for example, Stokowski who would address the musicians as "flute" or "fagotte".  Fritz Busch wrote "...[it was] a speciality of Nikisch to know the players by name quickly and never make a mistake.  I felt at once that, before he had even begun to conduct, the hearts of the whole of the orchestra had been won..." 82.  Arthur Nikisch died in Leipzig, Germany on January 23, 1922.


1893-1898   Emil Paur




Emil Paur was born August 29, 1855 in Czernowitz, Austria, now called Chernivtsi, and part of the Ukraine where the Ukraine, Romania, and Slovakia come together. Paur studied at the Vienna Conservatory at the same time as his contemporaries Arthur Nikisch (1855-1922) and Felix Mottl (1856-1911). After graduation from the Conservatory, Paur played violin in the Wiener Hofoper (Vienna State Opera) in about 1874 135.  In the classic German way of developing conducting skills, Emil Paur was chief conductor in a succession of German regional opera houses: Kassel (1876-1980), Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia), Mannheim (1800), and Leipzig (1889).  The career of Emil Paur seemed frequently to have followed that of Arthur Nikisch.   Paur followed Nikisch as Music Director of the Leipzig Stadttheater opera in 1889.  In October, 1893, Emil Paur followed Arthur Nikisch to became the fourth Music Director of the Boston Symphony where he stayed for 5 seasons.  Paur brought his wife, the pianist Marie Burger (1862-1899), who died just after the conclusion of Paur's Boston term.  Paur is said to have conducted less romantically (less variations of tempi, etc.) than Nikisch or Seidl, but to have been more intense, with "force and weight" the frequent description.  Paur was also an advocate of the music of Johannes Brahms and Richard Strauss. 


In his last two seasons of five in Boston, Paur was regularly rumored to be replaced.  This finally occurred at the end of the 1897-1898, after Wilhelm Gericke agreed to return to Boston.  Paur continued to have a U.S. career after leaving the Boston Symphony.  Following the Boston 1897-1898 season, Paur was then Music Director of the New York Philharmonic 1898-1902.  In New York Paur programmed at least one symphony by Brahms every season, and at least one work by Richard Strauss from 1900-1902.  However, in the 1903-1904 season, Richard Strauss himself was a guest conductor of the Philharmonic.  In 1901-1902, Emil Paur also conducted a touring orchestra called the 'Paur Symphony Orchestra' touring western states.  Then, beginning in 1904, Emil Paur led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for six seasons, 1904-1910.  There was some complaint of Paur in Pittsburgh, since his programs were of an uncompromisingly high symphonic level, whereas his predecessor, Victor Herbert, provided the audience with a mixture including what we now call "pops".  After returning to Germany in 1910, Emil Paur went on to conduct the Berlin State Opera.  In September, 1912, Paur succeeded Karl Muck as Music Director of the Berlin Royal Opera (or Königliche Kapelle), after 1919 named "Staatsoper Berlin".  Then Karl Muck sailed for Boston to take up his second Music Director period with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Emil Paur died on June 7, 1932 in Frydek-Mistek, in what is today the Czech Republic.



           Max Fiedler                     Karl Muck                     Emil Paur


1906-1908, 1912-1918  Karl Muck



    Karl Muck and the Boston Symphony Orchestra 1914 - Boston Symphony Archives


In 1917, the Boston Symphony Orchestra makes its first recordings under Karl Muck.

As described elsewhere in this website ( 1917 - first Victor Acoustic recordings of Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra ), in 1917, the Boston Symphony Orchestra was the first major orchestra to record for the Victor Talking Machine Company.  Victor then was the leading phonograph and phonograph recording company in the U.S. and probably in the world.  It soon also soon owned 50% of its nearest world rival, when on December 5, 1920 had purchased half of the shares of the Gramophone Company.  (Described elsewhere on this website: Licensing the Westrex Electrical Recording System to Victor and Columbia ).  Until 1917, Victor had not successfully recorded a full symphony orchestra, nor did they have the recording location to do so.  Then, with the construction of the Eighth Floor Auditorium of the Victor headquarters, the "Victor New Office Building no 2" in 1917, Victor finally had a suitable recording location for a full symphony orchestra.  (Read about this by clicking on 1917 - First Victor Acoustic Recordings).  This led on October 2, 3, 4 and 5, 1917 to Victor's first full orchestral recordings.  These were of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Karl Muck directing.  These recordings were followed on October 22, 1917 by the first recordings of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski.




From the surviving recordings and contemporary comment, it is clear that Karl Muck was one of the great conductors of the Boston Symphony.  His career in Boston unfortunately came to a sad end, as described below.



Karl Muck Arrested and Interned

On March 26, 1918, Karl Muck was arrested and subsequently interned as an "enemy alien".  Before the arrest, there had been something of an ongoing furor in the press during the previous six months as to whether or not Muck and the Boston Symphony Orchestra would play the Star-Spangled Banner prior to certain concerts (which they did not).  This seemingly trivial incident needs to be considered in the context of war fever, and the anti-German sentiments in the US at that time in World War 1.  Muck's detailed love letters to an aspiring Boston soprano may have further complicated his treatment.  In any case, Karl Muck was arrested on March 26, 1918, and Ernst Schmidt was selected to become the temporary conductor for the remainder of the season.  Ernst Schmidt was a first violin of the Boston Symphony for four seasons 1914-1918 and he was conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1915 summer Pops season.  He was also an active composer whose chamber works were somewhat popular in the early twentieth century.  Ernst Schmidt conducted the Boston Symphony concerts of March 29, April 5 and 6, April 12, 13 and the 1918 Boston Symphony Pension Fund Concert of April 14, April 19 and 20, April 26 and 17, and the final season concerts of May 3 and 4, 1918.  Ernst Schmidt left the Boston Symphony at the end of the 1917-1918 season to return to Europe.


1908-1912   August Max Fiedler




Max Fiedler was born in Zittau, Saxony, Germany (near the current Czech and Polish boarders) December 31, 1859, where his father was Musikdirektor.  Max's brother Hermann Fiedler (1862-1945) and sister Elise Fiedler were scholars who moved to England to university teaching. Hermann Fiedler became Head of the German German Department of Oxford University 33. Max Fiedler studied piano and conducting at Leipzig and then beginning in 1882 at the Hamburg Conservatory.  Max Fiedler made his first appearance with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1897.  He conducted the Hamburg Philharmonic 1904-1908.  In 1905, Fiedler was the first German conductor to guest at the Augusteo Orchestra of Rome 32.  He made his U.S. premier with the New York Philharmonic Society in December, 1905 30, and the London Symphony Orchestra in June, 1907 30.   This led to his invitation to conduct the Boston Symphony, it was widely said at the recommendation of Karl Muck.  Incidentally, Max Fiedler was not a relation to Arthur Fiedler, the later Boston Pops conductor.  Unlike his predecessors, Fiedler's conducting experience was orchestral, not with the opera.  In Boston, Fiedler programmed contemporary music, such as Richard Strauss (1864-1949), Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936), Claude Debussy (1862-1918), Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) and Frederick Delius (1862-1934), as well as the austro-germanic core repertoire.  Fiedler and the Boston Symphony were also the first to perform the Bruckner Symphony no 8 in the U.S. in March, 1909 34.  However, not all critics were favorable to Fiedler in Boston.  "...Fiedler was selected because of his warm personal friendship with Dr. Muck and as a result of the latter's suggestion. Friendship, however, is no mark of merit..." 31.  Observers said that Fiedler introduced marked accelerations and extremes of tempo in a way, some critics felt, not as called for by the score.  This may have resemblances to what some feel to be the mannered interpretations of Willem Mengelberg.  Fiedler, according to more than one source also had the reputation as being something of a "martinet" with orchestras.  After Boston, Fiedler returned to Germany, where he became Music Director of the Essen Orchestra 1916-1933 29. Max Fiedler also continued to teach, including in Cologne, and among his students was Einar Hansen, future first violin with the BSO 1926-1965.  Max Fiedler continued to conduct a number of German Orchestras and make recordings well into the period of the Third Reich.  Max Fiedler died in Stockholm, Sweden December 1, 1939.


1918-1919   Henri Rabaud 



Henri Rabaud was born in Paris on November 10, 1873.  Rabaud came from a family of musicians.  His grandfather was Vincent-Joseph Dorus (1812-1896), a well-know flutist, and his father was the cellist Hippolyte François Rabaud (1839-1900) who was cello professor at the Paris Conservatoire. Henri Rabaud's mother, a singer, created the role of Marguerite in Gounod's Faust.  Henri Rabaud in his turn entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1891, where he studied composition with Jules Massenet and André Gedalge, among others.  Rabaud said that the music of Wagner left him indifferent, but Rabaud's own compositions are said to be Wagnerian.   From 1908-1914, Rabaud was conductor of the orchestra of the Paris Opéra and 1914-1918, he was Music Director of that group.  With the removal of Karl Muck in March, 1918, Boston scrambled to find a new conductor.  Only in September, 1918 could Henri Rabaud be announced.  Nor could Rabaud arrive in time for the opening concerts in October 1918, which were led by Pierre Monteux (at that time conducting at the Metropolitan Opera), with piano soloist Josef Hofmann 55, as shown in the announcement photograph, below.  Henri Rabaud was principal conductor of the Boston Symphony for one season, 1918-1919, and was not reengaged for the following season.  Rabaud returned to France in the summer of 1919.   Following the resignation in 1922 of Gabriel Fauré as director of the Paris Conservatoire, Henri Rabaud succeeded him as director position, a position Rabaud held until 1941.  In 1940 and 1941, although not required by the authorities 1, Rabaud asked political guidance from the German ambassador.  Rabaud then excluded, first the Jewish background professors from the Conservatoire, and later, the Jewish musical students.  Rabaud also participated in the Vichy government's Comité professionnel de l'art musical, a French organization which was modeled after the Nazi regime's "Music Organization of the Reich".   After the withdrawal of the Nazis from France in 1944, Rabaud took actions to insulate himself from charges of collaboration, and nothing further was said.  Henri Rabaud died in suburban Paris (Neuilly) on September 11, 1949 at age 75.


The effect of Henri Rabaud on the Boston Symphony Orchestra was assessed by William Henderson, music critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"Mr. Rabaud's chief reason for not staying in Boston was said to be his desire to devote himself to composition. But there is not denying the fact that the Boston season has not been a brilliant one. The series of concerts given in Philadelphia this season are positive proof of this. Things were not in a very homogeneous state when Mr. Monteux arrived to take over the organization. Nevertheless, his concert here was one of the best of the series. Very much the best of the series however was the one in December which was the first time Mr. Rabaud appeared in this city as a conductor. The orchestra at this concert showed a mental state entirely different from that which it had shown since the forced retirement of Doctor Muck. It looked as though Mr. Rabaud would be able to get the organization into something like its former self. The suceeding concerts however dispelled this idea. There was very apparent friction in the orchestra which played carelessly and with a lack of discipline which would not have been tolerated for a moment under the former leaders. The writer at one of the later concerts saw one of the violinists stop playing for no apparent reason, lay his violin on his lap and deliberately talk to his seatmate for a space of not less than a minute, before he resumed playing, although the instruments of his section were busy at the time. This was only one of a number of incidents." 242


1919-1924  Pierre Monteux



Henri Rabaud and Pierre Monteux in a 1918 Boston Symphony announcement of the appointment of Henri Ribaud as BSO conductor, and that Metropolitan Opera conductor Pierre Monteux would begin the 1918-1919 Boston season, awaiting the later arrival of Ribaud


Pierre Monteux was born April 4, 1875 in the ninth arrondissement of Paris.  He studied violin from youth, and gained admittance to the Paris Conservatoire in 1884 at the age of nine.  While at the Conservatoire, he played violin at the Folies Bergères to aid his finances.  At the Conservatoire, Monteux's violin skills were sufficient that he shared the Conservatoire 1896 violin prize with Jacques Thibaud (1880-1953). Monteux then took up the viola, studying with Theophile Laforge (1863-1918), professor of viola at the Paris Conservatoire.  While at the Conservatoire and after, Monteux was Principal viola of the Concerts Colonne, 1893-1912, under édouard Colonne.  Although he also conducted occasionally at the Concerts Colonne, édouard Colonne did not support or encourage Monteux in this activity.  In the early 1900s, Monteux was solo (Principal) viola of the orchestra of the Paris Opéra-Comique (a position that Boston viola Jean Lefranc was to hold a decade later).  From 1902-1910, during the summer season, Monteux was first a violinist/violist and later the conductor of the Dieppe casino orchestra, a Normandy seaside resort.  This Summer experience was perhaps something like the conducting training experienced gained in regional theaters by beginning conductors in Germany.  In 1911, Monteux became conductor of the Sergei Diaghilev Ballets russes ballet company, which gained Monteux his first wider conducting recognition.  Monteux conducted the premières of Stravinsky's Petrushka in June, 1911 and his Sacre du Printemps in May, 1913.  This latter was the performance which has gone down in concert legend for its riot by some parts of an angry Paris audience.  Monteux also conducted the premieres of the Debussy Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un faune in May, 1912 and of the Ravel Daphnis et Chloé in June, 1912 and the Debussy Jeux in 1913.  Quite a string of premieres of the first rank, thanks in part to the discernment and commissioning of these works by Sergei Diaghilev.  Monteux then conducted at L'Opéra de Paris 1913-1914.  At the outbreak of World War 1, Monteux was inducted into the French army, but upon discharge in 1916, he was briefly a conductor at Le Théâtre de l'Odéon.  Then, in the spring of 1916, Monteux was allowed to travel to the U.S. for the 1916-1917 tour of Diaghilev's Ballets russes.  It was consequent to this tour that, from 1917-1919, Monteux was appointed a staff conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, specializing in the French repertoire.  French opera appreciation had grown in New York during the war, as the German operas began to fall out of favor.  In 1919, following the unsuccessful season of Henri Rabaud in Boston, Pierre Monteux became conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  In fact, Monteux had conducted the Boston Symphony during the initial weeks of the 1918-1919 season, because Henri Rabaud had been delayed in his arrival in Boston.  Monteux remained in Boston for five seasons, 1919-1924. 



The Boston Symphony Orchestra Strike of 1920


Although Monteux's conducting was both successful and well-received, the disastrous Boston Symphony Orchestra strike of the 1919-1920 season damaged the remainder of his Boston tenure.  In the 1919-1920 season, the Boston musicians sought to unionize the orchestra and gain wage increases.  The life of an orchestra musician, even of the Boston Symphony, was precarious with a short season, facing difficult summer employment and also being low-paid in that era.  The deadlock between the orchestra musicians and the Board on salary and unionization reached an impasse by March, 1920.  On March 5, 1920, there was a confrontation in which the Concertmaster, Fredric Fradkin, who support the changes, remained in his seat when Pierre Monteux gestured to the Orchestra to rise at the conclusion of their performance of Berlioz's Sinfonie fantastique.  This caused a sensation, and that evening Fradkin was summarily dismissed by the Board.  This led to 32 other musicians leaving the orchestra 75.  12 of these musicians went to the National Symphony Orchestra of New York (later merged with the New York Philharmonic) under Willem Mengelberg, and several to the Detroit Symphony.  With 21 of these lost musicians being in the violin, viola and cello sections, Monteux had a major orchestra rebuilding task  Commentators since have considered that Monteux did a good job rebuilding the orchestra.   However, Monteux's position seems to have also been damaged.  Although Monteux avoided involvement in the strike confrontation, he emerged with his his authority and rapport with the orchestra partially compromised.   Although he continued four more seasons, continuing to rebuild the orchestra, by the end of the 1923-1924 season, the Board felt a new organizing force was needed.  After an extensive search, Serge Koussevitzky was hired from Paris as Monteux's successor 74.   The Boston Symphony did join the musicians union on December 4, 1942. 



Monteux then returned to France where in 1924, he again conducted the Ballets russes.  At that time, he also began a long relationship with the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, sharing conducting seasons with long-time Music Director Willem Mengelberg.  In 1929, Monteux and Alfred Cortot were key in the creation of L'Orchestre symphonique de Paris (not the same as the orchestra created in 1967). 


In the summer of 1935, Monteux conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and the San Francisco Orchestra Board asked him if he would come to San Francisco 31.  This led to the hiring of Pierre Monteux in the autumn of 1935 to resuscitate the remnants of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.  After conducting the first four weeks of the Los Angeles Symphony 1935-1936 season (Klemperer was conducting the New York Philharmonic) 31, Pierre Monteux came to San Francisco the week of September 9, 1935 142 to organize his orchestra.  He had conducted at the Hollywood Bowl during the summer of 1935, to be followed by concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in December.  During the latter part of 1935, Monteux was auditioning and selecting musicians to reconstitute the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.   At that time, the SFSO season did not actually start until January, since each Autumn, the San Francisco musicians played in the San Francisco Opera, which also occupied the War Memorial Hall, and the opera season did not conclude until end December 32.   Monteux's first rehearsal with his new orchestra was on Tuesday December 31, 1935 53. This was two days after his final concert of the season with the Los Angeles Philharmonic 143.  Monteux's initial concert pair of his first 1935-1936 season was on Friday afternoon January 10 and Saturday evening January 11, 1936 140.  Monteux's success, and his active recording schedule with the San Francisco Symphony allowed it to thrive economically, and extend its season.  From the ten subscription concert pairs of the 1935-1936 season, by 1937-1938, the San Francisco Symphony season had expanded to twelve concert pairs of subscription concerts 31.  (By 1948, Monteux had moved the beginning of the SFSO season back to November.) 


Monteux's musicianship and greatness was unquestioned, although some thought that Monteux did not always demand the best.  Toscanini, for example always drove himself and his musicians to seek the best at every concert.  Monteux was thought by some sometimes to accept less.  Monteux became a U.S. citizen in 1942, and thereafter based his career in North America.  His later life was centered in guest conducting, including the Boston Symphony (after Koussevitzky had retired), and the Concertgebouw Orchestra, as well as the London Symphony Orchestra.  in 1943, Monteux founded his conducting school near his Summer home in Hancock, Maine, where a number of famous conductors (Lorin Maazel, Neville Marriner, Andre Previn) had at least part of their training.  Monteux died July 1, 1964 in Hancock, Maine at age 89.


1924-1949  Serge Koussevitzky



Serge Koussevitzky (sometimes transliterated as Sergei Koussevitski) was born in Vyshny Volochyok, 240 km northwest of Moscow on July 26, 1874.  His poor Jewish parents were both musicians, and Koussevitzky learned violin and cello from an early age.  In 1888, Koussevitzky won a full scholarship to the Music and Drama Institute run by the Moscow Philharmonic to study double bass.  Koussevitzky was a virtuoso bass player and joined the Bolshoi Theater orchestra in 1894, where he stayed until 1905, moving to Principal bass of the Bolshoi in 1901.  He married his first wife, Nadezhda Galat, a Bolshoi ballerina, in 1902. In 1905, Koussevitzky divorced Galat in order to marry Natalya Ushkov, daughter of a wealthy Russian tea merchant.  With his wife's wealth, Koussevitzky was able to move to Berlin to study conducting.  According to Norman Lebrecht in his gossipy (but fun) book The Maestro Myth, Koussevitzky was " take conducting lessons from Nikisch, whose gambling debts he paid off with his dowry.  For his wedding present, Natalie asked her father to to buy Serge an orchestra ..." 53.  Somewhat like the wealthy Sir Thomas Beecham in the early years of learning conducting, Koussevitzky used his great wealth to hire complete orchestras.  In 1908, Koussevitzky made his conducting debut by hiring the Berlin Philharmonic (!)  In 1909, Koussevitzky also founded a music publishing house, Editions Russes de Musique  in Berlin, dedicated to new Russian music.  In 1909, Koussevitzky formed his own orchestra in Moscow.  During 1909-1920, Koussevitzky toured as a bass virtuoso and also conducted his orchestra.  Koussevitzky had a flair for publicity and became famous across Europe.  Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Koussevitzky was appointed conductor of what became in 1918, the State Philharmonic Orchestra of Petrograd, predecessor of the Leningrad Philharmonic (and now the St. Petersburg Philharmonic).  In 1920, Koussevitzky left Russia for Paris, where he began a new orchestral series called Concerts Koussevitzky.  In 1923, the Boston Symphony, searching for a successor to Pierre Monteux, offered Koussevitzky a three year contract, beginning with the 1924-1925 Boston season.  Koussevitzky accepted, moving to Boston, where he would live the rest of his life.



Beginning with the 1924-1925 season, Koussevitzky was director of the Boston Symphony for 25 seasons, 1924-1949, and brought the Boston Symphony Orchestra to a new level of international fame, with consistent excellence.  Koussevitzky also provided the musicians with a new level of income security by expanding the season.  Beginning in 1936, Koussevitzky further expanded the orchestra's activity with the Tanglewood Festival during summers.  The Tanglewood Music Festival had its beginnings in 1936 when Koussevitzky brought the orchestra to the Tanglewood estate for a series of concerts.  In 1940, Koussevitzky started what became known as the Tanglewood Music Center, an educational experience held each summer for promising young musicians, with master classes and multiple performance opportunities.  During his tenure in Boston, Koussevitzky was a leading advocate of new music, commissioning a long list of now-famous works.  Koussevitzky founded the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in 1942 to commission and promote new music.  Koussevitzky's many commissions, such as the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra (1943), Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes (1944-1945), Aaron Copland's Symphony no 3 (1944-1946), Arnold Schoenberg's Survivor from Warsaw (1947), and others.  One controversial aspect of Koussevitzky's art was his use of a pianist (usually Jesús María Sanromá) or even the full orchestra, to play new scores, so that he could hear and master them.  Most other conductors study the scores directly, but a facility to hear the music from reading the score was apparently was not a gift granted Koussevitzky (but of course he could read a symphonic score).  Yet, Koussevitzky was an inspired performer, one of the greats of a great age, as still shown by his recorded legacy.  Koussevitzky also had a broad repertoire, including an open attitude to contemporary music. 


Aaron Copeland, Leonard Bernstein, Serge Koussevitzky at Tanglewood in 1940   photo: Ruth Orkin


As a conductor, Koussevitzky made relatively fewer alterations to the composer's score, unlike, for example, Stokowski or Mengelberg.  During his tenure, Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony made a long series of very successful 78 RPM recordings which are still enjoyed today on CD.  Serge Koussevitzky made a long-lasting impact on the Boston Symphony.  Harry Ellis Dickson in his book Gentlemen, More Dolce, Please noted:


"...It is now more than twenty-five years since Serge Koussevitzky retired as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, after having served for a quarter of a century. Inevitable changes have taken place in our orchestra since then...yet the spirit of Koussevitzky still hovers over the orchestra." 62 


Serge Koussevitzky retired from the Boston Symphony at the end of the 1948-1949 season after twenty-five seasons as Music Director, and died in Boston two years later, on June 4, 1951, age 76.


1949-1962   Charles Munch

Munch 1947

  Charles Munch in 1947


Charles Munch was born Charles Münch in Strasbourg, France on September 26, 1891 (when the region was still under control of Germany).  From an early age, he studied violin under his organist father, Ernest Münch (1859-1928).  Charles Munch entered the Strasbourg Conservatoire 1905-1912, where his father also taught.  Munch then studied with the great violinist Carl Flesch in Berlin and with Lucien Capet at the Paris Conservatoire.  During World War 1, Munch was first conscripted into the German army, but in 1918, he became a French citizen.  From 1919-1925, Munch taught violin at the Strasbourg Conservatoire, and was assistant Concertmaster of the Strasbourg orchestra.  Munch then moved to the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra as Concertmaster 1925-1932, first under Wilhelm Furtwängler and then beginning in 1929 under Bruno Walter. While in Leipzig, Munch also taught violin at the Leipzig Conservatory.  While in Leipzig, Charles Munch studied conducting, in part with the Czech musician Fritz Zweig (1893-1984, conductor at the Kroll Opera, who later ended up in Hollywood).   Charles Munch returned to Paris and on November 1, 1932, he made his conducting debut with the Orchestre des Concerts Straram.  The orchestra and the hall of Théâtre des Champs Elysées were hired by his fiancé Geneviève Maury, an heiress to the Nestlé chocolate fortune.  So, like Koussevitzky, Munch got his start in conducting by having the fortune to hire an entire orchestra and hall for his debut.  Munch then conducted a series of French Orchestras: in 1933, l'Orchestre Lamoureux (Albert Wolff 1884-1970 was then Music Director), l'Orchestre Symphonique de Paris (in 1934, following Pierre Monteux), Société Philharmonique de Paris (1935-1938), while at the same time teaching at l'Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris.  Charles Munch then became Music Director of l'Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire during 1938-1946, including through World War 2.  From 1946-1949, Charles Munch traveled widely as a guest conductor, particularly in the U.S.  In the 1947-1948 season, Charles Munch was in the competition, along with Dimitri Mitropoulos and Leopold Stokowski to become Music Director of the New York Philharmonic 190.  Instead of New York, in 1948, Charles Munch was designated to become Serge Koussevitzky's successor as Music Director of the Boston Symphony in the In the 1949-1950 season. 


BSO 1950s

Charles Munch with the Boston Symphony in mid-1950s.  photo: Boston Symphony archives


Charles Munch remained in Boston for 13 seasons.  Munch also lead the symphony in four major tours.  In 1953, Charles Munch led the Boston Symphony on its first transcontinental tour of the US.  In 1952 and 1956, he led European tours.  In the 1956 European tour, the Boston Symphony was led by Munch and Monteux, and under Munch, the BSO was the first American orchestra to perform in the Soviet Union.  In 1960, Munch lead the Boston Symphony on an extensive (and reportedly exhausting) tour of Japan, East Asia and Australia.



Charles Munch was regarded by many BSO musicians as a protector of their interests, and was both liked and respected.  At the end of the 1961-1962 season Charles Munch left the Boston Symphony and passed to a guest conductor phase of his career.  He returned to France where in 1963 he became director of l'école Normale de Musique, where he had taught 30 years earlier.  In 1967, Charles Munch was prevailed upon to become Music Director of the newly formed l'Orchestre de Paris.  In 1968, he took the orchestra on a tour of North America, during which Charles Munch died on November 6, 1968 of a heart attack in his hotel room in Richmond, Virginia.


1962-1969   Erich Leinsdorf



Erich Leinsdorf (right) with Richard Mohr, recording producer at one of many RCA Victor - Boston Symphony recoding sessions in the 1960s


Erich Leinsdorf was born Erich J. Landauer in Vienna, Austria on February 4, 1912. Leinsdorf studied piano, cello and conducting at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, followed by the University of Vienna and the Vienna Conservatory. At the Salzburg Festival, 1934-1938, Leinsdorf was conducting assistant first to Bruno Walter and then Arturo Toscanini. Leinsdorf's ability to sight read scores at the piano, his memory, and his Italian language skills were advantages at Salzburg, and Toscanini became something of a mentor to Leinsdorf.  During these years, Leinsdorf also conducted opera Italy, in Bologna, Trieste, Florence, and San Remo.  In 1938, Leinsdorf left Vienna and Europe because of the rise of the Nazi influence and went to New York.  At the recommendation of Lotte Lehmann to Artur Bodanzky 55, Leinsdorf joined the Metropolitan Opera in the 1938-1939 season. Beginning in the 1939-1940 season, following the death or Artur Bodanzky, Erich Leinsdorf was named principal MET conductor of the German repertory, which gave Leinsdorf's career an immediate boost during 1939-1942.  Leinsdorf found the Metropolitan Opera progressively more frustrating, with the few rehearsals and the negative atmosphere of opera house politics.  In 1942 in a controversial selection process in which candidates George Szell and Vladimir Golschmann were turned down 54, Erich Leinsdorf was named Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra. Leinsdorf happily departed from the MET, but he was unlucky at Cleveland.   First, in the 1942-1943 season, with the US entering World War 2, Cleveland lost 22 musicians, whom Leinsdorf needed to replace.  One of Leinsdorf's hires was George Goslee, Principal bassoon, who remained with the orchestra for 44 seasons.  Then, Leinsdorf himself was drafted into the U.S. Army 1943-1945, and so was not able to make his mark in Cleveland.  Leinsdorf received his Army discharge in September, 1944.  Meanwhile, the 1944-1945 Cleveland Orchestra season had already been programmed with guest conductors including George Szell who had very successful series of November 1944 concerts.  The 1945-1946 Cleveland season became a horserace between Leinsdorf, Szell, and Vladimir Golschmann as to who would become permanent Music Director.  Szell made a strong impression on Cleveland that season, and Erich Leinsdorf gradually lost our to Szell.  This may have seemed the destiny of George Szell, who continued with 24 seasons of greatness with the Cleveland Orchestra.  Leinsdorf then went on to the Rochester Philharmonic, where he was Music Director for eight seasons, 1947-1955.  Then, after a brief period at the New York City Opera, Leinsdorf returned as a leading conductor of the Metropolitan Opera during 1957-1962. 




Erich Leinsdorf was appointed Music Director of the Boston Symphony in the 1962-1963 season.  During his seven seasons with the BSO until 1969, Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony made many recordings for RCA Victor, including an excellent series of Prokofiev symphonies and concerti.  1978-1980, Erich Leinsdorf was conductor of the Berlin Radio Orchestra.   After the departure of Lorin Maazel from his stormy Cleveland tenure in 1982, Erich Leinsdorf returned to Cleveland frequently to provide continuity prior to the arrival of Christoph von Dohnányi in the 1984-1985 season.  Erich Leinsdorf in his last years divided his residence among Sarasota, Florida, Zurich, Switzerland, and New York.  Erich Leinsdorf died in a Zurich hospital, suffering from cancer on September 11, 1993.  His musical erudition and generous personality gained respect, and during his most inspired performances, particularly in the opera house, he was often the equal of any of his contemporaries.


1969-1972   William Steinberg




William Steinberg was born Hans Wilhelm Steinberg in Cologne, Germany on August 1, 1899.  During World War 1, Steinberg was in a German military band, playing the horn.  1918-1920 Steinberg studied at the Cologne Conservatory, where in 1920, he won the Heinz Wülner conducting prize.  In the 1920s, Steinberg followed the classic German path for the training of a conductor: a series of provincial opera posts.  First was the Cologne Opera, where in 1920, Steinberg was appointed Otto Klemperer's conducting assistant.  When Klemperer left Cologne in 1924, Steinberg was appointed his successor.  Cologne was followed in 1925-1929 by 4 years in Czechoslovakia at the Prague State Opera (the German opera in Prague).  While there, Steinberg made his first recording in 1928 for Columbia with Bronislaw Huberman of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra, a famous recording, never out of circulation until today.  After Prague, Steinberg then graduated to one of the first-ranked German opera companies, the Frankfurt Opera from 1929-1933.  In 1933, following the accession to power of the Nazi government, Steinberg was excluded from conducting groups other than of Jewish musicians. Consequently, Steinberg left Germany for Palestine where, with its founder Bronislaw Huberman (1882-1947), William Steinberg began the Palestine Symphony Orchestra in 1936 and was its first Music Director.  On December 26, 1936, the Palestine Symphony gave its first concert with Arturo Toscanini conducting.  Toscanini was impressed by the orchestral preparation done by William Steinberg, and invited Steinberg to become his assistant at the NBC Symphony.  As a result, Steinberg arrived in New York City in 1938 as assistant conductor.  1945-1952, Steinberg was Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic.  This was followed by the position for which Steinberg is likely most remembered: Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 1952-1976.  While still Music Director in Pittsburgh, William Steinberg was appointed Music Director of the Boston Symphony.


Steinberg toured extensively with both the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Boston Symphony.  Pittsburgh toured Europe for an amazing 11 weeks, August 10 to November 1, 1964.  In April, 1971 Steinberg and the BSO also toured Europe.  Then, in 1973 Steinberg and the Pittsburgh Symphony toured Oregon, Alaska and Japan, participating in the 1973 Osaka Music Festival.  Steinberg's tenure at the Boston Symphony was also beneficial to Seiji Ozawa, because Steinberg had no interest in Tanglewood, and left the running of the Tanglewood Music Center to Ozawa and Gunther Schuller 81. At the end of the 1971-1972 season, Steinberg relinquished the Boston Music Director position, as he did the Pittsburgh position at the end of the 1975-1976 season, after 24 seasons as Music Director.  In December, 1977, Steinberg made his last orchestral appearance with the Pittsburgh Symphony.  I found the Steinberg concerts with different orchestras, as well as his Boston and Pittsburgh recordings to be competent, yet basically uninspired, including his Bruckner, for which he was often praised.  However, I would not share the extreme opinion of a friend who claimed that he believed Steinberg must be deaf (probably he was not serious).

Steinberg hearing    Steinberg hearing problem ?  (just joking)


Steinberg was appreciated by his colleagues for his wry sense of humor, including about himself.  William Steinberg died in New York City, six months after his final appearance with the Pittsburgh Symphony.


1972-2002 ("Music Advisor" in 1972-1973)   Seiji Ozawa




Seiji Ozawa was born on September 1, 1935 of Japanese parents in Shenyang (also known as Mukden), in the southern Manchuria portion of China, then under Japanese occupation (called the province "Manchukou" by Japan).  Upon his family's return to Japan in 1944, Ozawa began to study the piano.  Ozawa studied with Hideo Saito (1902-1975), at the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, who encouraged Ozawa interest in conducting.  In 1958, Seiji Ozawa won first prize in conducting at the Toho Gakuen School of Music (where Eiji Oue, later Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra, and Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Music Director of several orchestras also studied).  In 1959 at the International Competition of Orchestra Conductors in Besançon, France, Ozawa won first prize.  The Besançon win caused Charles Munch to invite Ozawa to attend the summer 1960 Berkshire (later Tanglewood) Music Center studies.  While at Tanglewood in 1960 Ozawa won the Koussevitzky Prize for Outstanding Student Conductor.  During the 1960-1961 season, Ozawa studied with Herbert von Karajan in Berlin.  Then, Leonard Bernstein appointed Seiji Ozawa assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic beginning in the 1961-1962 season, and accompanied Bernstein during the Japan tour that year.  Ozawa stayed in New York for 4 seasons, becoming Bernstein's exclusive assistant.  In the summers of 1964 to 1971, Seiji Ozawa was Music Director of Chicago's Ravinia Festival.  For four seasons, 1965-1969, Ozawa was Music Director of the Toronto Symphony.  In 1970, Seiji Ozawa became Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, retaining the post seven seasons 1970-1977, being "Musical Advisor" for the last season.  While still at San Francisco, Ozawa became Artistic Director of the Tanglewood Festival.  Ozawa was then appointed "Music Advisor" of the Boston Symphony in 1972-1973, and then Music Director beginning with the 1973-1974 season, while still being Music Director of the SFSO.   Seiji Ozawa is said to have expressed the objective to pass the forty-three seasons that Eugene Ormandy was Music Director in Philadelphia.  Ozawa did not reach that mark, but with his thirty seasons in Boston (including the Music Advisor season), he surpassed Koussevitzky who served twenty-five seasons.  In 1992, with Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Ozawa founded the Saito Kinen Orchestra of Tokyo in 1992.  In 2002, Ozawa was named Music Director of the Vienna State Opera.  It was announced he would leave his Vienna post at the end of the 2009-2010 season. Although Ozawa's health has been variable (reportedly due to esophageal cancer 109), Seiji Ozawa also continues an active guest conducting program.  Seiji Ozawa throughout his career studied each of his scores intensively, and was regarded by his colleagues as always prepared in-depth.  He also has an excellent musical memory.  His conducting style is clean and transparent.  Ozawa also has a remarkable depth of repertoire, including extended representation of contemporary compositions.


2004-2011   James Levine




James Levine was born June 23, 1943 in that musical city of Cincinnati, Ohio.  His father was a violinist who lead a dance band, and his mother had studied with Martha Graham.  Levine began piano study at age 4 73, and was something of a prodigy.  At age 10, he played the Mendelssohn Second Piano Concerto at a Cincinnati Symphony youth concert.  Also at age 10, Levine began study with Walter Levin, first violin of the LaSalle Quartet, then quartet-in-residence in Cincinnati.  (Walter Levin apparently initially said "the ten-year-old has not been born that I would teach".)  In the summer of 1956, at age 13, Levine studied at Rudolf Serkin's Marlboro Music School in Vermont.  The next summer, in 1957, Levine attended the Aspen Music School in Colorado, where he studied with with pianist Rosina Lhévinne (1880-1976), even though Levine had already settled on conducting as a career.  His relationship with Rosina Lhévinne continued over the next decades.  In 1961, Levine entered the Juilliard School, where he studied conducting with Jean Morel (1903-1975).  James Levine graduated from Juilliard in 1964, just before his twenty-first birthday.  In later years, James Levine said that the three most influential persons on his musical development were Walter Levin, Rosina Lhévinne, and Jean Morel.  Levine thought that Jean Morel was perhaps not one of the great conductors, but a very good teacher of preparation and conducting technique 73.  In 1964-1965 season, Levine studied with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, where he became assistant conductor to Szell 1965-1970.  In 1971, Levine succeeded Seiji Ozawa as Music Director of Chicago's Ravinia Festival.  From 1971-1994, for twenty-three seasons, James Levine was Music Director of the Ravinia Festival each summer, being succeeded in turn by Christoph Eschenbach.  During this period, 1974-1978, Levine was also Music Director of the Cincinnati May Festival in his home town.  Levine made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the summer of 1971, with an acclaimed performance of Tosca, followed by return engagements.  Then, in the 1973-1974 season, Levine was appointed Principal Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera.  Levine was further offered the Music Director position of the Metropolitan Opera by Schuyler Chapin, then General Manager, but with the stipulation that Chapin would reserve artistic decisions, as Sir Rudolf Bing had done 73.  James Levine is said to have considered such an arrangement unworkable.  The situation evolved, including the departure of Chapin.  Then, for the 1976-1977 season, James Levine was appointed Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, a position Levine still holds.  In this position, it can be said that Levine has more total authority at the Metropolitan Opera than even Arturo Toscanini did with Gatti-Casazza from 1908-1915. 


At the MET, Levine has every year improved the working conditions and the quality of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.  Levine gradually added co-Principals in each of the orchestra sections, so as to reduce the heavy weekly work load of the Principal musicians.  This, and the improvement of salaries and conditions allowed the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra to hire the best musicians, and to improve overall performance quality.  With the virtuoso level of his orchestra, Levine also began a regular series of successful concert programs by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.  This was not the first time the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra had given purely orchestral concerts, but it was judged by critics to have achieved a new level of organization and quality in this orchestral series.  James Levine first conducted the Boston Symphony in 1972.  James Levine became the fourteenth Music Director of the Boston Symphony in the 2004-2005 season.  Since his appointment in Boston, Levine suffered health problems, including surgery in 2008 and 2009.  Most serious was lengthy spinal surgery in April, 2010 which lead to his resignation from the symphony in May, 2011. 


James Levine

James Levine conducting from a wheelchair


Following an investigation that ended in March 2018, having "found credible evidence", the Metropolitan Opera terminated its relationship with Levine, for "sexually abusive and harassing conduct" 132 Other such sexual charges followed. The Boston Symphony announced that Levine would never again "be employed or contracted by the BSO at any time in the future." 243  


2014-     Andris Nelsons


  Andris Nelsons - photo: Stu Rosner, Boston Herald


On May 16, 2013, the Boston Symphony announced that Andris Nelsons would become the next Music Director of the Boston Symphony beginning in the 2014-2015 season.  Andris Nelsons was born on November 18, 1978 in Riga, Latvia when it was still a part of the Soviet Union.  During the 2013-2014 Boston season, Nelsons has been the "Music Director Designate".  Nelsons mother and step-father were both musicians, and Nelsons early in his training pursued piano, trumpet and singing.  He then entered the Saint Petersburg Conservatory where he studied conducting with Alexander Titov.  In 2002, Nelsons later studied with Mariss Jansons whom Nelsons considers a mentor.  In 2003, Nelsons became Principal Conductor of the Latvian National Opera, where he continued for four seasons.  In 2006, Nelsons became Chief Conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie of Herford, Germany, where he continued for three seasons.  Beginning in 2008, Andris Nelsons has been the Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.


In the summer of 2010, Andris Nelsons made his debut at the opening of the Bayreuth Festival season with a new production of Lohengrin.  With the City of Birmingham Symphony appointment, Nelsons began a UK engagement which will end (for now) with the 2014-2015 season.  Nelsons' first Boston Symphony engagement was in March 2011 as a last-minute substitute for James Levine at a Carnegie Hall concert.  Andris Nelsons' initial Boston Symphony contract is for five seasons.  The Nelsons - Boston Symphony relationship has begun most positively in the eyes of both the musicians and the public.


A small Boston Symphony conductor joke:  it is said that when Charles Munch conducted any of the Bach Brandenburg Concerti, the musicians backstage referred to him as "a Bach Suite driver".


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The Boston Pops Orchestra and its Conductors


The Boston Pops, or "Boston Popular Concert Series" was a tradition in Boston, founded in 1885.  Called "Music Hall Promenade Concerts" from 1885 to 1900, it was modeled after the London Promenade Concerts (the "Proms") or perhaps the Vienna summer concert gardens of Henry Lee Higginson's youthful experience, with tables and food and drink served to an audience of both lighter and more serious music.  After 1900, it became officially the "Boston Pops". 


Boston Pops

  A Boston Pops concert 1905


These concerts, employing most of the musicians of the Boston Symphony, except the section principals, began just after the end of the BSO orchestral season, typically in May.  For the first seventy years of the Boston Symphony, until year-around employment was achieved, the Pops season supplied welcome added employment for the Boston Symphony Orchestra musicians.


Adolf Neuendorff 1885; 1887-1889


John C. Mullaly 1886


Wilhelm Rietzel 1887


Franz Kneisel 1888


    Franz Kneisel in 1909


Eugen Gurenberg 1891


Timothée Adamowski  1891-1894, 1903-1907



    Timothée Adamowski


Antonio de Novellis 1895


Gustav Strube was born in Ballenstedt in the Hartz Mountains of Germany on March 3, 1867.  Gustave Strube was a first violin of the Boston Symphony 1890-1913.  From 1898 to 1912 he conducted the Boston Pops.  The Boston Globe of April 26, 1903 wrote: "...After five years of most satisfactory and gratifying service by Messrs Max Zach and Gustav Strube as joint conductors [of the Boston Pops] the management has decided to make a change. Mr T. Adamowski, who nine years ago in old Music hall conducted during the most successful season ever known in the 17 years of the 'Pops' has been selected to again wield the baton..." 185



  Strube in 1913


Max Zach 1896-1902, 1906-07


  Zach in 1910


Leo Schulz 1897


Arthur Kautzenbach 1908-1909


André Maquarre 1909-1917


Otto Urack 1912-1914 (along with André Maquarre)



  Otto Urack as Principal cello in 1914 (detail of photo in Boston Symphony Archives)


Clement Lenom 1913-1916


Ernst Schmidt, 1915, who also conducted the Boston Symphony at the end of the 1917-1918 season, after Karl Muck was arrested and interned.


Josef Pasternack 1916 (autumn)


Agide Jacchia 1917-1926


Alfred Casella 1927-1929


Arthur Fiedler 1930-1979


John Williams 1980-1993; Laureate Conductor, 1994-present


Keith Lockhart 1995-present


Boston Symphony Chamber Players


Following the end of each regular Boston Symphony season, there are eight weeks of Boston Pops concerts to keep the orchestra's salaries coming, prior to the beginning of the Tanglewood season.  However, since the Boston Symphony Principal musicians do not usually play with the Pops, these Principals previously had an open two months.  This changed in 1964, when Erich Leinsdorf and Joseph Silverstein organized the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.  In this group, twelve of the Boston Symphony first chair musicians make up a highly effective chamber music ensemble.  This also gives the Principal musicians of the BSO employment during the Boston Pops holiday season.


The Boston Symphony Chamber Players have proved a highly successful group, touring in the U.S. and internationally, with an innovative and varied repertoire, and reportedly an inspirational break from a steady diet of orchestral music for the first chair players.




Boston Symphony Chamber Players in 1964 Boston Symphony Archives

seated: Doriot Anthony Dwyer, flute, Joseph Silverstein, violin, Burton Fine, viola, Jules Eskin, cello

standing: Ralph Gomberg, oboe, Harold "Buddy" Wright, clarinet, Charles Kavalovski, horn, Armando Ghitalla, trumpet, Ronald Barron, trombone, Everett J. "Vic" Firth, percussion, Sherman Walt, bassoon, Edwin Barker, bass.


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Boston Symphony Orchestra String Section heads 1913-1914 season



Boston Symphony Orchestra leaders of string sections 1913-1914 season

seated: Heinrich Warnke, cello, Anton Witek, Concertmaster, Emile Férir, viola, Alfred Holy (Holý), harp

standing: Max Kunze, bass, Sylvain Noack, second Concertmaster, Walther Habenicht, second violin


Titles of First Chair Musicians


Note:  Today, except for the Concertmaster (sometimes called the "Leader" in Europe), the usual title for the first or leading instrument of an orchestral section is "Principal", as in "Principal Flute".  However, in earlier years and in some orchestra sections, the first chair musician may have been referred to as "Solo", or "First", as in "solo trumpet". 


In the profiles below, for consistency and clarity, I usually use the title "Principal", even if the title was not yet used at that time.


Boston Symphony Orchestra Concertmasters


1881-1885    Bernard (or Bernhard) Listemann




Bernard Friedrich Wilhelm Listemann was born in Schlotheim, Germany (in the Thuringia region, 60 km west of Leipzig) on August 28, 1841.  He began studies in Sonderhaven, Germany at an early age with with his uncle, the Concertmaster, Ullrich Listemann 194.  Bernard Listemann's older brother, Frederick or "Fritz" (1839-1909) and brother Paul Listemann were also violinists who emigrated with Bernard to the USA in 1867.  Bernard Listemann studied under some of the most famous violin teachers of the nineteenth century:  Ferdinand David in Leipzig, Henri Vieuxtemps in Frankfurt and Joseph Joachim in Hanover194.  In 1856, age only 15, Bernard Listemann played in the first violin section of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra 88.  In 1858, Bernard Listemann was appointed Concertmaster of the Court Orchestra of Rudolstadt in Thuringia 88.  He was also a musician for in the court of the Prince Frederick Günther of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt in central Germany194.  Bernard and Fritz Listemann came to the U.S. in 1867.  In 1871, Bernard became Concertmaster of the Theodore Thomas Orchestra, a touring orchestra organized by Theodore Thomas and based in New York City.  Bernard Listemann continued with the Thomas orchestra until the 1874.  Brother Fritz Listemann also joined the Theodore Thomas Orchestra as a first violinist.  Then in 1875, Bernard Listemann became Concertmaster, and in 1880 conductor of the Philharmonic Club of Boston, a semi-professional orchestra organized before the Boston Symphony Orchestra  23


Philharmonic Club

The Boston Philharmonic Club, Bernard Listemann first, Fritz Listemann second, Adolf Belz horn, Adolf Hartdegen cello, Alexander Freygang harp, Eugene Weiner flute


The Philharmonic Club and the Harvard Musical Association were the two primary symphonic groups, along with the Handel & Haydn Society Orchestra prior to the organization of the Boston Symphony.  Fritz Listemann played violin in the Philharmonic Club orchestra.  In the 1870s, Bernard Listemann also organized and conducted other orchestral groups in Boston.  One such group was the Listemann Concert Company, modeled after the Theodore Thomas touring orchestra.  However, none of the Listemann groups survived.


This activity led to Bernard Listemann becoming the first Concertmaster of the newly formed Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1881.  Fritz Listemann similarly joined the Boston Symphony from 1881-1885.  Wilhelm Gericke then became Music Director of the Boston Symphony in 1884.  In the summer of 1885 between his first and second seasons, Gericke in Europe is said to have hired some 20 new orchestral musicians for the Boston Symphony.  This led to important changes in the Orchestra, including the replacement of Bernard Listemann by Franz Kneisel, as well as the replacement of Fritz Listemann among the first violins 26.  In 1893, Bernard Listemann relocated to Chicago, where he became head of the violin department at the Chicago School of Music 89. After relocating to Chicago, in the 1890s Bernard Listemann also organized the Listemann String Quartet (or Quartette as it was often called in that era), consisting of Bernard Listemann first, Bruno Kuehn second, Eugene Boegner (1870- ) viola, and Bruno Steindel, cello.  Kuehn, Boegner, and Steindel were all musicians in the Chicago Orchestra at the time.  Later, the composition of the Listemann String Quartette was Bernard Listemann first, Harold Knapp second, Hugo Frey viola, Franz Wagner cello 184.  Bernard Listemann continued to head the violin curriculum at the Chicago School from 1893-1911, after which time he retired.  Bernard Listemann died in Chicago February 11, 1917, age 75.


1885-1903   Franz Kneisel and the Kneisel Quartet


Kneisel Quartet

  Two Views of the Kneisel Quartet circa 1906 on left, circa 1917 on right

1906 Quartet: Franz Kneisel at left,  Alwin Schroeder, cello, Louis Svecenski viola and Julius Theodorowicz, second violin

1917 Quartet: Franz Kneisel at left,  Willem Willeke, cello, Louis Svecenski, viola and Hans Letz, second violin


(Click here to see a picture of the Kneisel Quartet in 1913)


Franz Kneisel was born in Bucharest, Romania January 26, 1865 of a Rumanian father and French mother.  He studied with Jakob Grün (famous teacher born 1837) at the Vienna Conservatory.  In 1883, Kneisel became Concertmaster of the Bilse Orchestra of Berlin.  Then Kneisel emigrated to the U.S. in September, 1885 to become Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony under Gericke and Nikisch, and to form the Kneisel String Quartet, one of the most famous quartets of its time, a decade before the Flonzaley Quartet.  The initial members of the Kneisel Quartet from 1885-1887 were Franz Kneisel first, Emanuel Fiedler second, Louis Svecenski viola and Fritz Giese cello.  Louis Svecenski remained viola during the career of the Kneisel Quartet, but Fritz Giese was eventually dropped due to his unfortunate alcoholism, from which he died at age only 37 157.  The Kneisel Quartet from 1885-1917 pioneered the appreciation in the United States of the rich literature of the string quartet, including not only a full variety of contemporary composers, but also of Beethoven and Haydn.  The Kneisel Quartet also made at least one recording for Columbia (Columbia 47138) in 1917 56.  There is an interesting story that Louis Svecenski, violist for more than 20 years in the quartet would ask, when he heard complements about a particular string quartet in a work of romantic or contemporary music: "Yes, but how was their Haydn ?"   Franz Kneisel resigned from the Boston Symphony at the end of the 1902-1903 season so as to devote himself full time to the Kneisel Quartet which traveled to all parts of the U.S.  In 1896, the Kneisel Quartet toured England.  The Kneisel Quartet was playing the Debussy quartet only ten years after its composition, and also played the George W. Chadwick Quartet in 1902 in support of American music.  In 1905, Franz Kneisel became head of the String Department at the Institute of Musical Art (later Juilliard).  In 1917, Kneisel disbanded his quartet so as to devote all his time to teaching.  As a string teacher, Franz Kneisel said that his teaching was devoted to " violinists to be musicians rather than virtuosos..." 146.  After a rich career equally important as a performer and as a teacher, Franz Kneisel died in New York City on Mach 26, 1926.


1903-1904   Enrique Fernández Arbós

Arbos quartet   Famous joke picture of Arbós Quartet (Arbós on left) in 1887


Enrique Fernández Arbós was born in Madrid December 24, 1863.  He studied at the Madrid Conservatoire under the great Spanish teacher, Jesus de Monasterio (1836-1903).  Arbós then studied violin in Brussels under Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881), and composition under François-Auguste Gevaert (1828-1908). He then moved to Berlin to study with Joachim for 3 years. Arbós was also Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, and spent five years in Germany. In the late 1880s, he taught violin at the Hamburg Conservatory. In about 1890, he returned to the Madrid Conservatoire to teach violin.  Then, he moved to London to teach at the Royal College of Music 1894 - 1916.  During this period in England, he also toured with the singers Edward Lloyd (1845-1927) and Charles Santley (1834-1922). When he moved to Boston to become Concertmaster for the 1903-1904 season, he continued his chamber music activities.  In Boston in 1903 he performed the Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio with Harold Bauer, piano and Rudolf_Krasselt, cello.  At the end of the Boston 1903-1904 season, Arbós moved back to Spain and became principal conductor of the Orchestra of the Gran Casino of San Sebastián.  Then in 1905, Arbós moved back to London, where he founded the 'Concert Club' which premiered many new works, including those of Frank Bridge (Benjamin Britten's teacher), with whom Arbós also formed a String Quartet, with Arbós as first violin and Bridge as second.  In 1914 Arbós moved back to Spain to settle finally.  In Madrid he created a string quartet with Julio Francés, Juan Ruiz Cassaux, and José Vianna do Motta.  Enrique Fernández Arbós was the long-time conductor of the Madrid Symphony Orchestra 1904-1938.  As well as being a composer of orchestral works and a comic opera, Enrique Arbós is remembered for his orchestrations sections of Albéniz's Iberia, which he did at Albéniz's request.  Enrique Fernández Arbós died in San Sebastián, Spain on 2 June 1939, just after the end of the Spanish civil war.


1904-1910   Willy Hess (except 1907-1908)

Willy Hess

  Willy Hess while in Manchester at the Hallé Orchestra circa 1891


Willy Hess was born July 14, 1859 in Mannheim, Germany.  From 1876-1878, Hess studied with Joseph Joachim (1831-1907) in Berlin.  In 1878, Willy Hess became Concertmaster at the Frankfurt Opera (the Alte Oper Frankfurt).  During two seasons, 1886-1888 Willy Hess was Concertmaster of the orchestra in Rotterdam (before the current Rotterdam Philharmonic) and taught at the Rotterdam Conservatory.  Willy Hess was then for seven seasons, 1888-1895, Concertmaster of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, leaving after the famous Music Director Sir Charles Hallé died.  Willy Hess returned to Germany, and 1895-1903, was eight seasons in Cologne.  Hess taught at the Cologne Conservatory (Conservatorium der Musik) and was Concertmaster of the Gürzenich Orchestra.  Hess then returned to England, where he taught violin at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 1903.  In 1904, on the departure of Enrique Fernández Arbós, Wilhelm Gericke invited Willy Hess to come to Boston.  Willy Hess became the fourth Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony in the 1904-1905 season.  He remained in the first chair for six seasons.  At the end of the 1909-1910 season, Willy Hess resigned from the Boston Symphony to return to Germany, where he became premier violin instructor at the famous Berlin Akademische Hochschule für Musik, succeeding Karl Halir (or Karel Halíř 1859-1909).  Willy Hess was a friend of Max Bruch (1838-1920) and premiered several of Max Bruch's works for violin and viola.  Willy Hess died in Berlin February 17, 1939.  Violin students of Willy Hess in Berlin included Adolf Busch (1891-1952 and father-in-law of Rudolf Serkin) and Arthur Fiedler, before he returned to Boston.


1907-1908   Carl Wendling




Carl (or Karl) Wendling was born August 10, 1875 in Strasbourg, France (but then called "Straßburg", being part of Germany).  His father, Georg Wendling was also a musician.  Carl Wendling lived for many years in Stuttgart, Germany, where he also taught at the Conservatory.  Carl Wendling was Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony for one season, 1907-1908 season, under Karl Muck.  In Germany, according to Robin Stowell in his Cambridge Companion to the String Quartet, Carl Wending in Stuttgart was a successor to Joseph Joachim in forming a long-term and successful string quartet.  This was following World War 1, named after Carl Wending.  The quartet consisted of Carl Wendling, first, Hans Michaelis, second, Philipp Neeter, viola, and Alfred Saal, cello 83 Alfred Saal had been Principal cello of the Philadelphia Orchestra for two seasons 1904-1906.  The Max Reger (1873-1916) Clarinet Quintet was dedicated to Carl Wendling, and given its premier by the Wendling String Quartet 14.  The Wendling Quartet also toured the U.S. in 1922 94.  Richard Aldrich, famous New York Times critic wrote that Carl Wendling:


"...hardly seems to be the strong and incisive personality as the leader of a string quartet should be..." 85


Yet Aldrich gave the group a good review.  (I am not sure that first violins of successful string quartets are usually "incisive personalities", thinking of the Kneisel, the Flonzaley, the Capet, the Budapest, etc.)  The Wendling String Quartet made a number of recordings in Germany in the late 1920s.  Carl Wendling died on March 27, 1962 in Stuttgart, Germany, age 87.


1910-1918  Anton Witek



  Anton Witek: detail of 1914 photo Boston Symphony Archives, and Berlin caricature circa 1909


Anton Witek was born in Saaz (east of Graz), Austria January 7, 1872.  Witek studied violin with Antonin Bennewitz (or Benevic in the Czech spelling, 1833-1926), Director of the Prague Conservatory.   Some of Bennewitz's other violin pupils were Franz Lehar and Josef Suk.  Anton Witek was Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic 1894-1909 28.  In Berlin in 1903, Witek founded the Berlin Philharmonic Trio, including with his Swedish pianist wife Avita Witek, and with Joseph Malkin, later Principal cello of the Boston Symphony. 


the Witek-Malkin Trio in Boston 1915: Anton Witek, Avita Witek, Joseph Malkin in


Witek came to Boston, eventually to stay, in October, 1910 to take up the Concertmaster position with Max Fiedler.  Anton Witek, Avita Witek, and Joseph Malkin also formed a trio in Boston during the 1910s.  Witek resigned as Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1918, after which he taught violin in Boston.  See his picture below showing the string section leaders for the 1913-1914 season.  Anton Witek died in Boston in August, 1933.


1918-1920   Fredric Fradkin




Fredric 'Freddy' Fradkin was born in Troy, New York on April 24, 1892 of Russian parents.  Fradkin studied violin with Sam Franko (1857-1937), who was also briefly a BSO violin (2 weeks !), Leopold Lichtenberg (1861-1935), and Max Bendix (1866-1945).  Beginning in 1908, at age sixteen, Fradkin was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire, where he won the violin Premier prix in the 1910 Concour.  Fradkin was briefly Concertmaster in Bordeaux and Monte Carlo, and also studied with Ysaye in 1911.  Fredric Fradkin then played in 1912 with the Wiener Concert-Verein (Vienna Concert Society Orchestra, after 1933 called the "Vienna Symphony") in 1912.  In 1914-1915 Fradkin was Concertmaster of the Russian Symphony Orchestra of New York, under Modest Altschuler.  Freddy Fradkin then joined the Diaghilev Ballet Russe orchestra in their 1916 U.S. tour, conducted by Pierre Monteux.   Fredric Fradkin became Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony in the 1918-1919 season under Henri Rabaud.  At this time, the impact of the warfare of World War 1 on public thinking was ever-growing, which generated significant anti-German sentiments.  The concert public considered Fredric Fradkin as being the first US-born Concertmaster of a major U.S. orchestra - seen as an important event, subject of much comment.  (Perhaps they had forgotten Nahan Franco, Metropolitan Opera Concertmaster 1883-1907, and brother of Freddy Fradkin's teacher Sam Franco.)  The next season, Pierre Monteux became conductor beginning 1919-1920.  In this 1919-1920 season, the orchestra musicians sought to unionize and gain wage increases, which Fradkin as Concertmaster supported.  Feelings escalated into March, 1920.  On March 5, 1920, there was a confrontation in which Fredric Fradkin remained in his seat when Pierre Monteux gestured to the Orchestra to rise to recognize the audience applause for their performance of Berlioz's 'Sinfonie fantastique'.   This caused a sensation, and that evening Fradkin was summarily dismissed by the orchestra Board80.  Following this spectacular event, Fradkin had a minimal later role in the concert world.  1922-1924, he was Concertmaster of the New York Capital Orchestra, a well-known theater orchestra (Eugene Ormandy became Concertmaster of the Capital Orchestra a few years later).  Freddy Fradkin also toured in Europe in 1924.  Fradkin became a freelance radio orchestra musician, and later opened a restaurant in New York City.  For the next 35 years, Freddy Fradkin was not active in music concerts.  Fredric Fradkin died in New York in 1963, age 71 after a varied, if perhaps blighted musical career.


There is a famous story (told many times, but still good) involving two leading violinists, Freddy Fradkin and Mischa Elman, attending a Jacha Heifetz concert with the famous wit and pianist Leopold Godowsky.  One Saturday afternoon, 27th October 1917, Carnegie Hall was filled to hear the sixteen-year old violin sensation, Jascha Heifetz.  Godowsky, his wife Dagmar and violinists Fradkin and Elman were seated in their box.  Heifetz successfully performed a dazzling concert.  At the interval, Godowsky's party retired to the open area behind their box.  Elman wiped his brow, and said "Phew, it's awfully hot in there !"  Godowsky, with his famous quick wit replied "Not for pianists !".


1920-1962  Richard Moiseyevich Burgin



Richard Burgin was born October 11, 1892 in Warsaw, Poland (at that time, part of the Russian Empire).  Burgin began the study of violin at age 6.  After study with local teachers and with the Polish violinist Isidor Lotto (1840-circa 1900), in 1903, Burgin moved to Germany to study with Joseph Joachim at the Berlin Akademische Hochschule für Musik.  Bergin's first public performance was in 1904, age 11 with the Warsaw Philharmonic.   Then, 1908-1912, he studied with Leopold Auer at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he graduated in 1912, winning the Siver prize in violin in that year 67.  Burgin became Concertmaster of the Warsaw Philharmonic in 1914.  He was Concertmaster of the Oslo (at that time Christiania) Norway Symphony in 1915, and of the Stockholm, Sweden Concert Society in 1916-1919.  Burgin came to the U.S. in 1920 to join the Boston Symphony. 


  Richard Burgin in 1923


During the 1920s and 1930s, Burgin went to Paris every summer, according to ship records. Burgin also served as Assistant Conductor of the BSO beginning in 1927.  In fact, according the the New York Times obituary, Bergin conducted the BSO in 308 different concerts. Burgin taught violin for many years at the New England Conservatory, where he became the Conservatory Orchestra conductor in 1953, and and at the Berkshire Music Center, where he taught conducting.  The also conducted the Portland, Maine symphony.  In 1940, Burgin married the Massachusetts born Ruth Posselt (September 6, 1914-February 19, 2007), 22 years his junior and a violin virtuoso student of Frantisek Ondricek (1857-1922).  Richard Burgin had the somewhat amusing reputation of being personally absent-minded, and of not being concerned about clothes, both in formal wear, and in details, such as remembering to wear a concert necktie.  Although forgetful, Burgin was also a champion-level Bridge player.  Burgin was much admired by his colleagues.  Burgin retired from the Boston Symphony at the end of the 1961-1962 season.  He moved south to Florida, where he and his wife Ruth Burgin taught at Florida State University.  Burgin also conducted the Florida State Chamber Orchestra.  Richard Burgin suffered a stroke in January, 1981 67, and died 3 months later in St. Petersburg, Florida April 29, 1981.


1962-1984  Joseph Silverstein




Joseph Silverstein was born in Detroit, Michigan in March, 1932.  Silverstein first studied with his father, Ben Silverstein who had himself studied with Franz Kneisel at the Institute for Musical Art (Juilliard) 3.  Joseph was left handed, but his father taught him to play right handed.  In about 1945-1946, Silverstein studied with Josef Gingold who was at that time Concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony. Silverstein was admitted to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia in 1946, where he studied with Ephram Zimbalist.  Silverstein was expelled from the Curtis Institute in 1950, at age 17.  He later said "I was too distracted by "girls and baseball" 4.  After leaving Curtis, he played with the Houston Symphony 1950-1953, and with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the 1953-1954 season.  Silverstein returned to Detroit, and began study with Detroit Symphony Concertmaster Mischa Mischakoff, whom Silverstein said transformed his attitude toward preparation and playing.  Joe Silverstein then went to the Denver Symphony as Concertmaster and Assistant conductor for one season, 1954-1955.   Next year, Joseph Silverstein joined the Boston Symphony in the 1955-1956 season taking the last chair of the second violins.   As unusual as such a progression was, Joseph Silverstein gradually moved up in the violin section until he was appointed Concertmaster in the 1962-1963 season.  Silverstein remained Concertmaster for 21 season, until the end of 1983-1984.  During the time that Richard Burgin was still with the Boston Symphony, Silverstein said he was a mentor to him.  Beginning in 1971, Silverstein was Assistant Conductor of the BSO, in which capacity, he conducted the Orchestra more than 100 times.  In the 1980s, Joe Silverstein was appointed appointed Principal Conductor of the orchestras at New England Conservatory.  He also helped found the Boston Symphony Chamber Players in 1962 and served as its Music Director until 1983.  In 1983, during his final season with the Boston Symphony, Silverstein was appointed conductor of the Utah Symphony on a trial basis, where he remained as Music Director until 1998.  Now, well into his seventies, Silverstein is active as Professor of violin at the Curtis Institute.


1984-2019  Malcolm Lowe

Lowe golf

Malcolm Lowe with his second favorite instrument (he is a top golfer)


Malcolm Lowe joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as Concertmaster in 1984, only the tenth Concertmaster in its nearly 130 year history.  Malcolm Lowe was born in born in July, 1953 in Hamiota, Manitoba (about 200 km west of Winnipeg) to musical parents.  Lowe's father was a violinist and his mother a singer.  Lowe moved with his family to Regina, Saskatchewan at the age of nine.  In Regina, he studied at the Conservatory of Music with Australia-born Howard Leyton-Brown (1918- ), Concertmaster of the London Philharmonic 1951-1952 and long-time director of the Regina Conservatory.  Malcolm Low then later studied at the Meadowmount School of Music, a summer music camp in up-state New York, founded by Ivan Galamian (1903-1981) who was also a famous Juilliard teacher.  Later, Malcolm Lowe was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music.  After graduation from Curtis, Lowe was Concertmaster of l'Orchestre symphonique de Québec in Québec-City in the late 1970s.  When Joseph Silverstein left the Boston Symphony, Malcolm Lowe won the competition to replace him.  Malcolm Lowe joined the Boston Symphony in the 1984-1985 season, only the third Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony since 1920, when Richard Burgin took the first chair position.  Since coming to Boston, Malcolm Lowe has taught at the Tanglewood Music Center, and at the New England Conservatory and Boston University, as well as presumably getting in a number of rounds of golf (a passion at which he may match his 46 year BSO violin colleague Leo Panasevich 1951-1997).  In his playing, and in interviews, after more than two decades as Concertmaster in Boston, Malcolm Lowe still showed his enthusiasm and engagement in music making. After recovering from an injury, Malcolm Lowe retired at the end of the 2018-2019 season after 34 seasons of service.



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1922 BSO strings

Boston Symphony Principal String Players, 1921-1922 season - \ Boston Symphony Archives

standing: Max Kunze, bass, Julius Theodoriwicz, Assistant Concertmaster, Fernand Thillois, Principal second violin

seated: Georges Fourel, Principal viola, Richard Burgin, Concertmaster, Jean Bedetti, Principal cello, Alfred Holý, harp


Principal Cellists Boston Symphony Orchestra

Special thanks to Brian Bell, musician, commentator and BSO historian and expert on the symphony orchestra for information on the Boston cellists and other topics.


1881-1882  Wulf_Fries


Wulf Fries


Wulf Christian Julius Fries, the first Principal cello of the Boston Symphony was born in the far north of Germany in what was then the Duchy of Holstein (prior to the unification of Germany) near the Danish border on January 10, 1825.  As a cellist, his first training was with his father, an amateur musician.  Fries then went to Ploen, also in the Duchy of Holstein to study music and the cello.  In 1842, with his older brother August Fries, he relocated to Bergen, Norway where they both played in the Bergen orchestra.  Their experiences in Bergen were said to have been difficult (although August Fries in later life moved back to Bergen).  Then, in 1847 the brothers emigrated to Boston, Wulf_Fries still being only 22 years old.  In Boston, Wulf_Fries played in many groups, including even the Germania Serenade Band (named after the Germania Orchestra) where he played the trombone (Fries played several instruments) 194.  Wulf_Fries was one of the leading pioneers of orchestral and chamber music playing in the United States.  Before 1890, such groups and such musicians were a rare breed.  Soon after arriving in Boston, in 1849 Wulf_Fries was a founding musician of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, in which he served for 23 years137


Mendelssohn Quintette Club

The Mendelssohn Quintette Club, started Boston in December, 1849 137 was one of the earliest successful and long-term chamber groups in the US, when orchestral music was virtually non-existent.  The Philharmonic Society in New York was performing only 4 concerts per season until 1858 144, and the Boston Orchestral Union the same.  The Harvard Musical Association was not organized for concerts until 1865 138.  However, the Mendelssohn Quintette Club was performing more frequently in Boston, and also touring New England states.  In later years, they toured widely.  For example, in 1881 and 1882, they toured Ohio, Indiana, Illinois 204, Utah, California and Australia 205.  The initial members of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club included many of the handful of orchestral musicians of the US (almost) able to make a living from playing the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn.  This initial group included August Fries violin, Francis Riha violin, Edward Lehman viola and flute, Thomas Ryan  viola and clarinet, Wulf_Fries  cello 137.  Thomas Ryan and Wulf_Fries, along with the Heindls, were later among the first members of the Boston Symphony.   Soon thereafter joined two musicians from the original Germania Society, both violinists: Carl Meisel  (1829-1908) and William Schultze  (1827-1888) who was leader of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club 1859-1878.  Later members of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club included Charles Allen  violin, Gustav Dannreuther  violin, Fritz Giese  cello, Alexander Heindl  cello, Edward Heindl  flute and viola, Anton Hekking  cello, and Ludwig Manoly  bass, Hermann Diestel cello, and Rudolf Hennig  cello.  All of these pioneers joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra, except Rudolf Hennig, who became Principal cello of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1900.  The Mendelssohn Quintette Club deserves a book just covering its fifty years of activity covering the very first professional group in the US to devote itself to classical chamber music.


click on this thumbnail to see full picture of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club in 1849: August Fries, first violin, Edward Lehman, flute and viola, Wulf_Fries, cello, Thomas Ryan, clarinet and viola, Francis Riha, second violin


Wulf_Fries was also a member of the Beethoven Quartette in 1873 composed of pioneering Boston musicians Charles Allen, first, Julius Akeroyd, second, Henry Heindl Sr, viola, and Wulf Fries, cello 134, all of whom were later Boston Symphony musicians.  Wulf Fries also played in all of the early Boston musical groups, including the Boston Musical Fund Society, the Harvard Orchestral Association, Handel and the Haydn Society Orchestra 136).  Analysis by Brian Bell concludes that Wulf Fries left the Boston Symphony in January, 1882, and that he was likely succeeded in the Principal cello chair by Carl Bayrhoffer.  Wulf Fries continued his teaching, and died in suburban Boston on April 19, 1902, age 77 after a full musical life.


1881-1882  Carl Bayrhoffer

photo      This may be Carl Bayrhoffer in this 1882 photo collage of the Boston Symphony


Carl Bayrhoffer was born in Germany, probably in about 1840, and studied in Leipzig, where he was active with the Gesangverein Concordia 198 in choral concerts.  Bayrhoffer joined the cello section of the Boston Symphony in the initial 1881-1882 season, perhaps in the second cello chair.  Upon the departure of Wulf Fries in January 1882, Carl Bayrhoffer seems to have become Principal cello of the Boston Symphony for the final portion of the 1881-1882 season.  Bayrhoffer's featured performances of the 1881-1882 season, the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto opus 33 were not well received by the critics 199, 200 - unusual for the typically favorable critical style of that era.  Bayrhoffer was also a composer, and published Five Songs Without Words for cello and piano: Wiegenlied (lullaby), Gondellied (gondola song), Canzonetta, Reverie, and Mückentanz (dance of the mosquitoes). 

five songs       score of Bayrhoffer's Five Songs Without Words


The next season, 1884-1885, Carl Bayrhoffer seems to have been teaching at the New York College of Music, where he gave several performances of chamber music 197 and performed at a summer resort in Pennsylvania in 1885.  After leaving the U.S., Carl Bayrhoffer went on to be Principal cello of the Glasgow (Scotland) Orchestra 196 in the early 1900s. 


Alexander C. Heindl, Edward Martin Heindl, and and Henry Heindl and the Boston Symphony


The Heindl (or Heind'l) family produced a number of leading musicians who served with the Boston Symphony.  Alexander Heindl was born into this musical family in Bavaria, Germany on June 25, 1835.  The Heindl father had been a musician, playing the flute and other instruments.  Alexander and his younger brothers Edward Martin Heindl (1837-1896) and Henry Heindl (1843-after 1899) were all musicians, and all eventually were musicians of the Boston Symphony.  In the first Boston Symphony season, Alexander was joined the cello section, Edward was named Principal flute, and Henry joined the viola section in the second chair.  Alexander Heindl had had a distinguished career in Europe, playing cello in the Vienna Philharmonic in the 1860s, when the orchestra was building its season length.  The Heindl brothers emigrated to the U.S. in March, 1868.  Alexander, Edward, and Henry all played in the Handel & Haydn Society Orchestra 136, the primary Boston music group prior to the organization of the Boston Symphony.  Alexander and Edward Heindl also played cello in the Mendelssohn Quintette Club for two seasons137.  Alexander Heindl remained with the cello section until the end of the 1893-1894 season, when he retired, age 64.  However, his nephew, Alexander Heindl Jr,  son of Henry Heindl joined the Boston Symphony and served 1900-1907.


1882-1884  Wilhelm Müller



Müller String Quartet: (l to r) Karl Müller first, Hugo Müller second, Bernhard Müller viola, Wilhelm Müller cello


Wilhelm Müller was born in the Duchy of Brunswick in central Germany on June 1, 1834.  He was one of the four musician sons of the famous German violinist Karl Friedrich Müller (1797-1873) who was one of the pioneers in the performance of Beethoven Quartets 203.  In 1856, the eldest son of Karl Friedrich Müller, Karl, followed in his father's footsteps forming the Müller String Quartet with his brothers.  The quartet was made up of Karl Müller first (1829-1907), Hugo Müller second (1832-1886), Bernhard Müller viola (1832-1895), and Wilhelm Müller cello (1834-1897).  The new quartet quickly gained a Europe-wide renown and was appointed Court Quartet to the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen.  It performed a number of premieres, including works by Joseph Joachim Raff (1822-1882).  For three years, 1873-1876, Müller was a cello instructor at the Musikhochschule Berlin under Joseph Joachim, where one of his leading pupils was the (later) famous cellist Robert Hausmann (1852-1909) 201.  During the period 1869-1879, Wilhelm Müller was cellist in the Joachim Quartet, at that time: Joseph Joachim first, Heinrich de Ahna second, Emmanuel Wirth viola, Wilhelm Müller cello 202.  With this group, Wilhelm Müller gave the premiere of several works by Brahms and others.  In the 1882-1883 season, Wilhelm Müller joined the Boston Symphony, appointed by Georg Henschel as Principal cello.  Müller continued with the Boston Symphony for three seasons until the March, 1885.  However, in the 1884-1885 season, conductor Wilhelm Gericke, who had succeeded Georg Henschel, appointed Fritz Giese as Principal cello, with Wilhelm Müller presumably becoming what we would call today Associate Principal cello.  After the 1884-1885 Boston season, Wilhelm Müller remained in the USA, relocating to New York City, where he died in September, 1897, age 63.


1884-1889   Fritz K. E. Giese




Fritz Giese was born in the Hague, Netherlands January 2, 1859.  He was son of the cellist and teacher Joseph Giese (1821-1903). Joseph Giese was born in Koblenz, Germany and was a student of the Berlin-based cellist and teacher Moritz Ganz (1802-1868).  In about the early 1850s, Joseph Giese accepted an appointment at the Royal Conservatory of Music in the Hague (Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag).  The interesting information of of the Nederlands Muziek Instituut website 191 states: "... [Fritz Giese] studied the cello since age four, first using a viola as substitute (as we can see in this picture)... ".




As well as Fritz Giese, other students of Joseph Giese included Anton Hekking, Fritz Giese's successor as Principal cello of the Boston Symphony.  In 1875 at the early age of fifteen, Fritz Giese graduated from the Royal Conservatory, Hague and went on to further studies in Paris with Louis-Auguste Jacquard (1832- ).  After touring Europe as a cello soloist in about 1875-1876, Fritz Giese joined the Park Orchestra in Amsterdam during about 1877-1878.  Then, in 1878, Fritz Giese moved to Boston to join the Mendelssohn Quintette Club from the initiative of Thomas Ryan .

photo   a program of the Mendelssohn Quintette in 1883


Giese also played in the Philharmonic Club of Boston, prior to the creation of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  He was also an original member of the Kneisel Quartet 1885-1889 156.  He became dependent on alcohol, which lead to his gradual deterioration as a musician.  Fritz Giese was a fine cellist, particularly when playing with the Kneisel Quartet in the 1880s. However "...owing to his unfortunate drinking habits was seldom heard at his best..." 157.  With the arrival of Arthur Nikisch as conductor of the Boston Symphony in the 1889-1890 season, it seems that Nikisch had determined on Anton Hekking as Principal cello.  Nikisch had known Anton Hekking as cello of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra 1882-1888, and he succeeded Giese.  After leaving the Boston Symphony, Giese taught for a time at the National Conservatory of Music in New York City.  However, he returned to Boston, where he died on August 5, 1896, sadly from illness arising from his alcoholism.  Fritz Giese's artistry was cut short at age only 37.


1889-1891   Johannes Francis Anton Hekking




Anton Hekking was born in the Hague, Netherlands on September 7, 1856 althought the Paris Conservatory records state September 7, 1855 209).  Hekking was from a musical family.  He studied first with his cellist father Robert Gerard Hekking (1820-1875).  Hekking was brother of the cellist André Hekking (1866-1925) long term teacher at the Paris Conservatoire.  He was also cousin of another cellist, Gérard Hekking (1879-1942).  Anton Hekking studied in the Hague with cellist and teacher Joseph Giese (1821-1903), who was the father and teacher of Anton Hekking's colleague and Boston predecessor Fritz Giese.  As a youth, Hekking played with the Utrecht Symphony.  Then, Anton Hekking gained entrance to the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied with Pierre-François-Alexandre Chevillard (1811-1877) and Louis-Auguste Jacquard (1832- ) from 1873-1878.  Anton Hekking won the Conservatoire Premier prix for cello in the 1878 Concour 209.  Following graduation, Anton Hekking toured the U.S. with the Russian pianist Anna Yesipova (1851-1914).  Then, returning to Europe, in 1880, Anton Hekking was Principal cello for the Bilse Orchestra of Berlin at about the same time as Franz Kneisel was Concertmaster of that orchestra.  Hekking was one of the 54 musicians who founded the Berlin Philharmonic in 1882, after breaking away from the orchestra of conductor Benjamin Bilse (1816-1902) 132.  Anton Hekking was Principal cello of the Berlin Philharmonic for six seasons, 1882-1888, with a short break to tour Europe with Eugène Ysaye.  During this period, Anton Hekking had a reputation in the orchestra of a practical joker, which is said to have caused some tension within the Philharmonic, and led to Hekking's departure in 1888.  In 1889, when Arthur Nikisch became director of the Boston Symphony, he selected Anton Hekking as Principal cello, presumably knowing him from Berlin.  Hekking remained as Principal cello in Boston for two seasons, 1889-1891.  During this time, Hekking was also cello of the Kneisel String Quartet 131.  Anton Hekking then went to the New York Symphony as Principal cello for two seasons, 1891-1893 130.  In 1902, Anton Hekking returned to Berlin, but according to Cesar Saerchinger's interesting biography of Artur Schnabel, Hekking was not welcome to return to the Berlin Philharmonic.  '...[Hekking] had exercised his curious sense of humor on many, having returned... [he] gladly followed the suggestion to take young Artur Schnabel as a partner...' 133.  So was created the Hekking Trio which continued seven seasons, 1902-1909.  The Hekking trio consisted 1902-1907 of Hekking with Artur Schnabel, piano and Alfred Wittenberg (1880-1952), violin.  During 1907-1909, American pianist Clarence Adler (1886-1969) succeeded Arthur Schnabel in the trio.  The concerts of the trio followed the Bilse Orchestra format with tables and beer served with the music.  These programs sold well for the seven years they continued.  Anton Hekking also taught at the Stern Conservatory, Berlin, where he died after a full and colorful career on November 18, 1935.


1891-1903, 1910-1912, 1918-1925   Alwin Schroeder

Kneisel 1903

Alwin Schroeder with the Kneisel Quartet circa 1903

Franz Kneisel violin, Alwin Schroeder cello, Louis Svecenski viola, Julius Theodorowicz violin


Alwin Schroeder (or Schröder) was born in Neuhaldensleben, Germany on June 15, 1855 into a musical family. Alwin Schroeder was initially violist in the Schroeder family quartet, with his older brother Karl as cello. Karl Schroeder was later Professor of cello at the Leipzig Conservatory, and he encouraged his brother Alwin to pursue the cello. Alwin Schroeder loved the sound of the cello and initially taught himself. Alwin first studied the viola at the Berlin Akademische Hochschule für Musik, while continuing with the cello. Following graduation, Schroeder's first orchestral cello engagements were 1875-1876 in the Karl Liebig orchestra in Berlin. Then, 1876-1880, Alwin Schroeder played cello with the Laube Kappelle, Hamburg. This led to Alwin Schroeder in 1880 being appointed co-Principal cello with the famous cellist Julius Klengel (1859-1933) of the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra.

photo    Julius Klengel whose students included Piatigorsky, Feuermann, and his colleague Alwin Schroeder

During his time at the Leipzig Gewandhaus 1880-1890, Alwin Schroeder also began teaching at the Leipzig Conservatory after his brother Karl had left to become Kapellmeister in Sondershausen in central Germany. Alwin Schroeder then toured in Germany and Russia. In the 1891-1892 season, Alwin Schneider joined the newly formed Boston Symphony Orchestra as Principal cello, where he stayed initially for 12 seasons. During this time, he advised Dvorak on his cello concerto (1894-1895). In 1903, Franz Kneisel, Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony asked Schroeder to also join the Kneisel Quartet , with which Kneisel, Theodorowicz, Svecenski, and Schroeder toured the U.S. Alwin Schroeder left the Kneisel Quartet in the Spring of 1907 to return to Germany, where he taught cello at the Dr. Hoch Konservatorium for a year in Frankfurt 49. Schroeder then returned to the U.S. in the Summer of 1908 to Boston where he again became Principal cello with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for two seasons 1910-1912. 1912-1918, Alwin Schroeder may have been with the New York Symphony. During this period, Schroeder played with Willy Hess violin and Lionel Tertis, in the Hess Quartet. Schroeder also replaced Leo Schulz in the Margulies Trio. During the 1910-1912, Schroeder played with the Boston String Quartet. In the 1918-1919 season, Alwin Schroeder returned to the Boston Symphony as Principal cello.  He remained with Boston for another 7 seasons until the end of the 1924-1925 season. In the mid 1920s, Schroeder taught cello at the New York Institute for Musical Art (Juilliard).  Alwin Schroeder died in Boston, October 17, 1928.


1903-1904   Rudolf Krasselt


Rudolf Krasselt was born in Baden-Baden, Germany January 1, 1879.  He came from a musical family. Rudolf Krasselt was the son of George Krasselt, Concertmaster of the Philharmonie Baden-Baden.  His older brother, Albert Krasselt (1872-1908) was a violinist, Concertmaster of the Staatskapelle Weimar Orchestra, and later a conductor.  Rudolf Krasselt began cello study at age 9.  In 1897, Rudolf Krasselt played at the first desk of the Berlin Philharmonic under Artur Nikisch.  The next season Rudolf Krasselt next became Principal cello of the Berlin Philharmonic in 1898 at age 19.  In about 1900, Krasselt became Principal cello at the Vienna Hofoper, as the Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper) was known at that time, and from which the Vienna Philharmonic was a subset.  The book Gustav Mahler: Vienna : Triumph and Disillusion (1904-1907) 221 states:


"?In 1902, Mahler had engaged [as Principal cello] Rudolf Krasselt, a young cellist from the Berlin Philharmonic. The other musicians [of the Vienna Philharmonic] were indignant that such a young man should immediately be given the rank of soloist, and they made life so hard for him that he resigned after only six months?"


Rudolf Krasselt moved to Boston in 1903 to assume the solo cello chair for the 1903-1904 season.  He was not able to join the Boston Symphony until October, 1903 joining only at the second concert of the season due to German military service 41. Krasselt was Principal cello of the Boston Symphony for only one seasons 1903-1904 under Gericke.  When he left the orchestra, in 1904, the New York Times stated that Krasselt was preparing himself for a conducting career 52. The remainder of Krasselt's career was in fact as a conductor.  From 1911-1913 Krasselt was Kapellmeister of the Kiel Opera.  In 1913, Krasselt was appointed conductor of the German Opera (Deutsche Oper) located in Charlottenburg, then still a separate suburb of Berlin.  Beginning in 1920, Rudolf Krasselt taught conducting at the Berlin Akademische Hochschule für Musik, where Kurt Weill (1900-1950) and Berthold Goldschmidt (1903-1996) were among his students.  Willy Hess, former BSO Concertmaster was also teaching at the Berlin Akademische Hochschule für Musik at the same time.  Krasselt conducted the Stockholm Symphony Orchestra in 1924.  Krasselt in later years concentrated on conducting.  He was for many years (1924-1943) conductor (Music Director not then a title) of the Staatsoper Hannover, which he also conducted at some times in the 1950s.  There was an interesting letter in a recent auction from Arnold Rosé, but written in Gustav Mahler's hand, withdrawing an invitation to Rudolf Krasselt to assume the cello position in the famous Rosé Quartet.  The letter is described as "...citing an unpleasant situation between Krasselt's brother (Concertmaster in Weimar) and his behavior toward Arnold's brother Eduard Rosé..." 15.  Krasselt died in Hannover, Germany in 1954.


1912-1914   Otto Urack Co-Principal cello


Otto Urack in 1914: detail of BSO photo Boston Symphony Archives

Otto Urack was born in Berlin, Germany on May 13, 1884 of a Hungarian family.  He was trained in Berlin both as a cellist and pianist.   He studied cello with Robert Hausmann (1852- ) at the Berlin Akademische Hochschule für Musik, and he studied harmony with Engelbert Humperdinck.  In 1903-1906, Otto Urack was appointed Principal cello with the orchestra of the Royal Court Opera, Berlin ('Königliche Hofoper', renamed 'Staatsoper unter den Linden' after the the fall of the Kaiser) 71.  In 1906, Otto Urack was appointed Principal cello of the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, where perhaps Karl Muck was exposed to his talents.  In 1906, Urack conducted the Berlin Philharmonic in his own works including 'Fantasia for Orchestra' 72.  In 1911, Otto Urack was appointed conductor of the Stadttheater of Barmen-Elberfeld (renamed Wuppertal after 1930), near Stuttgart.  This was the same opera theater at which Alfred Hertz learned his conducting 15 years previously.  In the 1912-1913 season, Urack joined the Boston Symphony under Karl Muck as associate conductor and Co-Principal cello 70, seated at the stand next to Principal cello Heinrich Warnke, and with Urack listed second in the Boston Symphony programs.   Beginning the next season, Otto Urack also conducted the Boston Pops concerts.  In 1914, Otto Urack conducted the premiere of his Symphony no 1 in E, opus 14 with the Boston Symphony.  Urack continued as Co-Principal cello until the end of the 1913-1914 season.  While in Boston, Otto Urack pursued conducting, as he also did later in Europe.  While in Boston, Otto Urack was conductor of the Boston Pops concerts, alson with André Maquarre during 1912-1914.  Prior to World War 1, Otto Urack relocated back to Germany.  In Berlin, Otto Urack was a staff conductor at the Royal Court Opera, Berlin prior to World War 1, and following the war with the re-named Berlin State Opera 167 into the 1920s, serving with Leo Blech (1871-1958) and Fritz Steidry (1883-1968).  Also in Berlin in the early 1920s, he played chamber music and accompanied several leading singers in concerts from the piano.  Otto Urack also conducted some of the earliest radio broadcast concerts (beginning October, 1923) transmitted by the VOX-Haus broadcasting station in Berlin.  In 1923, also for VOX, Otto Urack conducted an acoustical recording of the Beethoven Symphony no 5 with the 'VOX Symphony Orchestra' (on VOX 01269-72).  Otto Urack later relocated to Dresden.  In the 1930s he was a conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden, the orchestra of the Sächsische Staatsoper (State Opera of Saxony).  Otto Urack in the 1930s also composed some film music.


1905-1914  Heinrich Warnke 


Heinrich Warnke was born in Wesselburen (north of Hamburg), Germany in 1870.  At age 12, he entered the Hamburg Conservatory where he studied cello with Albert Gowa (1843-after 1918).  In about 1887, Warnke went to Leipzig where he played with the great Gewandhaus Orchestra.  Prior to Boston, Heinrich Warnke was from 1897-1905 104 Principal cello of the 'Kaim Orchestra' in Munich, predecessor to today's Munich Philharmonic.  In the 1905-1906 season, after the resignation of Rudolph Krasselt, Warnke came to Boston to become Principal cello at the Boston Symphony.  Heinrich Warnke's brother, Johannes Warnke (born in Germany December 3, 1871) also joined the Boston Symphony that same season.  Johannes Warnke remaining with the Boston Symphony for ten seasons, 1908-1918, 1919-1939.  Heinrich Warnke remained Principal cello of the Boston Symphony for nine seasons.  At the end of the 1913-1914 season, perhaps due to the return of Karl Muck, Heinrich Warnke was succeeded by Joseph Malkin as Principal cello.  Warnke, however, remained with the Boston Symphony four more seasons, until the end of the 1917-1918 season.  From 1920 until the early 1930s, Heinrich Warnke was co-Principal cello of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.  Heinrich Warnke died in Germany during the summer of 1938.


1914-1919  Joseph Malkin

photo    Joseph Malkin in 1909


Joseph Malkin was born in Odessa, Russia (now the Ukraine) September 25, 1879.  His first cello teacher starting in 1892 was Ladislas Alois (circa 1842-circa 1914).  In 1895, Malkin entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied under Henri Rabaud (1873-1949), and received the first prize in cello in 1898.  In the Autumn of 1898, Joseph Malkin toured European countries with his violinist brother Jacques 27.  He made his debut in Berlin in 1899, and performed there in 1899-1900.  He played solo cello with the Berlin Philharmonic 1902-1908, and during this time played cello with the Witek trio, with Anton Witek, later Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony, and at that time Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic.  In 1908, he left Berlin and joined the Brussels Quartet, and also toured Europe, seeking to establish a soloist career.  Malkin made his American debut in 1909.   Malkin was back in Germany at the outset of World War 1 in 1914, and Saleski says that it was Malkin's friendship with Chief of the German General Staff General Helmuth von Moltke (1848-1916), that allowed Malkin to gain an exit visa to go to Boston 27.   He joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as Principal cello 1914-1919, and played as Principal cello in the Chicago Symphony 1919-1922.  In Chicago, he formed a trio with his brothers.  In 1924-1925, Malkin toured accompanying Metropolitan Opera soprano Geraldine Farrar. 1925-1927, Joseph Malkin was Principal cello with the New York Symphony under Walter Damrosch.  In 1933, the family founded the Malkin Conservatory of Music in Boston. Schoenberg taught at the Conservatory for one year (1933-1934) immediately upon his emigration to the United States.  The Malkin Conservatory closed in 1943, and Joseph Malkin in the 1943-1944 season joined the New York Philharmonic for six seasons, retiring at the end of the 1948-1949 season.  Joseph Malkin died in 1969.


1919-1948   Jean Bedetti

photo    Jean Bedetti circa 1924

Jean Bedetti was born in Lyon, France December 25, 1883.  He began study with his father, also a cellist and a teacher at the Lyon Conservatory.  In the 1890s, Jean Bedetti won the competition for entrance to the Lyon Conservatory, where he conditnued studies with his father, a cello virtuoso.  This training allowed Jean Bedetti to be admitted to the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied cello with Jules Loeb (1852-1933).  At the Conservatoire, Jean Bedetti won cello Premier prix in the 1902 Concour 128.  In 1904-1908, Jean Bedetti became Principal cello of the Orchestra of the Théâtre de l'Opéra Comique (particularly prized for its good season and regular employment).  In 1908, Jean Bedetti became Principal cello of the Colonne Orchestra.  While still in France, Bedetti first recorded for Pathé in 1908.  When Joseph Malkin left for the Chicago Symphony, Pierre Monteux invited Jean Bedetti (as well as Frédéric Denayer, viola, the Van Den Berg brothers, and moving to trumpet Georges Mager, among others) to join the Boston Symphony in the 1919-1920 season.  Bedetti was to remain with the Boston Symphony as Principal cello for twenty-nine seasons.  Georges Bedetti was described by his students as an emotional player.  Kermit Moore, a Bedetti student describes an emotional scene between Bedetti and Koussevitzky.  "...Bedetti became very angry with Koussevitzky because Koussevitzky had the temerity to say things to Bedetti: 'Bedetti, your notes don't sound. They don't sound.' And Bedetti said. 'Ma?re, which notes don't sound?' And Koussevitzky said. 'The whole thing. The whole thing. The notes just don't sound,' and so Bedetti was so angry he stormed off the stage. He walked across the stage and management had to ask him to come back and he refused. So they asked Koussevitzky if he would apologize to Bedetti? Koussevitzky said, 'No, I will not apologize. He will come back.' And Bedetti eventually did come back..." 64   Jean Bedetti retired from the Boston Symphony at the end of 1947-1948, one year before Serge Koussevitzky's retirement, and after twenty nine seasons as Principal cello.  Jean Bedetti moved to Florida, where he died in Miami on July 25, 1973.


1948-1964   Samuel Houston Mayes

photo    Samuel Houston Mayes at Tanglewood in 1949


Samuel Houston Mayes was born in St. Louis, Missouri on August 11, 1917.  Samuel Mayes had a genuine American west background: one of his grandfathers was a Cherokee chief, and two Oklahoma counties were named for his forbearers, Rogers County and Mayes County.  Mayes began early with cello lessons with Max Steindel (1891-1964), long time Principal cello of the St. Louis Symphony (42 years with the orchestra).  Mayes played at age 8 as soloist with the St. Louis Symphony under Rudolph Ganz.  Samuel Mayes entered the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia in 1930, where he studied with Felix Salmond (1888-1952).  During the 1930s, while at Curtis, Samuel Mayes played frequently in the cello section of the Philadelphia Orchestra under Stokowski and Ormandy.  Mayes graduated from Curtis in 1937, and was already listed in the Philadelphia Orchestra cello section in the 1936-1937 season.  In the 1939-1940 season, Mayes became Principal cello of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and remained Principal in Philadelphia until the end of the 1947-1948 season.  Serge Koussevitzky selected Samuel Mayes as Principal cello of the Boston Symphony beginning with the 1948-1949 season, where Mayes remained for 18 seasons.  While in Boston, he married Winifred Schaefer, first woman in a BSO string section.  In 1964, Eugene Ormandy convinced Samuel and Winifred Mayes to join the Philadelphia Orchestra as Principal and co-Principal cellists.  Samuel Mayes remained with the Philadelphia Orchestra until declining health convinced him to retire at the end of the 1972-1973 season.  While in Philadelphia, in 1964, Samuel Mayes gave the American premiere of the Kabalevsky Second Cello Concerto, with Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) conducting.  After Samuel retired, Winifred Mayes remained with the Philadelphia Orchestra four more seasons, departing at the end of 1976-1977.  Samuel Mayes, after Philadelphia, briefly taught at the Eastman School of Music.  He apparently thought that his health had improved sufficiently for him to take up the position of Principal cello of the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta 1974-1975.  However, this proved not to be sustainable, and Mayes joined the music faculty of the University of Michigan.  Samuel Mayes retired in 1984, but occasionally performed with the Aspen Festival Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony.  Before the Eastman School and the University of Michigan, Samuel Mayes taught at a series of schools, including the New England Conservatory, Boston University and Temple University (in Philadelphia).  Unfortunately, Samuel Mayes's heath continued to deteriorate, and following open heart surgery and later surgery for colon cancer 135, he died in Mesa, Arizona on August 24, 1990, age 73.


1964-2016   Jules Louis Eskin



Jules Eskin was born in Philadelphia on 20 October 1931. Jules Eskin's father was an amateur cellist who gave Jules his first lessons, followed by instruction at the Philadelphia Settlement Music School. In 1948, at age 16, Jules Eskin joined the Dallas Symphony cello section under Antal Dorati. While in Dallas, Eskin studied with Janos Starker (1924-1913) who was then Principal cello for Dallas in the 1948-1949 season. In the summers of 1947 and 1948, Eskin studied at the Tanglewood Music Center.  Jules Eskin was then accepted into the Curtis Institute in his home town Philadelphia, where he studied with Gregor Piatigorsky and Leonard Rose.  In the early 1950s, Eskin took master classes with Pablo Casals.  In 1954, Jules Eskin won first prize for cello in the Walter Naumburg International Competition (which Joseph Silverstein also won for violin in 1960).  This led to his 1954 New York Town Hall debut and a 1954-1955 concert tour in Europe.  Since then Jules Eskin was Principal cello in the each of the orchestra sections which he led.  Jules Eskin was Principal cello of the Cleveland Orchestra 1961-1964 under George Szell. 




Eskin then joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as Principal cello in the 1964-1965 season, following the departure of Samuel and Winifred Mayes to the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Jules Eskin was one of the founding members of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players in 1964.  He taught cello at the Boston University College of Fine Arts and in the summers at the Tanglewood Music Center.  Jules Eskin was married to the Boston Symphony first violin Aza Raykhtsaum , a graduate of the St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) Conservatory. 



After more than four decades with the Boston Symphony, under five Music Directors, Jules Eskin, still Principal cello of the Boston Symphony passed on 15 November 2016 after a full, rich, and long career.


1964-2016   Blaise Déjardin



Blaise Déjardin was born in Strasbourg, France in 1984. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire gaining his Premier prix in about the 2005 Concour. He made his orchestral debut at age fourteen performing Haydn’s C major concerto at the Corum in Montpellier, France. In his orchestral career, Déjardin was active in the European Union Youth Orchestra 2001-2004, as well as the Gustav Mahler Jugend Orchester 2001-2004. As a young musician, Déjardin he gained first prize at the Maurice Gendron International Cello Competition and was also the youngest prize winner at the 6th Adam International Cello Competition in New Zealand in July 2006. In Paris in 2007 he made his recital debut at Le Petit Palais as a laureate of a programme supporting emerging young soloists in France.


In Boston, he studied further at the New England Conservatory gaining a MMus 2007, followed by a Doctorate of music in 2008. He joined the Boston Symphony in 2008. In 2013 he launched Opus Cello, his online sheet music publishing company.


Blaise Déjardin was appointed Principal cello of the Boston Symphony Orchestra by Music Director Andris Nelsons in the Spring of 2018. Déjardin was also a founder of the Boston Cello Quartet: Blaise Déjardin Adam Esbensen, Mihail Jojatu, and Alexandre LeCarme. In 2008, Déjardin gave the US premiere of the Edith Canat de Chizy (1950- ) Les Formes du vent (2003) for solo cello.




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A Boston Symphony Viola Virtuoso Joke: Louis Snyder in his interesting book Boston Symphony and Its World of Players 116 recounts a joke about the virtuoso talents of the Boston musicians.  The orchestra was touring Europe and in Germany, the morning after a concert, a violist was reading and translating a critic's review to his colleagues.  The newspaper headline was "A Virtuoso at Every Desk".  The musician read the article to his colleagues, but then made a puzzled expression.  After a pause, he said: "but he does not say which one of us it is !"

(Recall that there are two musicians at every desk.  But they say a joke is not good if you need to explain it !)


Principal Violas of the Boston Symphony Orchestra


1881-1884   Henry Heindl


Henry Heindl was born in Bavaria, Germany in July, 1843.  Heindel and his wife emigrated to the US in 1868 at age 25, along with his older brothers Alexander Heindl (1835-after 1897) and Edward Martin Heindl (1837-1896).  Henry Heindl became Principal viola of the Boston Symphony in its first season.  Henry Heindl was Principal viola of the Boston Symphony for three seasons 1881-1884.  Louis Svecenski was appointed Principal viola by Wilhelm Gericke in the 1885-1886 season, at which time Henry Heindl moved to the second chair.  Henry Heindl remained in the viola section 25 more seasons until the end of 1910-1911, when he retired at age 67.  Henry Heindl's six children, Alexander Jr., Henry Jr., Max, Elsa, Hans, and Herbert were all musicians.  Alexander Heindl, Jr.  (1872-about 1918) joined the cello section of the Boston Symphony for 7 seasons 1900-1907.  He also made what was likely the first recordings by a Boston Symphony musician for Victor Talking Machine Company 1900-1904.


1885-1903   Louis Svecenski



Louis Svecenski in 1908 as part of the Kneisel Quartet


Louis Svecenski was born in Osijek, Croatia November 6, 1862.  Svecenski studied violin at the Vienna Conservatory under two famous teachers: Josef Hellmesberger (1828-1893) and Jakob Grün (1837-1916), who had also taught Franz Kneisel.  In 1885, Gericke engaged both Svecenski and Kneisel for the Boston Symphony as first viola and first violin, respectively.  This was during the period of Gericke's extensive orchestra building, adding many new players, particularly from Germany.  Svecenski and Kneisel also formed the Kneisel Quartet.  From its inception in 1885 until its disbanding in 1917, for more than 20 years, Svecenski was viola in the Kneisel Quartet, the only other permanent player besides Franz Kneisel  himself.  See the photograph of Louis Svecenski with the Quartet in about 1906.  Louis Svecenski also taught at the New York Institute of Musical Arts (later renamed Juilliard).  Then, in 1924, Louis Svecenski was one of the founding professors of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.  Svecenski is recalled today principally for his teaching and for his long contribution to the Kneisel String Quartet.  Louis Svecenski died on June 18, 1926 in New York City after a lingering illness and three surgical operations.


1886-1907   Max Wilhelm Zach

Max Zach   Max Zach in 1910


Max Zach was born August 31, 1864 in a city then called by the Austrians Lemberg during the first partition of Poland (called Lvov by the Poles).  Today, following the movement of the Polish boarders by Russia, the city is called Lviv, and is part of the Ukraine.  Zach came to the U.S. in 1886 to join Wilhelm Gericke at the Boston Symphony.  Zach was Principal viola of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1886-1907.  During his time in Boston, Max Zach also conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra 1896-1902 and 1906-1907.  During these Boston years, Zach played in with The Adamowski Quartet, with Timothée Adamowski (1858-1943), violin, A Moldauer, second violin, Max Zach, viola, and Joseph Adamowski (1862-1930), cello.  Timothée Adamowski also conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra before Zach in 1891-1894 and between Zach's first and second conducting period with the Pops, 1903-07.  Max Zach left the Boston Symphony in 1907 to conduct the newly renamed St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.  During 1907-1921, Max Zach was the third conductor of the St. Louis Symphony.  Zach is said to have not only expanded the St. Louis Symphony season, but gradually increased the quality of musicians and the content of programs.  Max Zach died in St. Louis February 3, 1921, age only 56 from an infection subsequent to a tooth extraction, at a time when antibiotics did not yet exist.


1903-1918  Emile Auguste Férir

photo Emile Férir in 1913


émile Férir was born July 18, 1873 in Brussels, Belgium.  He gained entry to the Conservatoire Royal de Musique - Brussels, winning his Premier prix in 1891 180.  He played viola in the Lamoureux Orchestra of Paris in 1892.  The next season, émile Férir went to Glasgow, where he was Principal viola of the Scottish Symphony.  From 1897-1903, he was Principal viola at Henry Wood's Queen Hall Orchestra in London 10.  While in Britain, he was also active in the Kruse String Quartet: Johann Kruse first, Charles Schilsky second, Emil Férir viola 145.  émile Férir emigrated to the U.S. at the end of his 1902-1903 season in London in September, 1903.  Presumably, he had already been contracted by Wilhelm Gericke to become Principal viola of the Boston Symphony.  While in Boston, Férir became a US citizen in 1917.  émile Férir was Principal violist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for fifteen seasons, from 1903-1918.  The next season, Leopold Stokowski, who had gone through two Principal violas in three seasons appointed émile Férir Principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra .   Unfortunately for Férir, he also lasted only one season, 1918-1919, with the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Férir then joined the New York Symphony during the early 1920s.  At this time he also joined the Berkshire String Quartet, funded by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge (1864-1953), consisting (at that time at least) of Hugo Kortschak first, Jacques Gordon second, Emile Férir viola, and Emmeran Stoeber cello.  émile Férir had replaced Clarence Evans in the viola position of the Berkshire Quartet.  In the early to mid 1920s, émile Férir was Principal viola for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he joined Sylvain Noack.  In Los Angeles, he was a member of the Philharmonic String Quartet: Sylvain Noack first, Henry Svedrofsky second, Emil Férir viola, Walter Ferner cello.  Emile Férir died in Orange County, California on April 26, 1949.


1921-1932  Georges August Fourel

photo    Georges Fourel in 1923


Georges Fourel was born in Grenoble, France in June 19, 1892 of a French father and Italian mother.  Fourel studied first at the Municipal Conservatoire of Douai (near Lille in the north of France).   This prepared Georges Fourel to gain admission to the Paris Conservatoire.  Georges Fourel won the Premier prix in viola at the Conservatoire in the 1913 Concour.  Upon graduation, Fourel played viola in l'Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux about 1913-1914.  Fourel then joined the orchestra of l'Opéra de Paris in about 1915.  It may have been that Fourel would play both Concerts Lamoureux and the Opera, since in that era, orchestral concerts all occurred at the same time on Saturday afternoons, and musicians were not contracted exclusively.  During World War 1, Georges Fourel served in the French army, was wounded at Verdun, where he won the Croix de Guerre for valor.  In 1918-1920, Georges Fourel played in l'Orchestre des Concerts-Touche and the Concerts de Monte-Carlo.  These were small concerts, with none of the Paris halls of the era holding more than about 1500 listeners.  As can be seen from the photo of Concerts-Touche, below, less than 1000 connaiseurs could attend.

photo   Concerts-Touche hall in about 1920


Georges Fourel emigrated to the US in 1920.  He entered the Boston Symphony subsequent to the 1920 musician's strike at the invitation of Pierre Monteux as a second violin in the 1920-1921 season.  In the 1921-1922 season, Fourel advanced to Principal viola, a path followed by other violinists, such as Burton Fine, 40 years later.  Georges Fourel also played viola in the Boston String Quartet, in which Alwin Schroeder was cello.  In the 1932-1933 season, Jean Lefranc replaced Georges Fourel in the first chair viola position.  Georges Fourel remained with the Boston Symphony viola section until the end of 1953-1954 season, thirty-three years of service.  Georges Fourel became a U.S. citizen in 1932 at the same time as his friend, the cellist Jean Bedetti, and his successor Jean Lefranc.  George Fourel taught at Middlebury College in Vermont in the 1930s.  Also, with the organization of the the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood, Georges Fourel was particularly active with summer instruction of strings.  For example, at Tanglewood, Sarah Caldwell (1924-2006) the conductor studied viola with Georges Fourel in 1946.  After retiring from the Boston Symphony, Georges Fourel seems to have returned to France.  Georges Fourel died July 25, 1955.


1932-1947  Jean Lefranc 


Jean Lefranc, left, with Abdon Laus, Principal bassoon, and Jean Bedetti, Principal cello in mid-1930s


Jean Lefranc was born in St. Quentin Aisne, France, 60 km northwest of Paris on March 28, 1884.  Jean Lefranc entered the Paris Conservatoire where he won Premier prix in the 1907 Concour.  After graduation from the Conservatoire, Jean Lefranc was appointed Principal viola of l'Orchestra of the Théâtre de l'Opéra Comique in Paris (where Pierre Monteux had also been Principal viola a decade previously.  For five seasons, Jean Lefranc become Principal viola in l'Orchestre Colonne in Paris 1920-1924.  The next year, Serge Koussevitzky who likely knew Jean Lefranc's playing from Concerts Koussevitzky in Paris, invited Lefranc to Boston.  So, in Serge Koussevitzky's second season as Music Director, Jean Lefranc joined the viola section of the Boston Symphony in the 1925-1926 season.  Jean Lefranc later succeeding Georges Fourel as Principal viola in 1932, remaining in the first chair in Boston for fourteen seasons.  Jean Lefranc became a U.S. citizen in 1932 at the same time as Georges Fourel, Lefranc's friend and his predecessor as Principal viola of the Boston Symphony.  Jean Lefranc retired from the Boston Orchestra at age 62, following the conclusion of World War 2 at the end of the 1946-1947 season.


1947-1964  Joseph de Pasquale




Joseph de Pasquale was born in Philadelphia in December, 1919.  His father, Oreste de Pasquale was also a violinist, who gave Joseph his first lessons.  Accepted at the Curtis Institute as a violinist, Joseph de Pasquale switched to viola at the suggestion of Max Aronoff of the Curtis String Quartet (1906-1981) and Louis Bailly (1882-1974).  At Curtis, de Pasquale studied with Aronoff and Bailly, and later with William Primrose (1904-1982).  Joseph de Pasquale graduated from Curtis in the Class of 1942.  During World War 2, de Pasquale played in the US Marine Band and Orchestra in Washington DC, and took the train to Philadelphia every two weeks to study with William Primrose.  Following the retirement of Jean Lefranc from the Boston Symphony at the end of the 1946-1947 season, Serge Koussevitzky appointed Joseph de Pasquale Principal viola of the Boston Symphony beginning in the 1947-1948 season.  Jean Cauhapé remained in the second chair of the viola section.  Joseph de Pasquale was married to the niece of Serge Koussevitzky's wife, Natalya Ushkov Koussevitzky.  In Boston, de Pasquale played the very large Gasparo de Salo viola.  Eugene Ormandy favored the richer sound of a large viola and insisted his viola section use these.  Joseph de Pasquale's Gasparo de Salo viola was large even by these standards.  Ormandy had invited Joseph de Pasquale to join the Philadelphia Orchestra on several occasions, and after seventeen seasons in Boston, de Pasquale became Philadelphia Orchestra Principal viola in the 1964-1965 season.  Joseph Pasquale held the first viola position in Philadelphia until he retired at the end of the 1995-1996 season.  Harry Ellis Dickson, BSO violinist, and sometime conductor of the Boston Pops said that de Pasquale was know for two things, besides his music.  One was that he was an excellent cook and the other was his means of expression.  "...he was known as 'Mister Malaprop'...Just before the birth of his first child...I said 'dont do what I did...we waited so long to go the the hospital that the baby was almost born on the way'.  'Oh', he said, if the baby comes, all you goda to do is cut the biblical cord!'" 60 de Pasquale taught at the Curtis Institute for more than 20 years 100, succeeding his teacher and mentor William Primrose.  The list of his successful students in US symphony orchestras is long, his legacy to orchestra music making.


1964-1996  Burton D. Fine




Burton Fine was born in Philadelphia August 7, 1930.  In Philadelphia, Burton Fine studied at both the Curtis Institute and at the University of Pennsylvania.  Burton Fine studied violin with Ivan Galamian (1903-1981) for 5 years at the Curtis.  Burton Fine also studied chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania and received a Ph.D. in chemistry from Illinois Tech.  Fine worked for 8 years as a research chemist.  Burton Fine auditioned for the Boston Symphony, and joined the second violin under Erich Leinsdorf in the 1963-1964 season.  The next season, upon the departure of Joseph de Pasquale, Burton Fine was advanced to Principal Viola.   In 1964, Boston Symphony Principal musicians organized the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, of which Burton Fine was a founding member.  Burton Fine taught a number of famous students at the New England Conservatory, including Roberto Diaz, now Principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Burton Fine's wife Susan Miron is a harp soloist and critic 98.  Harry Ellis Dickinson observed that Burton Fine was one of the "absent minded musicians".   Dickinson wrote about Fine: "...[he] is so preoccupied that he hardly ever greets anyone.  He recently came to me before a rehearsal and asked if I had seen him come in.  When I answered in the affirmative, he asked 'Was I carrying my viola case?'  'I think so' I said.  'Well, then' he said 'it must be here somewhere' 61  In the 1996-1997 season, Burton Fine gave up the Principal viola chair to Steven Ansell.  Burton Fine retired from the Boston Symphony in December, 2004.  You can also see him with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players in the 1964 photo, above.


1996-present  Steven A. Ansell




Steven Ansell was born in Seattle, Washington on February 5, 1954.  At the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, Steven Ansell studied viola with Michael Tree and Karen Tuttle.  He graduated from the Curtis Institute in 1975 94.  In 1975, Steven Ansell went to the University of Houston to teach, where he remained two years.  In the 1977-1978 season, Steven Ansell was appointed Assistant Principal viola of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under André Previn.  In 1979, Steven Ansell founded the Muir String Quartet featuring fellow Curtis Institute graduates: Lucy Chapman Stoltzman first (later Peter Zazofsky first), Bayla Keyes second (later Lucia Lin second), Steven Ansell viola and Michael Reynolds cello), who all met at the Curtis Institute 97 and with whom Ansell is still active 95.  The Muir String Quartet, after more than thirty seasons of performing still is actively touring, including on the East coast while the BSO season is active, demonstrating Steven Ansell's love of chamber music.  Steven Ansell also teaches music at Boston University 96.

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Principal String Basses of the Boston Symphony Orchestra


1881-1885, 1887-1888   August Stein


August Stein

picture from a 1882 photo collage of the Boston Symphony Orchestra


Johann August Stein was born Dresden on 29 July 1821 in the Kingdom of Saxony in Germany prior to German unification.  Professionally, he was billed as August Stein.  August Stein came to Boston with the Saxonia Orchestra from Dresden conducted by Carl Eckhart in about 1848 49.  The Saxonia Orchestra failed, financially, when in Boston, but Carl Eckhart and August Stein and two other musicians (Hermann Kotzschmar and Johann Pinter) remained 241.  In 1861, he married Johanna Kupfer who had also emigrated from Saxony with whom he had 9 children.  In the 1870s, August Stein participated in a number of chamber music concerts, particularly of the Apollo Club of Boston (a singing group still performing today).  August Stein in Boston was also active with the Listemann Concert Company, with Bernard Listemann, first Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony 1881-1885, Adolf Sailer, cello, Carl Meisel, viola, and and Listemann's brother Fritz Listemann, violin and piano.  Johann August Stein died in Boston on 26 October 1891 from Typhoid Fever in that era of poor sanitation.


1976-present  Edwin Barker

Edwin Barker


Edwin B. Barker was born on 14 April 1954 in Clinton County, New York.  In 1976 he graduated with Honors from the New England Conservatory, where he studied double bass with Henry Portnoi, his predecessor as Principal bass of the Boston Symphony.



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Principal Oboes Boston Symphony Orchestra


Famous old story involving the oboes of the Boston Symphony: 

Koussevitzky had the practice of evaluating new scores by having the orchestra perform them, rather than by reading the score of the music (which is said not to have been one of his strengths).  During one such performance of new scores, the rendition of a work was particularly rough.  Between two such works, the second oboe, Jean deVergie turned to the Principal oboe, Fernand Gillet and asked "what are we playing next ?"  When Gillet indicated the next work, deVergie exclaimed "mon Dieu, that's what I just played !"


1881-1882  Dr. Antonio L. De Ribas



Likely Paul Clemens Fischer, left and Antonio De Ribas, right in this 1882 composite photo-collage of the Boston Symphony Orchestra


Imagine a Boston Symphony musician born ten years before Beethoven composed his Symphony no 9.  In fact, that was the case with Dr. Antonio L. De Ribas.  De Ribas was born in Madrid, Spain on January 12, 1814 when Beethoven and Schubert were composing some of their finest works.  After his musical education in Spain, Antonio De Ribas made his London debut as an oboe soloist in 1837.  De Ribas first appeared in New York in 1839 139.  By 1857, Dr. De Ribas was teaching music in Boston.  De Ribas was Principal oboe during the first season of the Boston Symphony.  In the second oboe chair that first season was Paul Clemens Fischer (born Ronneburg, near Leipzig, Germany February 9, 1858).  Both Fischer and De Ribas left the Boston Symphony after that first season. In the 1890s, Dr. De Ribas was teaching at the New England Conservatory.  He also formed a business that provided theatrical scenery in the first decade of the 1900s.  Philip Hale wrote that Antonio De Ribas was the first in the US to play the English horn in concerts as a solo instrument 139.  It is hard to think how one could be sure of such a claim, but given the lack of even oboes and bassoons in US orchestras before the Civil War playing for example Haydn, it may well be true.  Antonio De Ribas died in Boston January 28, 1907, age 93.


1882-1883  Hugo Hemmann


Hugo Hemmann was born in Saxe-Weimar, in the present state of Thuringia in central Germany in March, 1859.  Hugo Hemmann was brother of the violinist Friedhold Hemmann (August 15, 1845-after 1910) and the cellist Carl Hemmann (1851-before 1910).  They emigrated together to the U.S. in 1866.  Both Friedhold Hemmann and Carl Hemmann played with the New York Philharmonic Society in 1877-1879.  Hugo Hemmann was the Principal oboe of the Boston Symphony during its second season 1882-1883.  Carl Hemmann by the 1891-1892 season was playing cello, probably Principal, in the New York Symphony under Walter Damrosch.  By 1889, Hugo Hemmann, Carl Hemmann and Friedhold Hemmann all were musicians in New York City.  Carl Hemmann died after 1922.  Friedhold Hemmann died after 1916.


1887-1896   Auguste Marie Louis Sautet


Auguste Sautet was born in France in March, 1849.  In about 1865, Auguste Sautet began studies at the Paris Conservatoire.  After the Conservatoire, Sautet played oboe with the Colonne Orchestra and with the Paris Opera Orchestra.   Auguste Sautet also played from 1879-1881 with the legendary flutist Paul Taffanel (1844-1904) in Taffanel's Paris wind society group (Société de musique de chambre pour instruments à vent) 18.  In 1887, Wilhelm Gericke invited Auguste Sautet to come to Boston as Principal oboe with the Boston Symphony.  At that time, French wind players were widely admired for precision and delicacy.  Auguste Sautet was Principal oboe of the Boston Symphony from 1887-1896.  In the 1897-1898 season, Emil Paur selected another Paris Conservatoire graduate, Albert Weiss to come to Boston as Principal oboe.  Auguste Sautet then moved to the second oboe chair, with Frederick C. Mueller remaining as English horn.  Auguste Sautet remained as oboe with the Boston Symphony until the end of the 1911-1912 season. 


1896-1898  Albert Weiss


Albert Weiss was born in Paris March 7, 1864.  Weiss entered the Paris Conservatoire, was a student of the great teacher, Georges Gillet (1854-1920), head of the oboe program at the Paris Conservatoire from 1882-1919, and uncle of future BSO oboe Fernand Gillet.  Weiss won the oboe Premier prix in the 1882 Conservatoire Concour.  Georges Gillet was in fact the teacher of all the Boston Symphony Principal oboes from 1896-1946.  Some of Gillet's famous pupils included Marcel Tabuteau   Principal oboe of the Philadelphia Orchestra, two other Principal oboes of the Boston Symphony, including Gillet's nephew Fernand Gillet and Georges Longy, Alfred Barthel (Chicago), and Alexandre Duvoir (Minneapolis).  Albert Weiss was Second oboe of the Boston Symphony during the two seasons, 1896-1898.  However, his tenure was cut short by a tragic event.  At the end of Weiss's second season, on July 4, 1898 returning to Boston after summer holiday in France, Principal flute Leon Jacquet, his wife and child along with Léon Pourtau, Principal clarinet and Albert Weiss, Principal oboe, all perished in the shipwreck of the French steamship La Bourgogne killing 600 persons 218.  As well as being a major tragedy, this loss of three of the Boston Symphony section heads precipitated a crisis for the Boston Symphony, and its conductor Wilhelm Gericke just returning to the Boston Symphony as Music Director after nine years.  With the 1898-1899 season being only three months away, the orchestra telegraphed to the Paris Conservatorie, requesting the best available oboe.  As a result, in September, 1898 at the age of 30, Georges Longy arrived in Boston.  Longy was to remain Principal oboe of the Boston Symphony for twenty-seven seasons.


1898-1925  Gustave Georges Leópold Longy




Georges Longy, born in Abbeville (near Caen), France on August 29, 1868.  Longy was a student of the great teacher, Georges Gillet (1854-1920), head of the oboe program at the Paris Conservatoire from 1882-1919.  Georges Longy where he won the Premier prix in the 1886 Concour 12.  In the 1888-1889 season, Longy became Principal oboe of the Colonne Orchestra of Paris.  Following the unexpected death of Albert Weiss in the summer 1898, Wilhelm Gericke sent for Georges Longy to join the Boston Symphony as Principal oboe.  Longy was also active in chamber music.  For 14 years, 1899-1913, with the funding of Elise Hall, Longy founded the Boston Orchestral Club, a small semi-professional symphony which played works perhaps too avant-guard for the Boston Symphony 11.  In 1899, he formed the Georges Longy Club, a wind chamber music group, which played music from the Baroque to modern eras.  The Longy Club was active for 21 seasons, 1899-192012.  The Georges Longy Club was modeled after the Paris wind group organized by the great flutist Paul Taffanel (1844-1908): Société de musique de chambre pour instruments à vent.  Among the musicians playing in the Taffanel group were several of Longy friends and colleagues: oboist Auguste Sautet  clarinetists Paul Mimart, Georges Grisez and Fernand Gillet.  The first concert of the Georges Longy Club took place on December 18, 1899, in Association Hall, Boston.  The initial listed members were: Georges Longy, oboe, André Maquarre, flute, Alexandre Selmer, clarinet, Albert Hackebarth, horn, Hugo Litke , bassoon and Heinrick Gebbard, piano.  Listed as "Assisting Players" were Arthur Brooke , who was then Assistant Principal flute of the BSO, Auguste Sautet , oboe; Peter Metzger , clarinet; Paul Litke , bassoon (brother of Hugo Litke) and Frank (or Franz) Hain , horn 24.    Later Georges Longy Club players were Clément Lenom , oboe, and Heinrich Lorbeer, horn.  Georges Longy seems to have gone back to France every summer from at least 1904-1924.  In 1915, to further musical education, Longy, with Charles Loefler (1861-1935) created the Longy School of Music in Boston, which still exists.  At the end of the 1924-1925 season Georges Longy left the Boston Symphony, seeming as a result of disagreements with the new Boston Symphony conductor, Serge Koussevitzky.  Georges Longy returned to France, and settled near his birthplace in Abbeville.  It seems that on his return to France, Longy no longer played the oboe in public.  Georges Longy died at Abbeville while out for a walk in March, 1930.


A Georges Longy story:  BSO clarinet Rosario Mazzio (1911-1997) has told an excellent Georges Longy story.  A young oboe player came to Longy, asking for the privilege to study with him.  Longy replied "Oh non! I nevaire give lessons, nevaire!".  The student, despairing, said "but I came all the way to Boston to have lessons with you!"  Longy replied, "but zhat is too bad, because I NEVaire give lessons."  Student: "Well, I do not really want lessons, what I REALLY want is to know the secret of your vibrato."   Longy: "Oh-ho, so zat is eet - ze Secret! ... So, now take out your oboe...Good...Now, play for me one long tone."  Pupil plays a few warm-up tones and then plays a long tone.  "Now play it espressivo!"  Student plays.  Longy shakes his head, then says, "now play it again" and as the pupil plays, Longy reaches forward and gently moves the bell of the oboe from side to side.  Longy: "Do you hear Zhat?"  Student: 'Yes ! YES !?"  Longy asks him to do it again, and process is repeated.  Longy states "Vairy good, vairy good, and that will be twenty-five dollaire, please."


1925-1946   Fernand Charles Ernest Gillet




Fernand Gillet was born in Paris, France October 15, 1882.  He studied at the Paris Conservatoire with his uncle, Georges Gillet (1854-1920), head of the oboe program for nearly 40 years at the Conservatoire. At the Conservatoire, he won second prize in 1896 and Premier prix in the Concour of 1897.  From 1901 to about 1924, Fernand Gillet was Principal oboe of the Lamoureux Orchestra of Paris.  During that same period, starting in 1902, Fernand Gillet was second oboe to his uncle Georges Gillet at the l'Opéra de Paris 21.  During World War 1, Gillet was a fighter pilot and was awarded the Croix de Guerre 21.  In 1925, Koussevitzky substantially changed the oboe section of the Boston Symphony.  Georges Longy was replaced as Principal oboe by Fernand Gillet, and Clement Lenom, second oboe 1901-1925 was replaced by Jean Devergie (who was to remain as Assistant Principal oboe for thirty-nine seasons, 1925-1964).  Fernand Gillet married his student and second wife, Marie Louise, 16 years younger than he in 1931.  He became a U.S. citizen in 1933.  Interestingly, Gillet never made his own reeds, but like Phillip Kirchner of the Cleveland Orchestra, Bruno Labate Principal oboe with the New York Philharmonic, and Juilliard bassoon teacher Simon Kovar, always purchased them.  Gillet is said by a number of his students (he taught mainly at the New England Conservatory in Boston) to have been a gifted teacher.  For example, the flutist Joe Armstrong wrote "...Not many people realize today that the legendary Fernand Gillet frequently taught advanced players from the entire woodwind family who found that his unique way of developing superior technique and expressive control had something crucial to offer them beyond what they received from the expert teachers of their own instruments..." 22.  Gillet continued to teach into his nineties.  Gillet was long lived, and died in suburban Boston in March 8, 1980, aged 98.


1947-1950  John A. Holmes

photo   John Holmes in 1959


John A. "Jack" Holmes was born in Cleveland Heights, Ohio July 20, 1918.  Jack Holmes's father, Percy Holmes, was a Professor at Ohio Wesleyan University (100 km southwest of Cleveland), and Jack grew up in that atmosphere.  In about 1933, Holmes began study with Bert Gassman who was English horn solo with the Cleveland Orchestra.  In the Autumn of 1936, Holmes went to the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Robert Bloom for one year and then with for three years with Robert Sprenkle (1914-1988).  Sprenkle was Principal oboe of the Eastman-Rochester Philharmonic for 48 years.  Robert Bloom was one of the great oboists of his generation.  Bloom was Principal oboe with the Rochester Philharmonic under Jose Iturbi.  Previously from 1930-1936, Bloom had been English horn under Leopold Stokowski in Philadelphia.  Stokowski had been searching for a leading English horn player, changing English horn in for each of the previous five Philadelphia seasons until he found Robert Bloom.  Then, in 1938, Robert Bloom for the initial season of the NBC Symphony was Principal oboe of Arturo Toscanini's orchestra.


After his study with Bloom and Sprenkle, in 1940 Jack Holmes went to the Oklahoma Symphony as Principal oboe.  In the summers of 1940 and 1941, Holmes studied at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood (later renamed the Tanglewood Music Center) with Fernand Gillet, then Boston Principal oboe.  In the following five seasons 1942-1947, John 'Jack' Holmes went through a series of American orchestras of increasing prestige.  These were: the Kansas City Symphony,  the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra summer concerts, the National Symphony of Washington and finally, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.  In 1947, Serge Koussevitzky, who had noted Holmes at Tanglewood selected him as Principal oboe to succeed his teacher, Fernand Gillet.  John Holmes was Principal in Boston for three seasons, oboe 1947-1950.  Charles Munch then selected Ralph Gomberg as Principal oboe, and Jack Holmes moved to the second chair next to Ralph Gomberg for a further twenty-seven seasons, from 1950-1977, certainly a distinguished first oboe stand.  John Holmes died in suburban Boston on May 21, 1998.


1950-1987   Ralph Lewis Gomberg

photo   Ralph Gomberg circa 1951


Ralph Gomberg was born in Malden, Massachusetts June 18, 1921, the youngest in a musical family with 3 brothers (including famous oboe Harold Gomberg) and 2 sisters being musicians.  Ralph and Harold Gomberg both studied oboe with the legendary Marcel Tabuteau at the Curtis Institute.  Ralph Gomberg at age 14 was Marcel Tabuteau's youngest-ever oboe student.  In fact 5 of the 7 Gomberg children studied at the Curtis Institute.  Gomberg's parents, Nathan Gomberg and Mary Levin Gomberg both encouraged their children in music.  A third brother, Leo was Principal trumpet of the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra (where Ralph met his wife Sydelle, a dancer at the Radio City Hall).  Brother Leo Gomberg also played with the City Center Orchestra under Leonard Bernstein, just as Ralph was to do.  Sister Ciel was a violinist for the NBC staff orchestra, and sister Edyth was a cellist, later marrying George Zazofsky, Boston Symphony violinist 1942-1970 and Assistant Concertmaster.  After Curtis, in 1940, Leopold Stokowski hired Ralph Gomberg, age 18 as first oboist for his All-American Youth Orchestra.


In 1942, Ralph Gomberg joined the New York City Center Orchestra as Principal oboe under Leonard Bernstein.  Then, Ralph Gomberg was Principal oboe with the Baltimore Symphony.  He later joined the Mutual Broadcasting Symphony as first oboe, a desirable position which gave him year-around employment (important in that era of partial orchestral seasons.)  Ralph Gomberg joined the Boston Symphony under Charles Munch in the 1950-1951 season, succeeding Jack Holmes, who moved to the second oboe chair.  Ralph Gomberg served as Principal oboe of the Boston Symphony for 38 seasons until the end of 1986-1987 as Principal oboe.  Ralph Gomberg was an active teacher at the Peabody Institute, Baltimore, the New England Conservatory, and at Boston University.  Ralph Gomberg died in December 9, 2006 in Wayland, Massachusetts.


1987-1998  Alfred J. Genovese


Alfred Genovese was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 25, 1931. His father was also a musician.  At age 16, Genovese began study with John Minsker who had previously been English horn with the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Admitted to the Curtis Institute, Alfred Genovese was one of the last oboe students of Marcel Tabuteau.  Upon graduation from Curtis in the Class of 1953, Genovese became an oboe with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for three seasons 1953-1956.  Alfred Genovese then went to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra where he was Principal oboe under Vladimir Golschmann and Edouard van Remoortel 1956-1959.   In the 1959-1960 season, Genovese went to the Cleveland Orchestra as Principal oboe briefly for one season under George Szell.  This was the single season in which Marc Lifschey was away from Cleveland during his long Cleveland tenure 1950-1959 and 1960-1965.  In this 1959-1960 season, Lifschey was Principal oboe of the Metropolitan Opera.  Upon his return to Cleveland, Alfred Genovese replaced him as Principal oboe of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the 1960-1961 season.  Alfred Genovese remained at the Metropolitan Opera for 17 seasons 1960-1977.  In the 1977-1978 season, with the departure of Jack Holmes from Boston, Alfred Genovese left the Metropolitan Opera to take the third oboe chair (Associate Principal oboe) of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Wayne Rapier moved up to the second chair (Assistant Principal) of the Boston Symphony oboes.  Upon the retirement of Ralph Gomberg at the end of the 1986-1987 season, Alfred Genovese took the first chair oboe position. 


In the Boston Symphony programs for the 1987-1990 seasons, Alfred Genovese was listed as "Acting Principal oboe" He was then confirmed in the first chair position and is now deservedly listed as Principal oboe 1987-1998.  Alfred Genovese was a regular at the Marlboro Music Festival in the summers from at least 1955 into the 1980s.  He was also a New York freelance session musician in the early 1970s at the time he was with the Metropolitan Opera.  He he has taught oboe at the New England Conservatory of Music, and the Manhattan School of Music.  Alfred Genovese retired from the Boston Symphony at the end of the 1997-1998 season.


1998-2001   Principal Oboe Chair open


2001-present   John Ferrillo




John Ferrillo was born in Massachusetts in 1955.  He was raised in Bedford, Massachusetts in a musical family.  Ferrillo's mother was a music teacher with a Masters degree in music education.  As a youth, Ferrillo played oboe in the Greater Boston Youth Symphony.  John Ferrillo then followed the footsteps of two great Boston Symphony oboe predecessors, Alfred Genovese and Genovese's predecessor, Ralph Gomberg, entering the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.  Ferrillo studied for 5 years at the Curtis with John de Lancieof the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he received his Artist's Diploma and Artist's Certificate in the Class of 1977.  Ralph Gomberg, Alfred Genovese and John de Lancie were all pupils of the legendary oboist and teacher Marcel Tabuteauat the Curtis Institute.  Ferrillo studied at the Blossom Music Festival with John Mack.  He also participated at the Marlboro Music Festival.  Upon graduation from Curtis in 1977, John Ferrillo freelanced for a year.  In 1977, he also played Principal oboe with the suburban Washington D.C. Fairfax Symphony Orchestra.  For six years during the late 1970s and early 1980s, John Ferrillo taught at the University of West Virginia.  He was constantly working towards a major symphony orchestra position during these years.  In interviews, John Ferrillo has pointed out the challenges for a beginning musician to build a career.  He said that he "blew off" nine years and 21 auditions, prior to landing his first position as assistant Principal oboe of the San Francisco Symphony 54.  Ferrillo in May, 1985 won the competition to become second oboe of the San Francisco Symphony to begin in the 1985-1986 season, under Herbert Blomstedt.  Then, only months later, in September, 1985, Ferrillo won the Principal oboe audition for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.  Ferrillo joined the MET for the 1986-1987 season, and remained as Principal Oboe for fifteen seasons, 1986 to 2001.  At the same time as his tenure at the Metropolitan Opera, Ferrillo taught oboe at the Juilliard School.  Then, in 2001, Ferrillo succeeded Alfred Genovese, Principal oboe of the Boston Symphony who had retired at the end of the 1997-1998 season.  Ferrillo also began to teach at Boston University and the New England Conservatory.  John Ferrillo is admired for his singing tone and phrasing, which some speculate may have been reinforced during his years at the Metropolitan Opera.  John Ferrillo's colleagues observe that his way of shaping and phrasing a line of music, and his intensity bring alive the teaching of Ferrillo's great mentor John de Lancie.  As such, he continues a tradition of the Boston Symphony winds, and in particular the oboe section which is not surpassed by another orchestra.




1914 - Wind section of the Boston Symphony

standing: August Battles, flute, Albert Chevrot, flute, Max Fuhrmann, bassoon, Edmond Mueller, bassoon, Paul Mimart, clarinet, Arthur Brooke, flute, Augusto Vannini, clarinet, Pierre Fossé, oboe, Clement Lenom, oboe

seated: André Maquarre, Principal flute, Joseph Mosbach, Principal bassoon, Peter Sadony, bassoon, Georges Longy, Principal Oboe, F. C. Mueller, oboe, Karl Stumpf, bass clarinet, Georges Grisez, Principal clarinet

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Principal Bassoons Boston Symphony Orchestra


1881-1883  Paul Richard Eltz (Senior)



Paul Eltz, left with Ernst Regestein, right, first bassoons of the Boston Symphony in this 1881 composite photo-collage


Paul Richard Eltz Sr. was born in Dresden, Germany on December 18, 1817.  He emigrated to the U.S. in 1848 with his wife Amelia and son Paul Jr., first to New York City and then to Boston.  From 1866, and during the 1870s, Paul Eltz was a music teacher and musician in Boston.  In 1875, Paul Eltz is listed as teaching at the New England Conservatory.  Paul Eltz was one of the early generation of Boston professional orchestra musicians playing in the Handel and Haydn Society Orchestra, beginning in the 1860s 136.  In 1881, Paul Eltz was the first Principal bassoon of the Boston Symphony under George Henschel in its initial season.  His son, Paul Richard Eltz, Jr.   (1845-after 1920), born in Germany just before the family came to the U.S., was in the Boston Symphony viola section during the first 1881-1882 season.  Paul Eltz Jr. was also a music teacher in Boston, and remained in the Orchestra only for the first season.  Paul Eltz Sr. as Principal bassoon for two seasons 1881-1883.  remained in the bassoon section of the Boston Symphony for additional two seasons, 1881-1883.  Paul Eltz Sr. seems to have died in Boston before 1900.


1881-1882  Ernst Regestein  Assistant Principal bassoon


Ernst Regestein was born in Germany in April, 10 1846.  He emigrated to the U.S. in 1865, and was an active musician in Boston, both teaching and in orchestras and chamber groups.  In the Boston Symphony Orchestra first season, 1881-1882, Regestein was what we would title today the Assistant Principal bassoon of the Boston Symphony.  Regestein returned to the Boston Symphony in 1904 and remained until the end of the 1911-1912 season as third bassoon, first under Principal bassoon Albert Debuchy 1904-1905, and then under Peter Sadony, beginning 1905-1906.  Ernst Regestein left the Boston Symphony at the end of the 1911-1912 season after a total of nine seasons. See the interesting photograph of Ernst Regestein with his first stand Assistant bassoon Paul Eltz, from the first season BSO photograph (actually a composite photo-collage done in 1882, above.  Ernst Regestein died in Boston in February, 1936, just short of his ninetieth birthday.


1883-1886  Fedor Ernst Bernhardi




Fedor Bernhardi was born in Ronneburg, Hesse, Germany (about 40 km east of Frankfurt) in May 29, 1852.  In Georg Henschel's last season 1883-1884, Fedor Bernhardi joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as Principal bassoon, with Christian Dietsch as his stand partner, and Louis Post, contrabassoon.  Fedor Bernhardi was Principal bassoon of the Boston Symphony for three seasons, continuing under Wilhelm Gericke, departing at the end of the 1885-1886 season.  Fedor Bernhardi had married Frances Shaw in New York City in 1886.  Fedor Bernhardi thereafter lived in Queens, New York with his wife and three sons.  In New York, Fedor Bernhardi was Principal bassoon of the New York Philharmonic beginning in the 1893-1894 season.


1886-1891  Frederick Hermann Guenzel (or Günzel)


Frederick Hermann Guenzel, or Günzel, was born in Bavaria, Germany March 20, 1849.  Frederick Hermann Guenzel was Principal bassoon of the Boston Symphony for five seasons, 1886-1891, and continued for fifteen more seasons as second bassoon.  He was also active in chamber music concerts, including the Molé Chamber Music Concert Club.  Guenzel taught at the New England Conservatory.  His music teaching in Boston continued at least until 1906.  He performed under the listing of F. Hermann Guenzel, and F. H. Günzel (in some BSO programs), and Frederick Gunzel, so tracing him can be challenging.  At the Conservatory, he was Hermann Guenzel.  Frederick Hermann Guenzel was one of the longer-serving bassoons of the Boston Symphony, for 1886-1906, twenty seasons, exceeded only by such famous BSO bassoons as Ernst Panenka (45 seasons), Richard Plaster (40), Sherman Walt (36), Raymond Allard (30), Abdon Laus (27), and Roland Small (24 seasons).  Hopefully, our current BSO bassoon greats Richard Svoboda, Suzanne Nelson, Richard Ranti, and Gregg Henegar may surpass these records.  Rich in service, Frederick Hermann Guenzel died in Boston, rather young, sometime before 1910.


1891-1894  Adolf Guetter


Adolf Guetter (or Gütter) was born in Germany in about 1866.   His was a musical family, and his brother, Julius Guetter, was also a violin and bassoon player.  Adolf Guetter studied under Julius Weissenborn (1837-1888) at the Leipzig Conservatory starting in about 1882 or 1883.  Julius Weissenborn had been Principal bassoon with the the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra from 1857-1887 as well as teaching at the Leipzig Conservatory.  After playing several years in Germany, Adolf Guetter came to Boston in 1891 at the invitation of Arthur Nikisch, who had likely known Guetter from Nikisch's period as Principal conductor of the Stadt Theater, Leipzig.  Adolf Guetter was Principal bassoon with the Boston Symphony under Arthur Nikisch for two seasons 1891-1893.  Guetter's last season 1893-1894 was under Nikisch's successor, Emil Paur.  Upon returning to Germany following the Boston Symphony, in 1901, Adolf Guetter was in Berlin playing chamber music 129.   In the 1910s, Adolf Guetter was Principal bassoon at the Royal Court Opera, Berlin ("Königliche Hofoper", renamed "Staatsoper unter den Linden" after the war).   At the same time, Adolf Guetter taught at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory of Music in Berlin prior to World War 1.  Adolf Guetter also took part for several years in the Beethoven Fest, held in Bonn each autumn (and still today).  In Berlin, Adolf Guetter was teacher of his nephew, Walter Guetter (1895-1937) who was Principal bassoon of the Chicago Symphony (1916-1918 and 1919-1922) and of the Philadelphia Orchestra for fifteen seasons (1922-1937).  Julius Guetter, younger brother of Adolf Guetter, and father of Walter Guetter was a violin maker who also settled in Philadelphia.


1894-1901   Hugo E. Litke




Hugo Litke was born in Hamburg, Germany on September 14, 1863.  Theodore Thomas traveled in Europe, particularly in Germany and Austria each summer, recruiting musicians and collecting new music.  Thomas engaged Hugo Litke to come to the US for the initial two seasons of Thomas's Chicago Orchestra as it was then called.  Hugo Litke was Principal bassoon in Chicago 1891-1893.  Hugo Litke's brother, Paul Litke (1870- ) was also a bassoon player and joined Hugo Litke as a substitute bassoon with the Chicago Symphony.  In 1894, Hugo Litke relocated to New York City.  Then, in the 1894-1895 season, Hugo Litke joined the Boston Symphony under Emil Paur as Principal bassoon.  Paul Litke soon joined his brother in Boston in 1896-1897, playing bassoon and contrabassoon.  Hugo Litke remained Principal bassoon in Boston 1894-1901.  During that period, the Boston Symphony bassoon section comprised Hugo Litke and Paul Litke with the long-time (1886-1906) BSO Second bassoon and contrabassoon Frederick Hermann Guenzel .  While in Boston, Hugo Litke was also active in the Georges Longy Club, a wind chamber music group organized by Georges Longy.  Hugo Litke also played chamber music with the Kneisel Quartet.   At the end of the 1900-1901 season, Hugo and Paul Litke left the Boston Symphony, now under the direction of Wilhelm Gericke.  Seven seasons later, Hugo Litke again returned to Boston for the 1907-1908 season, sitting in the Second bassoon chair, next to Principal bassoon Peter Sadony. 


1901-1905  Albert Debuchy


Albert Debuchy was born in Boulogne in the Pas-de-Calais region of the north of France in 1864.  Albert Debuchy gained admission to the Paris Conservatoire where he studied under under the famous bassoon virtuoso Louis-Marie-Eugène Jancourt. 

photo   Louis-Marie-Eugène Jancourt (1815-1901)


Jancourt was professor at the Conservatoire from 1875-1891.  Following graduation, Albert Debuchy played bassoon in the orchestra of the Théâtre de l'Opéra-Comique, Paris.  Wilhelm Gericke recruited Debuchy to come to the U.S. to join the Boston Symphony in the 1901-1902 season as Principal bassoon.  Albert Debuchy remained Principal bassoon for four seasons 1901-1905.  In the 1905-1906 season, Wilhelm Gericke brought in Willy Hess as the new BSO Concertmaster, and Peter Sadony as Principal bassoon.  For the next two seasons, 1905-1907, Albert Debuchy was assistant to Peter Sadony in the second bassoon chair, with Ernst Regestein in third, and John Helleberg as contrabassoon.  In 1907, while Karl Muck was Music Director, Albert Debuchy conducted a concert of French romantic music with musicians primarily drawn from the Boston Symphony.  After the 1906-1907 season, Albert Debuchy seems to have returned to France.


1905-1916   Peter Sadony




Peter Sadony was born in Erbach, near Wiesbaden, Germany on June 26, 1865. Sadony studied bassoon in Berlin. He held positions in Regensberg (Switzerland), Berlin, and Riga (Latvia, at that time part of Russia).  Peter Sadony then joined the Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne.  Peter Sadony's contemporary Willy Hess was Concertmaster of the Gürzenich Orchestra.  Willy Hess came to the Boston Symphony under Wilhelm Gericke as Concertmaster in the 1904-1905 season.  Then, the next season, Willy Hess's brother Max Hess, who had been Principal horn in Cologne, and his colleague Peter Sadony, bassoon, came to the Boston Symphony together for the 1905-1906 season.  At the Gürzenich Orchestra, Peter Sadony had been Principal bassoon.  In Boston, Peter Sadony was Principal bassoon of the Boston Symphony for 11 seasons, through the 1915-1916 season.  Then, in late September, just before the start of the 1916-1917 season, Peter Sadony had surgery for appendicitis.  Peter Sadony died unexpectedly on September 19, 1916 122, probably of peritonitis following the procedure, at the early age of 50, this in the age before antibiotics.


1916-1918   Joseph Henry (or Heinrich) Mosbach


Joseph Mosbach was born May 7, 1888 in the same town as Peter Sadony, in Erbach, near Wiesbaden, Germany.  Joseph Mosbach emigrated to Boston in October, 1910 to join the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Max Fiedler in the 1910-1911 season. Mosbach was initially contra-bassoon under Peter Sadony, the Principal bassoon.  After six seasons with the Boston Symphony 1910-1916 as contrabassoon, Peter Sadony unexpectedly died. Karl Muck in the 1916-1917 season elevated Joseph Mosbach to the Principal bassoon chair.  After three seasons as Principal bassoon, Joseph Mosbach left the Boston Symphony at the end of the 1917-1918 season, perhaps dismissed by the incoming conductor, Henri Rabaud.  Joseph Mosbach then went on to become Principal bassoon of the Detroit Symphony under Ossip Gabrilowitsch.  Mosbach remained in Detroit for twenty-one seasons 1919-1940.  After retiring from the Detroit Symphony, Joseph Mosbach moved to California where he died in Riverside April 17, 1967 at age 78.


1918-1936  Abdon Flavien Laus



Abdon Laus was born in Algeria, then a territory of France on April 10, 1888.  He studied bassoon at the Paris Conservatoire where he received Premier prix in bassoon in the 1910 Concour.  Abdon Laus performed in the Paris Diaghilev Ballets Russes Orchestra under Pierre Monteux in 1913-1914.   There are differing versions as to whether or not it was Abdo Laus who performed the difficult bassoon solos in the famous premiere of Le Sacre du Printemps May 29, 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-élysées, conducted by Pierre Monteux  This leads to a funny story told by Richard Plaster, contrabassoon of the Boston Symphony (1952-1992) about Pierre Monteux hiring Abdon Laus:  "...When Mr. Monteux had a first bassoon vacancy in Boston, he received a phone call from a bassoon player who said, 'Maestro, I hear you are looking for a first bassoonist. I was your first bassoonist in the Ballet Russe, and I would like to play for you in Boston.'  Laus was given the job then and there. Laus 'friends' in the orchestra said that Monteux thought he was talking to Benjamin Kohon..." 25.  True or not, the story is certainly amusing.  As told in the Benjamin Kohn - Philadelphia Orchestra section, Benjamin Kohon did play in the Orchestra of Diaghilev's Ballet Russe American tours in the summer of 1915 under Ansermet, and in summer 1916 under Monteux.  One contextual problem with the story is that Abdon Laus had already joined the Boston Symphony as Principal bassoon in 1918 under Henri Rabaud, before Monteux's appointment.  But, perhaps Monteux did cause the 1918 Laus hiring, since he conducted the Boston Symphony at the beginning of the 1918-1919 season, before Henri Rabaud was able to arrive in Boston.  In any case, it is too good a story to pass up. 


After the Ballet Russe tour, Abdon Laus had returned to France during World War 1, and then returned to the Boston Symphony in the 1918-1919 season as Principal bassoon.  Laus also became a U.S. citizen the same year.  Laus remained Principal bassoon for eighteen seasons until demoted by Serge Koussevitzky after the 1935-1936 season.  Abdon Laus then moved to the third chair of the Boston Symphony bassoon section for nine further seasons, 1936-1945.  There are some accounts that Abdon Laus also played the saxophone, (and well) as needed in Boston Symphony concerts.  Abdon Laus died in Massachusetts, reportedly of cancer on July 29, 1945.


1936-1953  Raymond T. Allard


Raymond Allard was born in Sin-le-Noble, 20 km south of Lille in the north of France in 1898.  He initially studied at the Conservatoire de Douai, 25 km east of his home, in preparation for the Paris Conservatoire admissions examination.  Accepted at Paris, Raymond Allard entered and won first prize in bassoon at the Paris Conservatoire in 1922.  Allard was apparently recruited on the spot for the Boston Symphony.  Raymond Allard's nephew, Maurice Allard (1923-2004) was also a leading bassoon player in Paris, and taught at the Paris Conservatoire (retired in 1988) and told Gerald Corey that:  "...My uncle told me the day of his public concour for first prize at the Conservatoire in Paris, the manager of the Boston Symphony, present in the hall, proposed engagement with the BSO and signed him up right there..." 58  So, following graduation from the Conservatoire, Raymond Allard joined the Boston Symphony bassoon section under Pierre Monteux in the 1922-1923 season, replacing Edward Mueller (1908-1922) in the second bassoon chair.  Allard became Principal bassoon in the 1932-1933 season.  During World War 2, Raymond Allard played in an Army band.  Raymond Allard, rather than the German bassoon models (e.g. Heckel) used in many American orchestras later, used exclusively the Buffet-Crampon oboe (no white ring).  Raymond Allard was also known as an avid photographer.  After retiring from the Boston Symphony at the end of the 1952-1953 season at age 55, Raymond Allard visited France, and then settled in Leominster (suburban Boston), Massachusetts.  Raymond Allard died in nearby Fitchburg Massachusetts on July 25, 1976, age 77. 110.


1953-1989 Sherman Abbott Walt


Sherman Walt was born in Virginia, Minnesota August 22, 1923 of Russian-Jewish parents, Benjamin and Pearl Walt. When Sherman Walt was a teen-ager, Dmitri Mitropoulos, then conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony told Benjamin and Pearl "This boy has to play the bassoon." Walt was admitted to the Curtis Institute in about 1939, and Mitropoulos sent Walt a monthly allowance. At Curtis, Sherman Walt studied under Ferdinand Del Negro and the legendary Marcel Tabuteau .  In about 1942, Sherman Walt entered the U.S. Army where he won a Bronze Star, participating from the Normandy landings until the entry into Germany.  Upon discharge, Sherman Walt returned to Curtis for his graduation with the Class of 1946.  Immediately thereafter, Sherman Walt joined the bassoon section of the Chicago Symphony in the 1946-1947 season.  On the departure of long-time Chicago Principal bassoon Hugo Fox to start his Fox instrument company (making bassoons and other double-reed instruments) in 1949, Sherman Walt became Principal bassoon of the Chicago Symphony for two seasons, 1949-1951.  In the 1953-1954 season, based in part on a recommendation by George Szell, Sherman Walt joined the Boston Symphony under Charles Munch as Principal bassoon. Sherman Walt was Principal bassoon of the Boston Symphony for 36 seasons.  During this time, Sherman Walt was a musical legend among bassoonists because of his long career, his rich and clean intonation, and his many students.  Sherman Walt taught bassoon at Boston University and the New England Conservatory.  Sherman Walt retired from the Boston Symphony at the end of the 1988-1989 season in May, 1989.  Sadly, Sherman Walt died just months after retiring, hit by an automobile in suburban Boston on October 26,1989.


1989-present  Richard A. Svoboda




Richard Svoboda was born in Nebraska on September 24, 1956.  He entered the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, where he studied the bassoon with Gary Echols and music with Emanuel Wishnow 112.  Richard Svoboda graduated with a bachelor of music education with distinction in 1978.  Following graduation, Richard Svoboda studied bassoon with George Berry, then and still today Principal bassoon of the St. Louis Symphony, who had visited Lincoln as part of a St. Louis Symphony tour 112.  Following his studies with George Barry, Richard Svoboda performed for ten seasons as Principal bassoon with the Jacksonville (Florida) Symphony.  In the 1989-1990 season, Richard Svoboda was selected as Principal horn of the Boston Symphony following on from Sherman Walt.  Richard Svoboda is reported to play a Heckel bassoon.  He has also exercised his chamber music flair through his playing with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players since joining in 1989.  His activities in contemporary works have included John William's bassoon work Five Sacred Trees, and the 2007 premiere of Michael Gandolfi's Concerto for Bassoon.  An additional distinction is that he is not only respected as section leader, but particularly well-liked by his colleagues.  Beginning in 2011, Richard Svoboda is appointed Chair of Woodwinds at the New England Conservatory.


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A Clarinet and the Boston Symphony Orchestra On Tour

From its earliest years, the Boston Symphony Orchestra toured widely, first in the U.S. and then internationally.  George Norwood Humphrey, long-time BSO viola recounts 121 an amusing BSO touring story.   The violinist Henri Casadesus (1879-1947 and uncle of pianist Robert Casadesus) and the composer Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) were both, among other things, advocates of baroque and early music.  Casella had also been a conductor of the Boston Pops 1927-1929.  Humphrey recalls that both Casadesus and Casella (as harpsichordist) were touring with the BSO, and Casadesus liked to visit shops in each city, hoping to find potentially valuable old musical instruments.  Casadesus found an old clarinet in one city, and took it back to the BSO hotel.  Before going to bed, Casadesus saw that the clarinet still had a reed, picked it up, and played some of the French song Plaisir d'amour.  At breakfast the next morning, Casella said "Henri, I heard a clarinet in the hotel last night. Did you hear it?"  Casadesus, being a great joker, pretended surprise and observed that Casella must be fatigued from the travel.  The next night, in the next town, Casadesus repeated his clarinet playing.  The following morning Casella, now somewhat nervous, asked Casadesus if he had heard the clarinet?.  Casadesus replied that he heard nothing, that Casella must indeed be exhausted, and suggested a good doctor in the next town.  Casella, after visiting the doctor, and receiving some mild medication, returned to the Pullman car of the BSO train.  That night, Casadesus waited patiently until Casella gathered his toilet articles, and went down the corridor to the toilet.  Casadesus then took out his clarinet and prepared to play Plaisir d'amour outside the bathroom door.  Suddenly, to Casadesus's surprise and consternation, the door flew open, and standing there was Casella, staring straight into the eyes of Casadesus.

Principal Clarinets Boston Symphony Orchestra

1881-1888   Eustach Strasser


Eustach Strasser was born in Munich, Germany in September, 1847.  He studied clarinet and Saxophone in Bavaria.  He emigrated to the U.S. in 1868.  The next year, in 1869, he formed a saxophone quartet in Philadelphia 63, and he lived in Philadelphia for at least the next decade.  In 1878, Eustach Strasser played saxophone with the Mendelssohn Quintette .  That same year Strasser toured Europe with Gilmore's Band, under bandmaster Patrick S. Gilmore (1829-1892).  Eustach Strasser was the first Principal clarinet of the Boston Symphony, serving eight seasons under Georg Henschel and Wilhelm Gericke.  While at the BSO, and after leaving the orchestra, Eustach Strasser taught clarinet at the New England Conservatory 16.  He continued to teach at least until 1904.  Eustach Strasser with Gericke and the Boston Symphony gave the US premier of Bizet's L'Arlésienne Suite no 2.  This suite included music from Bizet's opera La jolie fille de Perth, with the saxophone, then a relatively new instrument substituting for the soprano.  Eustach Strasser was also adept in the repair of brass instruments, and in the 1880s briefly joined George S. Haynes in Boston in the manufacture of musical instruments 17.  Eustach Strasser was active in the Boston music scene at least until 1925.


1888-1889  Evans Akeroyd


After the first Principal clarinet, Eustach Strasser, there were five different Principal clarinets during the next 16 seasons.  The first of these was Evans Akeroyd.  Evans Akeroyd was born in England on November 13, 1857 into a musical family.  Evans Akeroyd's brothers Julius Akeroyd (1858-1928) and Vincent Akeroyd (1849-before 1930) were both violinists.  All three brothers were born in Bradford in Yorkshire in the Midlands of England.  The brothers emigrated to Boston in 1878.  After the departure of Eustach Strasser, Evans Akeroyd was appointed as Principal clarinet of the Boston Symphony for one season, 1888-1889.  His partner at the first stand was the second Bb clarinet Peter Metzger (1848-).  Peter Matzger was what we would term today Associate Principal clarinet, there being no Eb clarinet position in the early BSO years.  Peter Metzer was in the second clarinet chair of the Boston Symphony for twenty-three seasons, 1882-1905.  He played with the first seven Principal clarinets of the BSO from Eustach Strasser to Georges Grisez.  Evans Akeroyd was the second of these for the single season in which Akeroyd played with the Boston Symphony.  It would seem that either Wilhelm Gericke was dissatisfied or Arthur Nikisch, arriving as Music Director the next season 1889-1890 wanted a change, but in any case, Evans Akeroyd's contract was not renewed.  However, his two violinist brothers served in the Boston Symphony longer: Julius Akeroyd served for 32 seasons 1881-1913.   Vincent Akeroyd (1849-before 1930) was with the orchestra for seven seasons, 1881-1887.  After leaving the orchestra, Evans Akeroyd played in the orchestra of the Columbia Theatre in Boston, and other venues.  Evans Akeroyd died in Boston in 1920.


1889-1894  G. Goldschmidt

photo   detail of 1891 Boston Musical Herald photo: Boston Symphony Archives


"G. Goldschmidt" was Principal clarinet for five seasons 1889-1894.  This may have been Guido Goldschmidt born in Vienna in 1850, but this has not yet been verified.  Surprising so little trace after five seasons.  He was active in the Molé Chamber Music Concert Club: Charles Molé flute, Friedrich Mueller oboe, G. Goldschmidt clarinet, Adolf Guetter bassoon and Frank Hain horn 166.


1894-1898  Léon Pourtau

photo   Portrait by Pourtau's friend Félix Vallotton (1865-1925)


Emil Paur, after his first season decided to make another Principal clarinet change.  Léon Pourtau was engaged for the 1894-1895 season.  Léon Pourtau was born in Bordeaux, France in 1872.  He started his career as an illustrator and painter.  In his youth in the mid 1880s he played clarinet in a cafe orchestra in La Vilette, in the north east of Paris (19ème), at that time a poor area.  He then toured France with a circus troop, playing and washing the elephants.  This apparently was good training, since he gained admittance to the Paris Conservatoire from among the many competitors.  His Conservatoire Premier prix would have been in about the 1891 or 1892 Concour.  By 1894, Léon Pourtau was teaching clarinet and Saxophone at the Lyon Conservatoire.  He also was Principal clarinet of the Lyon Opera 150.  Meanwhile, in painting, Pourtau was also developing in pointillist and impressionistic painting styles, including studying with his friend Georges Seurat (1859-1891).  Léon Pourtau was brought to the Boston Symphony as Principal clarinet by Emil Paur for the 1894-1895 season.  Continuing his paining, Léon Pourtau had his only exhibition of his paintings in the 1896 Annual Exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia.  Pourtau remained with the Boston Symphony for four seasons, returning each summer to France.  However, this resulted in tragedy.  At the end of Pourtau's second season, on July 4, 1898 returning to Boston after summer holiday in France, Principal flute Leon_Jacquet, his wife and child along with Albert_Weiss, Principal oboe, and Léon Pourtau , Principal clarinet all perished in the shipwreck of the French steamship La Bourgogne killing 600 persons 218.  As well as being a major tragedy, this loss of three of the Boston Symphony section heads precipitated a crisis for the Boston Symphony, and its conductor Wilhelm Gericke just returning to the Boston Symphony as Music Director after nine years.  After rapid searches in France and Germany, the Boston Symphony selected a Paris Conservatoire graduate living in the USA, Alexandre Selmer as the fourth Principal clarinet of the Boston Symphony.


1898-1901  Alexandre Gabriel Selmer

photo Henri Selmer (left) and Alexandre Selmer circa 1904


Alexandre Selmer was born in France in October, 1864.  He and his brother Henri Selmer were musicians, and both studied at the Paris Conservatoire.  Alexandre studied with Cyrille Rose (1830-1903) of the Conservatoire, who was also clarinetist with the l'Opéra de Paris.  Alexandre Selmer gained his Premier at the Conservatoire in about the 1885 Concour.  He departed that summer of 1882 to the US in 1885.  Henri (Paris Conservatoire Premier prix 1880 Concour) and Alexandre had started repairing instruments and manufacturing clarinet mouthpieces and reeds.  In 1898, Henri Selmer with one workman began the manufacture of complete clarinets.  Alexandre organized a Selmer US company in 1904 to import Henri Selmer instrument.  At this time, Alexandre Selmer also began US manufacture of his own design: "Alexandre" clarinets.  Experts on such design say that Alexandre Selmer clarinets were not manufactured from the Henri Selmer prototype, but rather a different (and they say better) design.  In about 1918, Alexandre Selmer went back to help Henri in the expansion of their instrument manufacture.  Alexandre Selmer manufactured the "Alexandre" clarinet in France, also, and experts say that the French production is stamped "France" whereas the US production has no location indicated.  Later Selmer France clarinets are said to have adopted the design advantages of the "Alexandre" clarinet.


Alexandre Selmer was appointed Principal clarinet of the Boston Symphony in the 1898-1899 season by Wilhelm Gericke, who had just returned to Boston for his second period of music direction.  This was following the unexpected death of Principal clarinet Léon Pourtau.  Alexandre Selmer was Principal clarinet for three seasons until the end of 1900-1901.  He then was Principal clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony 1902-1904 under conductor Frank Van der Stucken .  Alexandre Selmer during these years was also conducting clarinet and saxophone training session across the US, which spread the use of Selmer instruments.  Alexandre Selmer was Principal Clarinet of the New York Philharmonic for two seasons, 1909-1911.  After Alexandre Selmer returned to Paris to assist the family business, he continued to cross the US frequently to present classes to aid musicians, while expanding use of Selmer instruments, as is shown by the brochure, below.  Alexandre Selmer died in France in 1941.



1901-1903  Victor Edmond Lebailly


Victor Lebailly was born in Boulogne-sur-Mer, in the north of France (as was Principal bassoon Albert Debuchy) on December 12, 1872.  Lebailly studied at the Paris Conservatoire, where he won the Premier prix in the 1888 Concour 38.  He played in the orchestra of the Théâtre de l'Opéra-Comique, along with his bassoonist colleague Albert Debuchy  40.  Lebailly was Principal clarinet in Boston for two seasons, 1901-1903, and then remained in the clarinet section for one additional season 1903-1904. During his Boston term, Lebailly also played with the Kneisel String Quartet and with the Georges Longy Club, a wind chamber music group.  After his return to Paris in the next season, Lebailly joined l'Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire for eight seasons 1905-1913.  Lebailly in 1905 also played with the Paul Taffanel group Société de musique de chambre pour instruments à vent 37 (quite a title !), and in 1906 with other wind chamber groups in Paris.  In 1907, Lebailly began teaching in l'école Nationale de Musique de Boulogne-sur-Mer, back in his home town 36.


1903-1904   Augusto Vannini


Augusto Vannini was born in Italy in September 1869, and emigrated to the U.S. in April, 1896 to Pittsburgh.  After two seasons, Wilhelm Gericke decided to engage a new Principal clarinet, and in the 1903-1904 season, Victor Lebailly moved to the second chair clarinet position, and Augusto Vannini joined the Boston Symphony as Principal clarinet.  Gericke apparently was not fully satisfied, because this process of change occurred again after one season.  In the 1904-1905 season, Vannini moved to the second clarinet chair, replacing Victor Lebailly who had by this time returned to Paris.  In the Principal chair, Georges Grisez joined the Boston Symphony from France.  Augusto Vannini had an extensive career with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, serving 23 seasons, 1903-1926.  During the early 1920s, Augusto Vannini directed a chamber group, the Boston Symphony Ensemble.  Augusto Vannini retired from the Boston Symphony at the end of the 1925-1926 season.  In the late 1920s and 1930, Augusto Vannini remained in Boston, teaching music.  He died there in April, 1932 93 Click here to see Augusto Vannini in the 1914 photograph of the Boston Symphony wind section .


1904-1914  Georges Grisez 

photo    Georges Grisez in 1921


Georges Grisez was born in Paris on 31 March 1884.  He likely studied clarinet with the famous Arthur Grisez (not his father, perhaps an uncle?).  He studied at the Paris Conservatoire, taking his Premier prix in 1902.  Then elected to the clarinet section of the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire Orchestra 1903-1904.  Georges Grisez came to the US in October, 1904 aged 20 recruited during the tenure of Boston conductor Wilhelm Gericke to become Principal clarinet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra beginning in the 1904-1905 season.  Grisez was Principal clarinet for ten seasons 1904-1914.  During that period, he played with his close friend Georges Longy, Principal oboe of the Boston Symphony , in the Georges Longy Club, a wind chamber group 35.   Georges Grisez made several acoustic recordings of clarinet excerpts in 1913 for Phono-Cut records of Boston.  Georges Grisez returned to France during World War 1, active in the French Army.  Following the was, Grisez returned to the US, where he was in the clarinet section of the New York Symphony.  He was a member of the New York Chamber Society in 1921.  He played the Brahms Clarinet Quintet with the Letz String Quartet at the Maverick Concerts in Woodstock, New York in Summer 1921.  He was principal clarinet of the Philadelphia Orchestra for the 1922-1923 season, but it seems that his contract was not renewed by Stokowski.  Grisez was Principal clarinet of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra 1923-1936.  During 1927-1934, Georges Grisez taught clarinet at the University of Minnesota 34.  Georges Grisez joined the NBC Symphony in its initial season in 1938. 

photo   charcoal sketch from a 1938 NBC Symphony publicity brochure


Alexander Williams was Principal clarinet during most of the NBC Symphony years.  Williams was solo clarinet at the New York Philharmonic under Toscanini, who brought Williams to the NBC Symphony.  Georges Grisez then became Principal clarinet of the Baltimore Symphony, where in fact he died, during a performance.  On 14 March 1946 Grisez was on stage with the Baltimore Symphony when he collapsed performing the opening glissando of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (1924), and later died --- two weeks before his 62nd birthday 25.  Georges Grisez's later successor as Principal clarinet of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Ricardo Morales said in an interview that the exposed opening glissando of the Rhapsody in Blue is " of the scariest to play...Why? Because everyone knows how it goes, and if it is not quire right, everyone immediately notices...".  Perhaps this also had an effect on even as great a clarinet player as Georges Grisez.


1914-1925  Albert Sand 


Albert Sand was born in what was then called Libau, Russia, now Liepaja, Latvia, a port city on the Baltic Sea on 27 May 1879.  In 1892 at age 13, Sand entered the Moscow Conservatory to study with Jacob Sandler.  Albert Sand did his military duty with the Libau Military Band in Latvia 1901-1906.  He then moved to Germany, serving with the Dresden Philharmonic as clarinet 1908-1910.  Sand then moved to Berlin to join the Blüthner Orchestra as Principal clarinet 1910-1912.  He then joined the historic Charlottenberg Opera in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin as Principal clarinet 1912-1914.  Under Boston conductor Karl Muck, Albert Sand was recruited for the Boston Symphony as Principal clarinet in the 1914-1915 season.  Karl Muck had encountered Albert Sand in Berlin.  Albert Sand served as Principal clarinet of the Boston Symphony for nine seasons 1914-1925.  After leaving Boston, Albert Sand was appointed Detroit Symphony Principal clarinet 1926-1928 238. also while in Boston, Albert Sand was Principal clarinet of the Longy Club chamber group.


1925-1926  Edmondo Allegra  (Eb clarinet 1926-1933)



Edmondo Allegra was born in the Province of Vercelli, Piedmont, northern Italy in 1889 237.  From 1916, and during World War 1, Edmondo Allegra was Principal clarinet of the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich 1916-1925.  In March 1918, Ferruccio Busoni composed the Concertino for Clarinet opus 48 of 1918 and dedicated it to Edmondo Allegra who played the premiere in December, 1918 234.  Busoni also dedicated his Elegy for Clarinet and Orchestra (1920) to Allegra.  Igor Stravinsky who lived summers in Morges, Switzerland wrote his Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo (written November 1918) for Allegra 235, who gave the premier in Lausanne 8 November 1919.  Edmondo Allegra also played in the first performance of the three-instrument version of Stravinsky's L'histoire du soldat 28 September 1918.  Allegra was also commented on regarding the cadenzas he composed for the traditional clarinet concertos of Mozart and von Weber 236.  In 1925, Edmondo Allegra was appointed by Serge Koussevitzky to become Principal clarinet of the Boston Symphony, departing from Zurich to join Boston in the 1925-1926 season.  Edmondo Allegra was Principal clarinet with the Boston Symphony for one season 1925-1926 and then Eb clarinet 1926-1933.  While in Boston, Allegra was also active in chamber music concerts, and in teaching (Joseph Allard, later of Toscanini's NBC Symphony and the Juilliard School was one of his students).  At the end of the 1932-1933 season Boston Symphony season, Edmondo Allegra and his wife Charlotte and son Claude returned to Switzerland, but his career thereafter is not well documented.


1926-1930   Gaston Hamelin



Gaston Hamelin (second from right) with Wind Quintet of l'Orchestre National de La Radiodiffusion Française - 1940s


Gaston Hamelin was born at Saint-Georges-Sur-Baulche, Yonne (west of Paris) France in 1884.  Hamelin came with his wife Marthe, who was a singer, and young daughter to the U.S. in October, 1926. Gaston Hamelin joined the Boston Symphony as Principal clarinet under Serge Koussevitzky in the 1926-1927 season.  His son, Armand Hamelin (1907- ) also played in the Boston Symphony clarinet section for one season 1929-1930.  After four seasons, The Boston Symphony did not renew Gaston Hamelin contract.  According to Pamela Weston 39, Serge Koussevitzky did not want Hamelin to play his Henri Selmer (1858-1941) manufactured metal clarinet, a "Full Boehm Metal Clarinet in A".  Therefore, at the end of the 1929-1930 season, Gaston Hamelin, his wife, daughter, and his son Armand returned to France.  One of Hamelin's students, Ralph McLane, later Principal clarinet of the Philadelphia Orchestra 1943-1951 followed Hamelin to Paris to study.  Another Hamelin student, Rosario Mazzeo (1911-1997) was a Boston Symphony clarinet player for 33 seasons, 1933-1966.  Hamelin recorded for HMV in the 1930s.  Gaston Hamelin played clarinet with the Piero Coppola orchestra in the late 1930s. During the 1940s and into 1950, Hamelin played for the Radio French Orchestra (l'Orchestre National de La Radiodiffusion Française).  Gaston Hamelin died 8 September 1951, age 67.


1930-1948  Victor Polatschek




Victor (or Viktor) Polatschek was born January 29, 1889 in Chotzen, Bohemia (or in Czech, Choceň) in what is today the Czech Republic.  Polatschek studied clarinet at the Vienna State Academy 68.  Victor Polatschek taught at the Vienna Conservatory and played at the Vienna State Opera.  He was consequently also clarinetist in the Vienna Philharmonic 1912-1930 69.  As such, he of course played in both the Vienna Opera and in the Philharmonic.  Polatschek was also active in his teaching of clarinet at the Vienna Conservatory, which caused him to compose works for clarinet which also have a pedagogical function 113.  Notable are his etudes based on themes from famous works, including of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire !  Victor Polatschek emigrated to the U.S. to join the Boston Symphony under Koussevitzky.  Victor Polatschek was Principal clarinet from 1930 until his early death.  Victor Polatschek died suddenly in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, ten minutes from Tanglewood, during the Tanglewood Festival on July 17, 1948, age only 60.


1948-1950  Manuel Valerio




Manuel "Manny" Valerio was Principal clarinet for two seasons, 1948-1950.  He is recalled as the long-term second chair 2nd Bb Clarinet, serving in the orchestra from 1934-1960. 


1950-1970   Gino Cioffi

 photo   detail of photo: Boston Symphony Archives, 1956


Gino Cioffi was born in Naples, Italy in 1913 of a musical family.  Cioffi studied clarinet at the Naples Conservatory with Piccione and Carpio.  Cioffi graduated from the Conservatory in 1930.  (note: was Gino Gioffi related to " Signor Ciofi " Principal violin of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra two generations previously?)  Gino Cioffi arrived in the U.S. in 1937, playing first with the orchestra of the New York Radio City Music Hall.  Cioffi then played with the Pittsburgh Symphony until the end of the 1941-1942 season.  Cioffi then went to the Cleveland Orchestra as Principal clarinet for two seasons 1942-1944.  Over the next six seasons, Gino Cioffi was at the Metropolitan Opera, and briefly for the New York Philharmonic.  Then, Gino Cioffi became Principal clarinet of the Boston Symphony in the 1950-1951 season under Charles Munch.  Gino Cioffi was always a colorful personality.  It is said that during his audition with Charles Munch in 1950, he played beautifully the clarinet excerpt from Daphnis et Chloé.  The story is that Cioffi than said "Pretty good, pretty good, huh? D'ya wanta to hear something else?"  According to the story, Munch immediately hired Cioffi, saying "Anyone with that much confidence we have to have in the orchestra.".  Cioffi typically played on an adapted Selmer clarinet 59 with a Crystal mouthpiece.  An irreverent story told more than once about Cioffi is that he would frequently say "...When I'ma play good, its a justa like Jesus Christ.  When I'ma play bad, its still better than anybody else !" 59 Gino Cioffi remained Boston Symphony Principal clarinet for 21 seasons, retiring (or in fact, being asked to retire) at the end of the 1969-1970 season.  He may have been retired both because of being at retirement age, and due to cardiac problems (he had gained considerable weight in later years). 


A story told by Gino Cioffi student and clarinet scholar Sherman Friedland 119 shows Gino Cioffi in his later years still to be a distinctive personality.  Cioffi just after his dismissal was walking with BSO Bass clarinet Felix 'Phil' Viscuglia, and every few steps, Cioffi would "...stop and say to Phil, 'hey what I did?, What I did?'..." Gino Cioffi lived in suburban Boston until after 2001.


1970-1993   Harold "Buddy" Wright

Buddy Wright    Buddy Wright in 1970s


Harold Wright, known by his friends as "Buddy", was born in Wayne, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia on December 4, 1926.  Buddy Wright began playing the clarinet when he was 12.  In the 1940s, following World War 2, Wright studied with Philadelphia Orchestra clarinet great Ralph McLane At the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.  After graduation from Curtis in 1950 94, Harold Wright was successively a clarinet of the Houston Symphony and the next year became Principal clarinet of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.  Until the end of the 1969-1970 season, Harold Wright was Principal clarinet of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington. Harold Wright joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1970 and served with Boston until his death.  During this time, he was also Principal clarinet with the Casals Festival Orchestra for 7 summers. He also performed and recorded with the Marlboro Festival, under Rudolf Serkin,  Wright was a member of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.  Harold Wright died suddenly of a heart attack while participating in the Marlboro Festival at Marlboro, Vermont on August 11, 1993 106.


1994-  William R. Hudgins

photo   photo: Stu Rosner


William Hudgins was born November 4, 1957.  He studied at Boston University with his predecessor, BSO Principal clarinet Harold 'Buddy' Wright.  William Hudgins also studied with BSO clarinet Pasquale Cardillo, including at the Tanglewood Music Center in the summer of 1979.  He also studied at Aspen Music Festival and with clarinetists Jules Serpentini (Philadelphia Orchestra), and Richard Waller (Cincinnati Symphony).  William Hudgins was Principal clarinet with the Orquesta Sinfonica Municipal of Caracas, Venezuela in the 1980s.  Then, he took the same post with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (South Carolina).  He was also Principal clarinet of the Atlanta Opera.  William Hudgins joined the Boston Symphony clarinet section on the 1992-1993 season.  William Hudgins is married to another great clarinet player, Catherine Hudgins, who has had an active career not only in several orchestras, but also in chamber groups, and in festivals, such as the Spoleto Festival in Italy.  After two seasons in Boston, William Hudgins was selected as Principal clarinet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the 1994-1995 season, following the sudden death of his teacher and friend Buddy Wright in August 11, 1993.  As such, William Hudgins joins an orchestral tradition of clarinet playing that is not surpassed by any other of the great orchestras.


Winds 1925


1925 - Wind section of the Boston Symphony Orchestra

standing:  Boaz Piller (contrabassoon), Fred Bettoney (bassoon), Raymond Allard (bassoon), Abdon Laus (bassoon), Edmondo Allegra (clarinet), Paul Mimart (bass clarinet), Augusto Vannini (clarinet), Emilio F. Arcieri (clarinet)

seated:  August Battles (piccolo), Pat Amerena (flute), Gaston Bladet (flute), George Laurent (Principal flute), Fernand Gillet (Principal oboe), Jean deVergie (oboe), Henry Horatio Stanislaus (oboe), Louis Speyer (English horn)

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Principal Flutes of the Boston Symphony Orchestra


1881-1887  Edward Martin Heindl


Edward Heindl or Heind'l was born on April 26, 1837 in Bavaria, Germany.  Edward Heindl and his two brothers, Alexander Heindl and Henry Heindl were all orchestral musicians.  Edward, like his father was a flute player.  Edward Heindl, as well as studying with his father, was a student of the legendary flute teacher and flute designer Theobald Boehm (1794-1881) for whom the Boehm flute is named.   In 1847, Edward Heindl toured Hungary with the great pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894) 65.  The Heindl brothers emigrated to the U.S. in 1868.  From 1872-1875, Edward Heindl toured as part of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club .  The Mendelssohn Quintet Club at that time consisted of a eminent roster of some of the very few professional orchestral musicians of the US in that pioneering era: William Schultze of the original Germania Orchestra, violin, Charles N. Allen, violin, who was in the Boston Symphony violin section in its first 1881-1882 season, Thomas Ryan, viola, also later Principal viola of the Boston Symphony 1883-1885, Edward Heindl, flute, and Rudolph Henning cello who was later the first Principal cello of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Weiner, previously solo flute of the Theodore Thomas Orchestra in the 1870s replace Heindl as flute in the Mendelssohn Quintet 23Alexander Heindl, Edward Heindl, and Henry Heindl all joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the orchestra's inaugural 1881-1882 season.  Edward Heindl was Principal flute of the Boston Symphony 1881-1887, and then became second flute for another nine seasons from 1887-1896.  Edward Heindl died in 1896 at the relatively young age of 59.  About Edward Heindl's death, in The Story of the Flute Macauley Fitzgibbon tells a strange story: '... Heind'l...became a leading player in Boston, and is reported to have possessed a very pure tone and good execution. He died of a disease contracted from an infected flute which a stranger had requested him to try...' 120.


1887-1896  Charles Molé



detail of 1891 Boston Musical Herald photo: Boston Symphony Archives showing Artur Nikisch in foreground and Charles Molé behind


Charles Molé was born in France in 1857,  Charles Molé studied at the Paris Conservatoire with the legendary Paul Taffanel (1844-1908).  At the Conservatoire, Charles Molé won the Premier prix for flute in the 1874 Concour 13.  In the 1880s, was Principal flute with the Orchestra of the Théâtre de l'Opéra Comique in Paris.  For the 1887-1888 season, Wilhelm Gericke recruited Charles Molé to come to Boston as Principal flute, where he remained for nine seasons as Principal flute 1887-1896.  In 1891-1892, Charles Molé organized a series of concerts for wind groups, a precursor of the Georges Longy Club  wind concerts.  In one of these concerts, Charles Molé and Arthur Nikisch played a Bach Flute Sonata (perhaps the famous Bach Sonata BWV 1030).  He also organized the Molé Chamber Music Concert Club: Charles Molé flute, Friedrich Mueller oboe, G. Goldschmidt clarinet, Adolf Guetter bassoon and Frank Hain horn 166.  Concerning the transition to metal flutes and the effect of Charles Molé, the excellent website states:


"...In 1887 Charles Molé brought the first silver Louis Lot B-foot flute (No. 4358, 1887) to the Boston Symphony orchestra the first of a long succession of French Conservatoire graduates who nearly all played Louis Lot flutes." 


Charles Molé was Principal flute of the New York Symphony under Walter Damrosch for two seasons: 1903-1905.  During his second New York Symphony season, Charles Molé died in New York City on January 8, 1905, age only 47.  He had played the New York Symphony concert of Sunday afternoon and suddenly died Sunday night.


1896-1898  Léon Jacquet (born Léon-Ambroise Jacquet)


Léon-Ambroise Jacquet was born in Paris in 1866 .  He gained entry to the Paris Conseratoire where he studied flute under Joseph Henri Altes (1836-1895).  He also studied composition with Jules Massenet (1842-1912).  Jacquet gained his Premier accessit in 1881, his Second prix in 1882, and Premier Prix in 1883 209.  After graduation, Jacquet played in the orchestra of the Théâtre de la Gallé, Paris.  Then, the orchestra of Concerts de Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.  Léon Jacquet rapidly progressed in Paris, and was Principal flute of the Paris Opera, and Principal flute of l'Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire.  The conductor Wilhelm Gericke in the summers following his first and second seasons with the Boston Symphony replaced many musicians with candidates whom Gericke had recruited in Europe.  He brought Léon Jacquet from France to join the Boston Symphony.  Léon Jacquet came to the Boston Symphony in the 1896-1897 season, succeeding Charles Molé.  However, Jacquet's time with the Boston Symphony was tragically terminated.  At the end of Jacquet's second season, on July 4, 1898 returning to Boston after summer holiday in France, Principal flute Leon Jacquet, his wife and child along with Albert Weiss, Principal oboe, and Léon Pourtau, Principal clarinet all perished in the shipwreck of the French steamship La Bourgogne killing 600 persons 218.  As well as being a major tragedy, this loss of three of the Boston Symphony section heads precipitated a crisis for the Boston Symphony, and its conductor Wilhelm Gericke just returning to the Boston Symphony as Music Director after nine years.  With the aid of the Conservatoire, Gericke was able to recruit another Conservatoire graduate, André Maquarre, to come to Boston as the fourth Principal flute of the Boston Symphony.


1898-1918  André Maquarre



André Maquarre, older brother of Daniel_Maquarre was born in Brussels, Belgium on January 13, 1875.  (A third and middle brother, Jean Louis - or John - Maquarre, born in Belgium August 25, 1878 was also a musician in New York City.  There seems also to have been a fourth brother, Guillaume, or William who lived in Paris.)  After studying with his flutist father, Clement Maquarre, André Maquarre entered the Paris Conservatoire at the same time (about 1890) as the famous flutist Georges Barrère (1876-1944).   André won the Premiere prix for flute at the Conservatoire in the 1893 Concour.  André Maquarre was Principal flute of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for twenty seasons, from 1898-1918 11.  In 1918, he followed his brother Daniel to Philadelphia and was his successor as Principal flute of the Philadelphia Orchestra for three seasons.  The various Philadelphia Orchestra references indicate André Maquarre as remaining through the end of the 1920-1921 season, but Robert F. Cole 21 states that Stokowski dismissed Maquarre in April, 1921 during a rehearsal, and soon recruited William Kinkaid  from the New York Chamber Music Society for the Principal flute position.  André Maquarre then went to Los Angeles where he was Principal flute from 1922-1929.  André Maquarre returned to Europe in about 1930, and in Paris, became a member of La Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique, a government organized company responsible for the management of authors and composers rights and copyrights.  André Maquarre died in Paris in 1936.


1918-1952  Georges Laurent




Georges Laurent was born in Paris on June 7, 1886.  Georges Laurent ook his first music lessons from his uncle, Louis Bas, Principal oboe of the l'Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire.  At age 12, Laurent began studying flute with Philippe Gaubert (1879-1941).  Georges Laurent gained admission to the Paris Conservatoire where he studied flute 1901-1905, including with Gaubert.  Georges Laurent won the Premier prix in flute in the 1905 Concour 57.  Laurent came to US as part of a French good-will tour of the Garde républicaine Band in the summer of 1918.  Four musicians from the Garde républicaine band were hired into the Boston Symphony by Henri Rabaud for the 1918-1919 season: Louis Speyer English horn, Georges Laurent flute, Georges Mager trumpet, and émile Stiévenard, bass clarinet.  In this way, Georges Laurent following the departure of André Maquarre was appointed Principal flute in 1918-1919, and retained thereafter by Pierre Monteux.  In 1921, Georges Laurent founded the Boston Flute Players Club, active from 1921-1940.  Georges Laurent served with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 34 seasons.  Laurent retired at the end of the 1951-1952 season after playing at the Tanglewood summer festival under Munch and Monteux, having turned 65.  Georges Laurent also taught flute for many years at the New England Conservatory.  Some of his well-known students include James 'Jimmy" Pappoutsakis (Boston flute 1937-1977), Harry Moskovitz (New York City Opera), Robert Willoughby (Cincinnati Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra), and Lois Schaefer (Boston piccolo 1965-1990, and sister of cellist Winifred Schaefer Mayes ).  Have a look also at his picture with the 1925 Boston Symphony wind section by clicking here.  Georges Laurent died September 23, 1964.


1952- 1990   Doriot Anthony Dwyer

photo   Boston Symphony Archives, 1961


Doriot Anthony Dwyer was born was born on March 6, 1922 in Streator, Illinois.  Hers is a musical family.  Her father, William Anthony (1890-1986) was an engineer and founder of the Anthony Company, truck manufacturers, and her mother Edith Wetzel Anthony (1892-1973), a flutist.  Doriot's sister Betty was a pianist.  Doriot Anthony was also a cousin of the suffrage advocate Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906).  In 1933, Doriot Anthony began study with John Wummer (1899-1977) of the Detroit Symphony (later of the New York Philharmonic).  Then, starting about 1934, Doriot studied flute with Ernest Leigl(1900-1993) of the Chicago Symphony for five years, her first well-known teacher.  In the late 1930s, Doriot Anthony spent a summer at the Ernest WilliamsMusic Camp at Saugerties, New York.  Pierre Henrotte, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Concertmaster was the conductor of the camp orchestra.  Henrotte after working with Dwyer that summer recommended she apply to the Curtis Institute, where he was on the faculty.  However, William Kincaid (1895-1967) of the Philadelphia Orchestra turned down her admission.  Instead, in the Summer of 1939, Doriot Anthony won a scholarship to the Interlochen Music Camp in Michigan, where she played in an orchestra for the first time.   At Interlochen, Howard Hanson, Director of the Eastman School of Music took an interest in Dwyer, and offered her a scholarship to attend Eastman in the Autumn of 1939.  There, from 1939-1943, Dwyer studied with Joseph Mariano (1911-2007), Principal flute of the Rochester Philharmonic 1935-1974.  Upon her graduation in from the Eastman School, in the 1943-1944 season, Doriot Anthony Dwyer became second flute in the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington.  During this Washington period, Dwyer studied with William Kincaid in Philadelphia and he encouraged her to apply to Curtis again, but Dwyer decided against this.  However, Doriot Anthony Dwyer found the National Symphony to be below-standard as to overall quality.  When her friend Britton Johnson, the Principal flute of the National Symphony, left in 1945 to become Principal at the Baltimore Symphony, Doriot Anthony decided to move to New York to freelance.  While in New York, she had the opportunity to join the 'Ballet Russe Highlights', directed by Léonide Massine, with Doriot as Principal flute.  She toured until the group ran out of money, and then went on to Los Angeles, where she settled in 1946 becoming a Hollywood studio player.  For 3 years, she played in the 'Standard Hour' radio orchestra.  She also won a position as second flute of the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Alfred Wallenstein 35.  Doriot Anthony was with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 6 seasons, 1946-1952. In the summer of 1947, Bruno Walter, Music Director of the Hollywood Bowl for the 13 week season, hired Dwyer as Principal flute.  In the summer of 1952, George Laurent was retiring as Principal flute of the Boston Symphony Orchestra after 34 seasons.  Doriot Anthony auditioned and when she was selected as Principal flute the Boston Symphony in the 1952-1953 season under Charles Munch, it was often said that she was the first woman appointed permanently to a Principal chair of a major symphony orchestra.  Perhaps they did not recall that Helen Kotas (1916-2000) was Principal horn of the Chicago Symphony for seven seasons 1941-1947.  The next year, Doriot Anthony began teaching at New England Conservatory, with other members of the Boston Symphony Woodwind Quintet and continued there for 21 seasons, 1953-1974.  In 1954 at age 32 Doriot Anthony married Thomas Francis Dwyer, a physician.  In 1973, Doriot Anthony Dwyer joined Boston University, and in 1990, subsequent to her retirement from the Boston Symphony, she taught at the Boston Conservatory.  Doriot Anthony Dwyer was honored with an honorary doctorate degree from Harvard University in 1982  As a teacher, her activities have included not only the New England Conservatory and Boston University, but also teaching at Tanglewood during several summers, and numerous master classes in the US and internationally. Doriot Anthony Dwyer died in Kansas on 15 March 2020 at age 98 after a full and pioneering career.


March 1995-1997  Elizabeth A. Ostling Acting Principal Flute


Elizabeth Ostling


According to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Elizabeth Ostling, who was Assistant Principal flute in 1994-1997 and Associate Principal flute 1997-present, also served as acting Principal from March 1995 to the appointment of Jacques Zoon in 1997.  Elizabeth Ostling was born November 6, 1972, and grew up in Ridgewood, New Jersey, a western suburb of New York City.  She studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia with Julius Baker and Jeffrey Khaner.  Ostling graduated from Curtis in 1994.  Elizabeth Ostling also studied at the Tanglewood Summer festival, and while at Curtis, she won First Prize in the quadrennial Koussevitzky Competition for Woodwinds in New York City.  Elizabeth Ostling was appointed Assistant Principal flute for the Boston Symphony in the 1994-1995 season.  She was advanced to Associate Principal flute in 1997, the post she currently holds.  He frequent solos in Boston, including with the Boston Pops has gained Elizabeth Ostling a loyal following, including of her chamber music concerts.


1997- 2002  Jacques Zoon




Jacques Zoon was born in the Netherlands in 1961.  He studied at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, with Koos Verheul and Harrie Starreveld.  Zoon won the Jean-Pierre Rampal flute competition, and the Scheveningen International competition.  In 1981, Zoon won second prize in the Willem Pijper flute competition.  Zoon received early orchestral experience, playing with the Netherlands Youth Orchestra and the European Community Youth Orchestra.  Zoon was later Principal flute at the Residentie Orchestra at the Hague.  Then, 1988-1994, Zoon became Principal flute at the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.  Jacques Zoon was then Principal flute of Chamber Orchestra of Europe.  Zoon taught at the Rotterdam Conservatory 1988-1994.  Zoon in 1994 also taught at University of Indiana.  While in Boston, Zoon also taught at the New England Conservatory and at Boston University.  The Principal flute chair of the Boston Symphony having been open for several years, Jacques Zoon was appointed Principal flute of the Boston Symphony in the 1997-1978 season.  He remained for 5 seasons, including a leave of absence.  In 2001, Jacques Zoon took an eighteen month leave of absence from the Boston Symphony.  In 2002, he decided not to return to Boston, but to move his career away from the orchestra 66.  More recently, Jacques Zoon has relocated to Switzerland, where he teaches at the Geneva Conservatoire, and pursues a career as a solo flutist.


2004-present   Elizabeth D. Rowe




Elizabeth Rowe was born in Eugene, Oregon in June, 1974.  She studied at University of Southern California with Jim Walker, former Principal Flute of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Elizabeth Rowe was Principal Flute with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic (Indiana).  Later, for two seasons, Rowe joined the New World Symphony in Florida, an intensive training orchestra directed by Michael Tilson Thomas.  Elizabeth Rowe then was appointed Assistant Principal Flute with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Yuri Temirkanov in about 2001.  Then, until the end of the 2003-2004 season Rowe was Assistant Principal flute of the National Symphony Orchestra.  Elizabeth Rowe was appointed Principal flute of the Boston Symphony in the 2004-2005 season, under James Levine.  She competed against some 251 other candidates, reviewed by Levine and 12 BSO musicians 111.  Elizabeth Rowe's husband, husband, Glen Cherry, whom she met in 1996 at Tanglewood, was a violinist in the National Symphony, and also joined the Boston Symphony in the 2004-2005 season.  Elizabeth Rowe teaches at the New England Conservatory in Boston, and summers at the Tanglewood Music Center.  She is particularly active as a teacher, in which she is also said to be gifted; demanding, yet motivating.


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Boston Symphony Orchestra Principal Horns


A Story about Boston Symphony Horn Heinrich Lorbeer:


Heinrich, or Henry E. Lorbeer was a long-time Boston Symphony horn, serving forty-seven seasons, 1891-1937.  He was also a student of the legendary horn teacher Friedrich Gumpert (1841-1906).  George Norwood Humphrey, long-time (1934-1977) Boston Symphony viola in his memoire 'Becoming a Musician' 121 tells a fine story about Lorbeer:  "...One of our newer players had made a very bad showing in the Siegfried Horn Call in a recent performance. In the tuning room, we were being bombarded by this call from the new player. He could negotiate everything but the top high note...Sitting at one of our tables playing cards was Lorbeer our oldest horn player. He had been a very famous player, now playing fourth horn, responsible for the very lowest notes on the instrument. Without laying down his cards, Lorbeer took his horn in one hand, raised the instrument to his lips, and played the very high note that had given the young player so much trouble. He then put the horn down. We never heard the horn call again during our tuning moments..."


Principal Horns of the Boston Symphony


1886-1890  Xavier F. Reiter

photo Picture of Xavier Reiter (courtesy of Gregg Squires)


Xavier Reiter was born in Munich, Germany in March 1857.  He came to the United States in 1886 to join the Boston Symphony as Principal horn under Wilhelm Gericke.  Reiter settled in Boston and he became a citizen in 1890.  Reiter was often during his career in Boston and New York referred to is the greatest horn player in the U.S.  As well as being a gifted horn player, Reiter was apparently what we refer to as a "character".  He wore his hair down over his shoulders and also a beard and full moustache, as can be seen in the photograph below.  His total appearance seems to have been something like Buffalo Bill.  In the January 14, 1890 New York Times article entitled "A Missing Horn Player", it further states that Reiter "...wears a big, broad-brimmed Texas slouch hat...and his manly form is enrapped in a big fur overcoat..."42  According to David Mannes autobiography, it seems that Reiter decided to leave Boston and the BSO when he and his two large Russian Wolfhounds were arrested in the Boston Commons for bathing his dogs in a public fountain 43.  It would seem difficult to be arrested for such a reason, but then Reiter was 'larger than life'.  This image is reinforced by an amusing account by the great horn player Milan Yancich (brother of Charles Yancich) about Xavier Reiter.  '...[Reiter's] transportation was a bicycle. He often wore a tam and a cape training in the wind. He looked like Count Dracula in pursuit of a victim. His horn was slung across his back as he rode across the Boston Commons on his bicycle...'127


After 1890, Reiter became Principal horn of the New York Philharmonic Society during the 1910s.  At that time, he also helped form the Philharmonic Ensemble, a wind quintet with violin consisting of Henri Leroy clarinet, Xavier Reiter horn, August Mesnard bassoon, Anton Fayer flute, and joined by Leopold Kramer, then Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic 146.  Earlier, in the 1900s, Reiter was Principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra under Seidel, where he could enjoy his favorite operas, particularly Wagner.  It is said that Reiter was instrumental in convincing his town in Westchester County, New York to rename itself "Valhalla", Reiter being an avid admirer of Richard Wagner and his Ring cycle.  Bruno Jaenicke, the great Boston horn player (1913-1918) and later Principal horn of the New York Philharmonic wrote of Reiter (in an article edited by that other great Boston Symphony horn, Harold Meek 1943-1963) "... I want to mention a horn player who uses the B-flat horn, but whose tone is as velvety and as poetical as that of any F horn players I have known. He is Mr. Xavier Reiter. I remember the first impression which his playing made on me. It was in Boston about 14 years ago. The New York Philharmonic played in Symphony Hall. Mischa Elman played the Scotch Fantasy, but when Reiter had the melody for only a few bars, he overshadowed Elman. But Reiter can sing on his horn. And we other fellows better stick to the F horn." 123.  Xavier Reiter died in Valhalla, New York, the town renamed by Reiter's lobbying to honor his Wagner horn calls, on May 12, 1938.


(note: The photo of Xavier Reiter was kindly sent to me by Gregg Squires, himself a horn player in both the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Radio City Music Hall orchestra.  Gregg is a music producer and you can visit him at his site  Thanks Gregg! )


1882-1885, 1890-1913   Albert Hackebarth (Principal horn 1890-1905, Co-Principal horn 1905-1906, horn 1906-1913)


Albert Hackebarth was born in Germany June 20, 1854, and came to the U.S. in 1880.   Albert Hackebarth was a pioneer in US orchestral horn performance.  Hackebarth was a horn player with the Theodore Thomas touring Orchestra in the late 1880s (about 1886-1890).  At the same time as his service with the Theodore Thomas Orchestra, Hackebarth was horn with the New York Reed Club, a wind chamber music group.   Hackebarth became a US citizen in 1896.  According to Howe 2, Albert Hackebarth joined the Boston Symphony in its second season, 1882-1883, although not all programs list him.  It seems that Albert Hackebarth was Principal horn of the Boston Symphony 1882-1885.  Hackebarth returned as Principal horn in the 1890-1891 season under Wilhelm Gericke.  Hackebarth remained in the first chair of the horn section for a further sixteen seasons, until the end of 1905-1906.  During 1905-1906, according to the New York Times, Albert Hackebarth and Max Hess were co-Principal French horns 52 during the first year of Karl Muck as Music Director.  Then, in 1907-1908, Albert Hackebarth was moved to the seventh (of eight) horn chairs, where he remained until he retired from the Boston Symphony at the end of the 1912-1913 season.  During the 1890-1910, Albert Hackebarth was active in chamber music, including with the Kneisel Quartet 103.   Chamber music was a feature of Albert Hackebarth's performance career, and contemporary reviews credit him with a subtlety and beauty of tone that melded with the ensemble.  In 1913, Albert Hackebarth retired from the Boston Symphony, age 60.


1891-1925   Frank (or Franz) J. Hain not Principal, but long-serving horn




Frank Hain was born in Teplitz, Bohemia, today Teplice, Czech Republic, 60 km NW of Prague in July, 1866.  Hain studied horn at the Prague Conservatory, where he graduated in 1886.  He then played horn with the orchestra in Karlsbad, Bohemia (then, an Austrian heath spa, and today Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic.  In the later 1880s, Frank Hain played horn with the Philharmoniker Hamburg.  In the 1891-1892 season, Hain joined the Boston Symphony horn section under Arthur Nikisch.  In 1893, Frank Hain emigrated to the U.S. with his family.  Frank Hain was a horn player in the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 35 seasons from 1891 until the end of the 1924-1925 season.  Frank Hain died on August 6, 1944.


1905-1913  Max Hess

photo   Max Hess in 1921


Max Hess was born in Klingenthal, Germany (100 km south of Leipzig) in March 1, 1878.  Max Hess entered the Leipzig Conservatory at age 18, from 1896-1899, where he studied under the legendary Friedrich Gumpert (1841-1906).  Gumpert taught at the Conservatory 1864-1898, and was Principal horn of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra 51.  It is interesting to note that Anton Horner, Max Pottag, and Max Hess all studied in Leipzig with Gumpert 114.  Max Hess was the last surviving Gumpert student when he died in 1975, outliving his fellow Gumpert student Anton Horner of the Philadelphia Orchestra , who had died in 1971.  In the 1899-1900 season, Max Hess played in the Opera at Rostock in northern Germany, where he was the only horn.  In the 1900-1901 season, Hess was Principal horn with the Oper Köln (Cologne Opera) orchestra.  Remaining in Cologne, Max Hess became Principal horn of the Gürzenich Orchestra where Willy Hess (not a relative to Max Hess) was Concertmaster 1895-1903.  Max Hess was Principal horn in Cologne for four seasons, 1901-1905.  While in Cologne, Max Hess played the obbligato horn part in the world premiere of Gustav Mahler Symphony no 5 under the composer in Linz on October 18, 1904. 


In 1905, Max Hess was offered the Principal horn position in both the Queens Hall Orchestra of London, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Max Hess selected Boston, and joined the Boston Symphony under Karl Muck as Co-Principal horn sitting next to Hackebarth in the 1905-1906 season.  The next season, Hess then moved to the Principal horn chair, where he remained 1906-1913.  In 1913, Max Hess suffered an injury to his mouth breaking a front tooth.  Because of this, after eight seasons as either Principal or Co-Principal horn, Hess moved to lower horn chair positions 1913-1925.  Max Hess became a US citizen in 1911.  Max Hess played a single horn in F until 1913, when he adopted a Alexander F / B flat double horn (Mainz, Germany).  Max Hess apparently did not have a good relation with George Wendler 115. So, in 1925, having his tooth repaired, Max Hess decided to move to the Cincinnati Symphony as Principal horn under Fritz Reiner.  Max Hess remained in Cincinnati from 1925-1938, serving under Reiner and Eugene Goossens.  After retiring from Cincinnati in 1938 at age 60, Max Hess returned to Boston, where he had maintained a home during the Cincinnati years.  In 1969 at age 91, Max Hess returned to the Conservatory of his youth, the Leipzig Conservatory where he was honored by a medal.  Max Hess died in suburban Boston on January 25, 1975, just short of his 97th birthday.


1913-1928   George Wendler

photo   George Wendler in 1927, prior to his return to Germany


George Wendler was born in Leobschütz, at that time part of Germany, now called Glubczyce, Poland July 12, 1883. Georg, or now George Wendler emigrated to the U.S. in 1909 to become fifth horn of the Boston Symphony under Max Fiedler. In the 1913-1914 season, Karl Muck advanced George Wendler to the Principal horn position, where he remained until the end of the 1921-1922 season.  Wendler became a U.S. citizen in 1916.  George Wendler played horn with the Boston Symphony for 19 seasons, 1909-1928.  He was Principal horn for 15 of these seasons, departing at the end of the 1927-1928 season.  George Wendler was an advocate of the new F / B flat 'double horn'.  The design of the double horn, as patented by Fritz and Walter Kruspe in Germany in 1897, achieved the better performance of the B flat horn in the higher range with the more mellow sound of the F horn 50.  George Wendler as well as being Principal horn of the Boston Symphony was a Kruspe son-in-law.  He also designed an improved double horn, the 'Wendler model', still produced today.  From 1921, George Wendler then directed the Ed. Kruspe company of Erfurt, Germany for many years.  The Kruspe company apparently did not suffer too much during World War 2, but following the partition of Germany, the Ed. Kruspe factory found itself in East Germany, and their business suffered from a lack of materials and of markets, and George Wendler himself apparently suffered financially.  George Wendler continued to manage the Ed. Kruspe company until about 1956, probably also the approximate year of his death.


1928-1936  George Boettcher


George Boettcher shows his best mouthpiece to Principal viola Georges Fourel in early 1930s


George (of Georg) Boettcher was born in Berlin, Germany in 1885.  George Boettcher's initial career was in Berlin, with the Berlin Opera orchestra, and as third horn of the Berlin Philharmonic 115.  After the return of George Wendler to Germany, Serge Koussevitzky looked again to Germany, and hired George Boettcher as Principal horn, beginning in the 1928-1929 season.  During his career in Boston, George Boettcher also taught at the New England Conservatory.  After the end of the 1935-1936 season, George returned to Germany, where he had a new position, perhaps with a German radio orchestra.  George Boettcher died in Rangsdorf, Germany, 30 km south of Berlin in December, 1936 at the early age of 51 118.


1936-1937  Gottfried von Freiberg

photo   Gottfried von Freiberg in 1936


Gottfried von Freiberg was born in Vienna on April 8, 1908.  He studied horn with his uncle, Karl Stiegler Co-Principal French horn of the Vienna Philharmonic.  Freiberg began his orchestral career Karlsruhe in Baden-Württemberg at the State Theatre (Badischen Staatstheater).   In the summer of 1928, Gottfried von Freiberg was a horn at the Bayreuth Festival.  In the autumn 1928 season, Freiberg joined the horn section of the Vienna Philharmonic.  At the unexpected death of his uncle Karl, Gottfried von Freiberg was advanced to Principal horn of the Vienna Philharmonic in June, 1932.  In the 1936-1937 season, because of his close relationship with Serge Koussevitzky, Gottfried von Freiberg became Principal horn of the Boston Symphony, succeeding George Boettcher, who then returned to Germany.  However, for Gottfried von Freiberg, the 1936-1937 season did not go well, because Freiberg suffered from embouchure problems, some resentment from certain horn colleagues, and also due to a rising anti-German sentiment in the US.  In the 1937-1938 season, Gottfried von Freiberg returned to the first horn chair of the Vienna Philharmonic.  During World War 2, Freiberg was protected, even though he had a Jewish grandfather.  Gottfried von Freiberg was the horn solo of the world premiere of Richard Strauss Second Horn Concerto premiered in Salzburg, Austria on August 11, 1943 under Karl Boehm.  Gottfried von Freiberg was still Principal horn of the Vienna Philharmonic at the time of his death in 1962.  Gottfried von Freiberg was Professor of horn at the Hochschule für Musik 1932-1962.  A heavy smoker, Freiberg suffered a series of heart attacks.  Gottfried von Freiberg died still in his professional functions in 1962 at the relatively young age of 54. 


1937-1950 (Co-Principal 1945-1950)  Willem Adriaan Valkenier

photo   Willem Valkenier in 1925


Willem Valkenier was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands on February 27, 1887.  As a child, he first played the piano, and then studied the horn with a clarinetist of a military band.  In 1901, when Willem Valkenier was 14, he began study with the horn teacher Adolph Preus, a Czech born hornist who had settled in Rotterdam 108.  This connection with Preus was important in Willem Valkenier's decision to adopt the double horn, since Preus had already worked with the horn manufacturer C F Schmidt 107.   The excellent Valkenier profile (uncredited) in the International Horn Society website 108 describes Valkenier's developing career: '...After two years studying with Preus, Valkenier started playing in a vaudeville theater orchestra.   In the summer, he played in a Civil Guard symphonic band with Preus playing first horn, a continuation of his education.  His first major professional job was third horn in a symphony orchestra in Groningen (Netherlands), then a year as first horn in Haarlem.  Wanting a better living than he could attain in the Netherlands, he found a job as first horn in the Collegium Musicum in Winterthur, Switzerland.  After a year, he saw an advertisement for first horn in Breslau (Silesia, later part of Poland)...where an excellent grounding in opera...' 108.  In 1914, with the onset of World War 1, Willem Valkenier was able to enter the horn section of the Royal Court Opera, Berlin ('Königliche Hofoper', renamed 'Staatsoper unter den Linden' after the war).   The IHS profile further describes Willem Valkenier's path: '...In 1923, Valkenier, a pacifist and still a Dutch citizen, began to see that conditions in Germany were going to 'go wrong' in response to the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I.  He was friendly with cellist Pablo Casals and considered settling in Barcelona, but finally decided to try America.  Valkenier talked with conductors in New York and Chicago, but both had six-month union waiting periods, so he went to Boston (a non-union orchestra until December 4, 1942) as first horn of the second horn section...' 108.  So, Valkenier came to the US from Berlin in September, 1923 to join the Boston Symphony as Principal horn.  Willem Valkenier was a member of the Boston Symphony horn section for thirty seasons from 1923-1953.  In the 1937-1938 season, following the departure of Gottfried von Freiberg, Willem Valkenier was advanced by Serge Koussevitzky to the Principal horn chair.  In 1945-1946, Valkenier became Co-Principal with Philip Farkas, and from 1947-1950, Willem Valkenier was Co-Principal horn with James Stagliano.  Willem Valkenier retired from the Boston Symphony in 1950.  Willem Valkenier taught for two generations at the New England Conservatory in Boston, where he was also granted an honorary doctorate in Music in 1968 87.  Valkenier is said to have been an inspired teacher for his horn students.  Unlike the traditional European teaching style of domination of students by the teaching master, Valkenier is said to have been gentle and positive, yet demanding.  Valkenier played both a Schmidt or Kruspe double horn 86.  Willem Valkenier died April 23, 1986, at the venerated age of 99.


1945-1946  Philip F. Farkas  (Co-Principal horn with Willem Valkenier)




Philip Farkas born March 5, 1914 in Chicago of parents of Czechoslovak origin.  Farkas described his family as not being not particularly musical, but he took piano lessons 126.  Then, in the school band, Farkas initially took up the tuba.  In a famous Farkas story, one day, boarding the street car with his large tuba, the conductor complained that the tuba took up too much space, leading Farkas to change to the horn.  He started horn study at about age 14, and was initially self-taught.  As a student, he was first horn in the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the training orchestra for the Chicago Symphony.  Farkas described his early horn education: '...One day, while going past Carl Geyer's workshop, I heard some incredibly beautiful sounds coming out the door. Upon investigating, I found that it was Louis Dufrasne trying out a new Geyer horn [Louis Victor Dufrasne. born in Belgium in 1878, was Principal horn of the Chicago Opera Company]. At that exact moment, I determined two things; I would some day own a Geyer horn and I would have Mr. Dufrasne as my teacher. I started with Mr. Dufrasne right away, but it took quite a few months before Carl Geyer determined whether or not I was qualified to own one of his beautiful horns. But in the end, I got my Geyer horn and played it for about 23 years...'126

Dufrasne   Louis Dufrasne, teacher of Philip Farkas, Helen Kotas and Frank Brouk


Louis Dufrasne was also the teacher of two other CSO Principal horns: Helen Kotas Hirsh and Frank Brouk.  In 1932 at age 18, and still in High School Philip Farkas auditioned and gained the Principal horn position with the newly-formed Kansas City Philharmonic.  Extraordinary though this was, Farkas later said humorously that he had thought at the time ' studied an instrument for three or four years and then went out and procured a symphony job...'126.   Farkas remained at the Kansas City Philharmonic for three years 1933-1936.  In the 1936-1937 season, Philip Farkas became Principal horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Frederick Stock, replacing Pellegrino Lecce.  At age 22, Farkas was at the time the youngest member of the Chicago Symphony.  Philip Farkas remained with Chicago as Principal horn until 1941.  Then, invited by Arthur Rodzinski, Philip Farkas moved to Cleveland, where 1941-1945, he was Principal horn with the Cleveland Orchestra.  Farkas then had a succession of several key orchestral posts.  First, in Boston, according to some listings, and according to Farkas 126, he was Co-Principal horn of the Boston Symphony with Willem Valkenier in the 1945-1946 season under Serge Koussevitzky.  Then, at George Szell's request (specified in his contract according to Donald Rosenberg), Philip Farkas returned to Cleveland for the 1946-1947 season during George Szell's first season as Music Director.  The next year for the 1947-1948 season, Farkas returned to Chicago as Principal horn, where he remained for 12 seasons, 1947-1960.  Then, in 1960, at what would seem the height of his career, Farkas was offered to teach at Indiana University.  Philip Farkas explained his thinking in accepting this key teaching position: '...having heard all too many players continue playing beyond their prime, I had an abhorrence of doing the same and have always felt that I would rather quit several years too soon than ten minutes too late...' 126.  So, Philip Farkas departed the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to become Professor of Music at Indiana University, staying twenty-four year 1960-1984.  During this time, Farkas, an avid amateur flyer, also taught for sixteen summers at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado.  Philip Farkas died on December 21, 1992 in Bloomington, Indiana, location of Indiana University, his longest serving position.


1947-1971  James Stagliano  (Co-Principal horn with Willem Valkenier 1947-1950)




James Stagliano was born in Italy on January 7, 1912.  His family emigrated to the US in 1920, when he was 8 years old, perhaps because his uncle Albert J. Stagliano was already established in Detroit.  In Italy, James Stagliano first learned piano, and studied with his father, a trumpet player.  Unfortunately, Stagliano's father died when James was young.  In Detroit, James Stagliano studied French horn with his uncle Albert J. Stagliano.  Albert Stagliano in the early 1920s played on the staff orchestra of the pioneering Detroit radio station WWJ.  Albert Stagliano was later Principal horn of the Detroit Symphony 1929-1936 127, Principal horn of the Cleveland Orchestra 1936-1937, horn with Toscanini's NBC Symphony 1937-late 1940s.  Uncle Albert continued to aid James Stagliano who in 1928, at age only 16, was an extra of the Detroit Symphony.  In the 1930-1931 season, James Stagliano joined the Detroit Symphony as Assistant Principal horn on the first stand, next to his uncle Albert.  James Stagliano and his Wagnerian soprano wife 163 Inez Gorman then moved to St. Louis where James was appointed St. Louis Symphony Principal horn in about 1934-1936 under Vladimir Golschmann.  In the 1936-1937 season, James Stagliano moved to California to play under Otto Klemperer in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.  James Stagliano remained in Los Angeles until 1944.  He was also a session musician in the the Hollywood studios, particularly at Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Brothers including Gone With the Wind.  James Stagliano moved from Los Angeles to play in the Cleveland Orchestra under Erich Leinsdorf's brief tenure in 1944.  In 1946, following the departure of Philip Farkas, James Stagliano was selected by Koussevitzky to become Co-Principal horn with Willem Valkenier, beginning in the 1946-1947 season.  Willem Valkenier was listed first, with James Stagliano, second, so presumably Stagliano usually sat in the second chair, next to his stand partner Valkenier.   This Co-Principal arrangement continued under Charles Munich until Valkenier's retirement at the end of the 1949-1950 season.  James Stagliano was Principal or Co-Principal horn in Boston for twenty-seven seasons, 1946-1973. 


While in Boston, James Stagliano helped found Boston Records for which he and Boston Symphony colleagues recorded a number of innovative works (such as Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings).  With Sarah Caldwell, Stagliano was active with the Opera Company of Boston.  Stagliano is said to have used, primarily, a double horn from Gebr. Alexander (Mainz, Germany).  Horn colleagues also remarked that "Jimmy" Stagliano used his Assistant horn, Charles Yancich often to reduce his orchestral load, which gave Yancich added exposure 127.   James Stagliano was not particularly active as a teacher, but his relaxed style and effective playing of high registers of the horn influenced many other players.  He also had an active sense of humor, and had a reputation as something of a bon vivant, which many appreciated.  Milan Yancich tells the story 127 of "Jimmy" Stagliano undergoing a triple coronary bypass operation.  Just before anesthesia, the surgeon informed Stagliano that, although this is a very intensive and difficult procedure, that he had done it many times, and not to worry.  Stagliano replied: "...Doctor, until you have to play Oberon, you don't know what worry means...".  James Stagliano died in Boynton Beach (near Boca Raton), Florida on April 11, 1987.


1971-1972   Charles Theodore Yancich



Charles Yancich was born in Whiting, Indiana on the fourth of July, 1924.  Charles and his older brother, Milan Yancich (1921-2007) both studied horn throughout their teenage years.  Charles and Milan studied with Philip Farkas in Chicago, but Charles soon switched to studying with James Stagliano in Boston during summers127.  This was while Charles Yancich was studying at the University of Michigan.  In 1954, Charles Yancich auditioned with the Boston Symphony, and he and his brother Milan were the finalists for the position 127.  Charles Yancich was the winner and assumed his Assistant Principal horn position in the 1954-1955 season, under Charles Munch.  Charles Yancich served in the Boston Symphony for twenty-nine seasons, 1954-1983.  In the 1971-1972 season, following the retirement of James Stagliano, Charles Yancich was acting Principal horn for that season.  With the appointment of Charles Kavalovski as Principal horn, Charles Yancich returned to the Associate Principal chair until the 1979-1980 season, and then to the last horn chair until his retirement at the end of the 1982-1983 season.


1972-1997   Charles D. Kavalovski




Charles Kavalovski was born in Minnesota on February 12, 1936.  In Minnesota, Charles Kavalovski studied the horn with Paul Binstock and Robert Elworthy, both of the Minneapolis Symphony (after 1968, the Minnesota Orchestra).  Charles 'Chuck' Kavalovski also holds a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the University of Minnesota, and led a successful physics teaching career.  As a university teacher, his career reached Professor, achieving tenure at age 35.  Deciding to pursue this musical career Kavalovski auditioned with several orchestras, including the Boston Symphony.  He played for one season with the Denver Symphony in 1971-1972, before being invited to join the Boston Symphony in 1972.  Charles Kavalovski has also been active in chamber music. He has has said in interviews that playing in the Boston Symphony Chamber Players has been a great source of personal satisfaction.  Kavalovski took sabbatical leave from the BSO in 1992-1993, apparently in part due to an injury.  Kavalovski returned with critics rating his playing better than ever, particularly in difficult high, soaring passages, and equally difficult softer passages.  His tone and phrasing have often been remarked by critics.  Charles Kavalovski has taught at both Boston University and the New England Conservatory.  As well as being active at MIT, Kavalovski was adjunct Professor of Physics at Boston University.


January 1998-present  James Sommerville




James Sommerville in December, 2008 with James Levine and 100 birthday Elliot Carter at the premier of Carter's Horn Concerto


James Sommerville was born in Toronto, Canada in 1962.  In his High School years, James ('Jamie') Sommerville studied the horn.  He went on to the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario), and also studied also with Eugene Rittich, Principal horn of the Toronto Symphony.  James Sommerville then entered the music program at the University of Toronto.  1983-1985, he became Principal horn with the Symphony Nova Scotia in Halifax.  James Sommerville was then Principal horn with the Canadian Opera Company (Toronto) in 1985-1986, and Associate Principal horn in the Montreal Symphony under Charles Dutoit.  Sommerville was with the Montreal Symphony for eleven seasons 1986-1998.  In January, 1998, Sommerville was appointed Principal horn of the Boston Symphony under Seiji Ozawa.  Sommerville is reported to play a Yamaha 861 and a Paxman triple horn.  More recently, Sommerville has expanded his musical activities into conducting.  In 2007, as a conductor, James Sommerville was appointed Artistic Director of the Hamilton (Ontario) Philharmonic Orchestra 99.  It was further announced that James Sommerville will conduct the Edmonton Symphony (Alberta) in 2011, and the Québec Symphony in 2012.  It therefore seems likely that James Sommerville's busy career may become yet more busy in the next decade.


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1921 BSO brass

1921 Boston Symphony Brass Section:

standing:  William Carl Gebhardt (horn), Henry E. Lorbeer (horn), Max Hess (horn), Frank J. Hain (horn), LeRoy S. Kenfield (bass trombone), August Mausebach (trombone), Gustav Perret (cornet)

seated:  Eugene Adam (tuba), Joseph F. Mann (trumpet), Frank Wendler (Principal horn), George Mager (Principal trumpet), Carl Hampe (Principal trombone), Louis (Ludwig) Kloepfel (trumpet), Cornelis van den Berg (horn)


Boston Symphony Orchestra Principal Trumpets

1881-1886   Ezra Mahon Bagley

Ezra M. Bagley was born January 3, 1853 in Albany, Vermont.  He studied cornet in Boston with L. S. Batchelder.  Ezra Bagley was brother of the march composer Edwin Eugene Bagley (1857-1922), composer of the National Emblem March

photo   Edwin Eugene Bagley

In 1869, E. M. Bagley played solo cornet with the Boston Common Band in the Germania Orchestra of Boston, and was active in the David C. Hall 'New Concert And Quadrille Band'.  90.  Ezra Bagley was cornet in bands in the 1870s; the South Windham (Massachusetts) Band and in 1878, the Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore Band, where Bagley replaced the first cornetist Benjamin C. Bent (1848-1897) during their European tour.  Emulating his brother, E. M. Bagley also composed several popular marches, including the Independence March.  E. M. Bagley joined the Boston Symphony during its initial five seasons as Principal trumpet, 1881-1886. Ezra Bagley died at an early age on a European tour he had organized for the summer of 1886 in Liverpool, England on July 8 1886, age only 33 91.  The Boston Globe account of his passing recounted: '...Mr. Bagley arrived in that city a week ago. He was suffering from nervous prostration when he left America. He went to a hospital immediately after his arrival in Liverpool and remained there up to the time of his death...' 91


1886-1887   Richard Shuebruk


Richard Shuebruk was born in Bristol, England August 23, 1854.  Shuebruk came to the U.S. in 1876.  Richard Shuebruk joined the Boston Symphony trumpet section in the 1885-1886 season, and became Principal trumpet, the next season for one year.  In the 1920s and 1930s, Shuebruk was a music teacher in New York City.  Shuebruk also played in the Frederick Neil Innes (1854-1926) Band.  As a teacher, he was known for the advice: 'Don't blow harder for the high notes; Pinch tighter'.


1887-1888  Edward N. Lafricain


Edward Lafricain (or Edouard L'Africain) was born in Montreal, Canada in December 2, 1852.  His family relocated to the U.S. in 1866.  Lafricain was a long-time trumpet player of the Boston Symphony, first from 1887-1893, then in the 1896-1897 season, and finally 1900-1902, a total of nine seasons.  During this period, Edward Lafricain was Principal trumpet of the Boston Symphony for one season, 1887-1888.  Between the 1896-1897 and 1900-1902 seasons with the Boston Symphony, Edward Lafricain was Principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic 1898-1899, succeeded at the Philharmonic by Herman Basse.  During World War 1, Edward Lafricain was a bandmaster of the Malden 101st Regiment in the US Army expeditionary force in France.  He was said to have been to oldest bandmaster on active Army service (he would have been 65 at the time).  Edward Lafricain died in Malden, Massachusetts on May 15, 1921.


1888-1898   Pierre Mueller


Pierre Mueller (Jean Baptiste Pierre Müller) was born in Luxembourg on March 18, 1846.  Mueller emigrated to the U.S. in 1888 to join the Boston Symphony under Wilhelm Gericke.  Mueller was a trumpet player in the Boston Symphony for twelve seasons 1888-1900.  He was Principal trumpet during most of that time, from 1888-1898 under Gericke, Nikisch, and Paur.


1898-1914   Louis F. Kloepfel  played 1898-1927


Louis F. (sometimes Ludwig) Kloepfel (or Klöpfel) was born in March 1867 in the Thuringia area (State) of Germany 92.  He studied in Berlin and Leipzig wiht Langhof and Christian Ferdinand Weinschenk 92.  In Leipzig, Louis (or Ludwig) Kloepfel was Principal trumpet of in the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra 92.  Louis Kloepfel came to the U.S. in 1889 to New York.  Kloepfel joined the New York Symphony as Principal trumpet 1891-1898 for eight seasons, under Walter Damrosch.  While in New York, Kloepfel was apparently also First trumpet of the National Symphony Orchestra in the 1895-1896 season 92. Louis Kloepfel then moved to the Boston Symphony during the first season of the direction of Artur Nikisch, as Principal trumpet in the 1898-1899 season.  Kloepfel was a long-term trumpet player for the Boston Symphony, serving for 29 seasons, 1898-1927.  During 16 of these seasons, 1898-1914, Kloepfel was Principal trumpet.  Like Gustav Heim, Kloepfel was a Bb trumpet player, unlike the later C trumpet which gradually took over in orchestras during the later Twentieth Century.  Kloepfel was also during the 1910s, the conductor of the Boston Ladies Brass Octet.  Louis Kloepfel taught many trumpet students, both privately and at the New England Conservatory.  Among these was William Vacchiano, later Principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic.  Kloepfel also designed his model of the orchestral trumpet with the manufacturer C.G. Conn of Indiana.  Louis Kloepfel died in Needham (suburban Boston) Massachusetts on October 10, 1936.


1914-1920   Gustav Friedrick Heim


Gustav Heim was born in Schleusingen, Thüringen, Germany, 150 km East of Frankfurt on May 8, 1879.  Heim studied trumpet first under his father, and then at the local music school in Schleusingen from 1893-1897.  In 1897, Heim was cornet solo of the military band based in Thüringen.  Heim emigrated to the U.S. in 1904 to St. Louis.  During his career, Heim was first trumpet for an amazing number of leading U.S. orchestras.  Heim started in 1904 with the orchestra of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (also known as the 1904 St. Louis World Fair). In St. Louis, Fritz Scheel, conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra heard Gustav Heim play.  As a result, in the 1905-1906 season, Heim became Principal trumpet of the Philadelphia Orchestra, while his predecessor, Herman Basse returned to the Metropolitan Opera.  Gustav Heim stayed in Philadelphia for one season.  Then, in the 1906-1907 season, Heim moved to the Boston Symphony Orchestra as third trumpet.  In the 1914-1915 season, under Karl Muck, Heim became Principal Trumpet until 1920.  In the 1920 disastrous Boston Symphony musician's strike, Heim was, along with the Concertmaster Fredric Fradkin, one of the two Orchestra Principals who left the Boston Symphony as a result of the strike.  Heim departed for the Detroit Symphony, where he was Principal trumpet 1920-1921. George Mager  then took over Heim's first chair trumpet position with the Boston Symphony.  After moving to Detroit for one season, Gustav Heim then moved to New York, where he was Principal trumpet with the Philharmonic Society for two seasons 1921-1923 under Josef Stransky.  Continuing his movements from orchestra to orchestra, in the 1923-1924 season, Heim moved to the Cleveland Orchestra under Nikolai Sokoloff (1886-1965).  Then, Gustav Heim moved back to New York to join the New York Symphony from 1925-1928 under Walter Damrosch (who had also conducted Heim at the 1904 St. Louis Fair).  After the merger of the New York Symphony with the New York Philharmonic Society in 1928, Harry Glantz was selected to continue as Principal trumpet of the merged orchestra.  Glantz had previously studied with Heim.  Gustav Heim then joined the American Symphonic Ensemble in New York which was an orchestra without a conductor for the 1929-1930 season.  He was also a regular at the long-lived Worcester Music Festival (Massachusetts) in the summers from 1910-1914, 1916, and 1925 to 1932.  Gustav Heim also taught in New York City, and among his famous students were William Vacchiano.  During most of his career, Gustav Heim played a was a Bb trumpet.  Gustav Heim died relatively young on October 30, 1933 in New York City after a sudden illness, aged only 54.


1920-1950   Georges Charles Mager


Georges Mager was born in Tourcoing, France, just North of Lille, on the Belgian boarder on November 7, 1884.  His father was the bandmaster of the Tourcoing town band 176.  At his father's request, Mager initially played French horn.  He also studied violin, including winning a violin medal at the Ecoles Academique de Tourcoing, where he also studied solfège 176.  After this training, Georges Mager gained admission to the Paris Conservatoire in 1901.  He studied trumpet and cornet with Jean-Joseph Mellet (1880-1920), who was in turn a student of the historic trumpet teacher Jean-Baptiste Arban (1825-1889).  At the Conservatoire, Georges Mager won Second prix in 1905 and Premier prix in the 1906 Concour.  After graduation, Georges Mager was Principal trumpet at the Concerts Touche in Paris.  Georges Mager was also a tenor, and with his soprano wife Claire, was said by the family to have sung at l'Opéra Comique in Paris 78.  During the 1910s, Mager played with the Paris Opera Orchestra, the Concerts Lamoureux, and the l'Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire.  After World War 1, Georges Mager was part of a U.S. good-will tour of the Garde républicaine band.  With the Band, Mager was flugelhorn soloist (a sort of wide bore trumpet).  Three musicians from the Garde républicaine band were hired into the Boston Symphony by Henri Rabaud for the 1918-1919 season: Louis Speyer English horn, Georges_Laurent flute, and Georges Mager trumpet.  However, since there was not a trumpet chair open, for this first season, Mager was hired as a violist (!) 77.   Interestingly, Mager shared a viola stand with with Arthur Fiedler in this 1918-1919 season.  The next season, 1919-1920 under Pierre Monteux, Georges Mager was then moved to the third trumpet chair, sitting behind Gustav Heim and Joseph F. Mann.  After the disastrous 1920 musician's strike, Gustav Heim left for the Detroit Symphony.  Heim was, along with Concertmaster Freddy Fradkin the only Principal musicians to leave following the strike.  The next season, Georges Mager became Principal trumpet in 1920-1921, where he stayed until shortly before his death until the conclusion of the 1949-1950 season.  This service was for a total of 50 seasons as Principal trumpet, and 52 seasons with the Orchestra.  Georges Mager had retired after he suffered a stroke just prior to the Summer, 1950 Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood.  Weeks later, Georges Mager fell and broke his hip 78.  Georges Mager subsequently died on his farm in Housatonic, Massachusetts on September 20, 1950 77, just weeks after the end of the Boston Symphony 1949-1950 season.  Georges Mager was an important teacher, including at the New England Conservatory.  Among his trumpet students were Adolph Herseth (later Principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony), Roger Voisin (Mager's successor), and Bernard Adelstein (later Principal trumpet of the Cleveland Orchestra).  Mager was one of the early advocates of the C trumpet for the orchestra, with its slightly more brilliant tone.  His two predecessors, Louis Kloepfel and Gustav Heim both preferred the B b trumpet.


(note: a brief newspaper account of Georges Mager:  'February 29, 1944.  Georges Mager, first trumpet of the Boston Symphony, and his wife were heart-broken when their pet canary died.  So they decided to have it stuffed and keep it in its cage.  Consulting the directory, they found the nearest taxidermist was 'S. W. Gerhardt', Jamaica Plain.  Going there, Mager was astonished to find that the taxidermist was Siegfried Gerhardt , his viola colleague in the Orchestra but whose avocation is stuffing things such as canaries.' 79)


1950-1963 Principal, 1964-1966 Co-Principal   Roger Louis Voisin


Roger Voisin was born June 26, 1918 in Angers, France.  Roger Voisin emigrated to the U.S. with his family to the U.S. in 1928 at the age of eleven so that his father, René Louis Gabriel Voisin (1893-1952), could accept a position as fourth trumpet with the Boston Symphony.  René Voisin had met Serge Koussevitzky in Paris at the l'Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire.  René Voisin was a member of the Boston Symphony from 1928-1952 - he was 4th, utility trumpet, and also played bass trumpet. René Voisin played with his gifted son, Roger Voisin for seventeen seasons.  After moving to the U.S., Roger Voisin studied with BSO trumpet players Marcel Lafosse and George Mager .  He also studied solfège with long-term and long-lived Boston Symphony string bass (with the BSO from 1927-1957) Gaston Dufresne.   Roger Voisin caught the attention of Arthur Fiedler who in 1935, recommended to Koussevitzky that Roger Voisin be hired into the Boston Symphony trumpet section.  Following audition, Roger Voisin was, at age 17, the youngest musician admitted to the Boston Symphony Orchestra (at least, so far).  In the 1947-1948, Roger Voisin was named Co-Principal trumpet with Georges Mager, and with his father, René Voisin in the last trumpet chair.  In the 1950-1951 season, Voisin succeeded the mortally ill Georges Mager as Principal trumpet.  Then, in the 1966-1967 season, Roger Voisin took the second trumpet chair, sitting next to the new Principal trumpet, Armando Ghitalla.  During his career, Roger Voisin served for 39 seasons in the BSO, retiring in 1973.  Roger Voisin was either Principal or Co-Principal trumpet for 23 of these seasons, 1947-1966.  In addition to his work with the Boston Symphony, Roger Voisin is remembered as a leading teacher, first at the New England Conservatory 1950-1969 and then at Boston University 1970-1999, a total of nearly 50 years.  Roger Voisin died February 13, 2008 in suburban Boston.


1966-1979   Armando A. Ghitalla

Armando_Ghitalla    Armando Ghitalla circa 1949


Armando Ghitalla was born June 1, 1925 in Alpha, Illinois a small town 100 miles west of Chicago.  He grew up on a small farm with his parents Jack (or Giacomo) and Tressa who had emigrated from Italy.  In 1942, he entered the Illinois Wesleyan University, working part time jobs. He was in the Navy during World War 2, and then applied to Juilliard.  Ghitalla studied at the Juilliard School beginning 1946 where he graduated in 1949 in only 3 years taking extra credits.  While still at Juilliard in 1948, Ghitalla performed in the New York City Center Opera and Ballet in the 1948-1949 season.  After auditioning with Efrem Kurtz, Armando Ghitalla then moved to the Houston Symphony Orchestra for two seasons 1949-1951.  In the 1951-1952 season, Armando Ghitalla joined the Boston Symphony, where he served twenty-eight years in the trumpet section.  His first 13 seasons, 1951-1964, Ghitalla was initially third trumpet and then Associate Principal trumpet.  In the 1966-1967 season under Erich Leinsdorf, Armando Ghitalla became Principal trumpet.  Ghitalla remained in the first chair for 13 more seasons, 1966-1979.  Following his departure from the Boston Symphony, Armando Ghitalla taught at the University of Michigan in Anne Arbor from 1979-1995.  Armando Ghitalla died December 14, 2001 in Houston, Texas, where he was teaching at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.


BSO Trumpets 1977

BSO trumpets in 1977: (l to r) Armando Ghitalla, André C?e, Rolf Smedvig, Gerard Goguen


1979-1981  Rolf T. Smedvig



Rolf Smedvig and the Empire Brass Quintet: Marc Brian Reese, trumpet, Kenneth Amis, tuba, Michelle Perry, horn, Rolf Smedvig trumpet, Mark Hetzler, trombone


Rolf Smedvig was born in Seattle, Washington on September 23, 1952.  Rolf Smedvig made his solo debut with the Seattle Symphony.  Smedvig studied at Boston University with Armando Ghitalla, Raphael Mendez, and Maurice Andre.  He also studied at the Tanglewood Music Center in the summer of 1971.  There, he met Leonard Bernstein, by whom he was invited to perform as a soloist in the 1971 world premiere the Bernstein Mass, which opened the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.  Then, in the 1971-1972 season, at age of nineteen Rolf Smedvig was appointed Assistant Principal Trumpet of the Boston Symphony by Seiji Ozawa, the youngest member of the BSO at that time.  Smedvig was in the second trumpet chair for eight seasons.  Following the departure of Smedvig's teacher Armando Ghitalla, Seiji Ozawa elevated Rolf Smedvig to the Principal trumpet chair in the 1979-1980 season.  After two seasons as Principal trumpet, Rolf Smedvig left the Boston Symphony to pursue a solo career.  His success in this solo career was demonstrated as a founding member and first trumpet of the Empire Brass Quintet.  Rolf Smedvig has also performed as a conductor with the Williamsport (Pennsylvania) Symphony, being Music Director for ten seasons 1982-1992, the Honolulu Symphony, the (sadly missed) Northwest Chamber Orchestra (Seattle), the Tohnhalle Orchestra (Zurich), and the Simon Bolivar Orchestra (Caracas).  Sadly, Rolf Smedvid died suddenly of a heart attack on 27 April 2015.  He died in his home in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and was reported as appearing in good health prior to suffering his heart attack. His was a great art and a most successful and innovative career.


1981-2006   Charles E. Schlueter

photo Charles Schlueter, left with Assistant Principal trumpet Peter Chapman


Charles Schlueter was born in Du Quoin, Illinois on April 20, 1939.  In high school Schlueter studied in St. Louis, Missouri with Edward Brauer, trumpet of the local NBC radio orchestra.  Admitted to Juilliard, where he graduated in 1962, Charles Schlueter studied with William Vacchiano 102, with whom Armando Ghitalla also had studied.   William Vacchiano became both Charles Schlueter's teacher and his friend.  Following graduation, Charles Schlueter was Principal trumpet with the Kansas City Philharmonic for two seasons 1962-1964 under long-time conductor Hans Schweiger (1907-2000).   Charles Schlueter then was appointed Principal trumpet of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for three seasons, 1964-1967 under conductor Harry John Brown (1924-2000) who had lead the transition of the Milwaukee Symphony from part-time orchestra to a professional group 114.  Charles Schlueter then moved to Cleveland as Principal trumpet of the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell in the 1967-1968 season.  Schlueter remained in Cleveland through the death of George Szell and the direction of Pierre Boulez, departing after five seasons at the end of 1971-1972.  Schlueter then returned to Minnesota as Principal trumpet of the Minnesota Orchestra 1972-1981 under Music Director Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and after 1979, Neville Marriner.  Charles Schlueter was appointed Principal trumpet of the Boston Symphony by Seiji Ozawa in 1981.  Charles Schlueter retained the first trumpet chair in Boston for twenty-five seasons, 1981-2006.  (Note that Charles Schlueter during this period was the subject of perhaps the only recent book giving a view into the ongoing career of an orchestral trumpet: In Concert, On Stage and Offstage with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, by Carl A. Vigeland 117.  In this account, Charles Schlueter receives extensive and favorable coverage, but with somewhat more negative depictions of Seiji Ozawa, and Boston critic Richard Dyer, and what seems a mixed view of certain other BSO leading musicians.  Criticism in Boston has often been described as a 'contact sport').  Charles Schlueter continues to teach at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.  His students comprise an impressive list, including: Andrew Balio, Principal trumpet of the Baltimore Symphony, Roderick Macdonald former Principal trumpet of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and David Bamonte, Principal trumpet of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra.


2006-present  Thomas C. Rolfs Jr.




Thomas Rolfs was born in Minnesota on August 12, 1958.  He studied music at the University of Minnesota and went on to gain his Master of Music degree from Northwestern University in Chicago.  In the summer of 1978, Rolfs studied at the Tanglewood Music Center, the beginning of his Boston connection 101.  Returning to Minnesota, during five seasons, 1986-1991, Thomas Rolfs was trumpet with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, working with Pinchas Zukerman, and later with the triumvirate of Christopher Hogwood, Hugh Wolff, and John Adams who formed the 'Artistic Commission' of Saint Paul at that period.  Then, in the next season, Thomas Rolfs joined the Boston Symphony in 1991-1992 as fourth chair in the Boston Trumpet section.  Rolfs was subsequently advanced to Assistant Principal trumpet, before being advanced to Principal Trumpet in the 2006-2007 season.  The Boston Symphony trumpet section rich tradition continues in good hands.


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Boston Symphony Orchestra Trombones and Tubas


BSO trombones (and tuba) in 1970 and 2001

1970: (l to r) William Gibson Principal trombone, Josef Orosz Second trombone, Kauko Kahila Bass trombone

2001: Ron Barron Principal trombone, Norm Bolter Second trombone, Doug Yeo Bass trombone, Chester Schmitz tuba


1881-1886   Alfred Rigg

Rigg or Moore

either Alfred Rigg or David H. Moore, the two trombones of the first BSO season in this 1882 photo collage

(only one of them was included in the collage)


Alfred Rigg was born in Québec in 1845 where his British Army father Sergeant Alexander Rigg was then stationed.  Alfred Rigg's early musical education was likely with his father who was a British Army Band musician.  Alfred Rigg relocated with his family back to England where he married his wife Georgette in 1866.  They emigrated to Boston in 1870.  With the formation of the Boston Symphony, Alfred Rigg was Principal trombone 1881-1886, and then trombone (most likely was Bass trombone) 1891-1897.  He also played at the Globe Theater orchestra - Boston, and the Naval Battalion Band in 1891.  Rigg also played euphonium in the Boston Globe band 1894 160.  In 1877 until at least 1894, the he played in the Boston Cadet Band led by John C. Mullaly 161, and during most of its history by J. Thomas Baldwin.  Rigg also played with the Thomas Baldwin Band of Boston - Baldwin's Band.  Alfred Rigg taught trombone, euphonium, and baritone at the New England Conservatory 1881-1888.  Alfred Rigg died in Boston in 1897 age only 52 survived for 30 years by his wife Georgette. 


1910s and 1920s  LeRoy Kenfield Bass trombone, Fredrick Mausebach Second trombone, Carl Hampe Principal trombone

photo LeRoy Kenfield, Fredrick Mausebach, Carl Hampe in 1910


LeRoy S. Kenfield was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 17, 1866.   He learned to play the trombone at the Thompson Island School (for indigent boys).  This school made a practice of training its poor or orphaned boys in instruments so as to provide them with a means of future income.  This school became famous also for producing some of the best brass musicians from their instrumental program.  Among other Thompson Island graduates was another Boston Symphony trombone David H. Moore.  In later years, LeRoy Kenfield donated money and instruction to the Thompson Island School.  Kenfield was one of the longest-serving Boston Symphony trombones, Bass trombone for thirty-five seasons.  LeRoy Kenfield died on October 5, 1934, less than 4 months after the end of the Boston Pops season, when Kenfield would have retired from the great Boston Symphony.


1914-1918  Modeste Eugene Emile Alloo Principal trombone


Modeste Eugene Emile Alloo was born in Belgium on 10 March 1884.  First with his father His father, Charles Jean-Auguste Alloo who was a conductor.  Modeste Alloo studied at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique - Brussels where he gained his Premier prix in solfège and Deuxième prix in trombone in the 1905 Concour 66.  Modeste Alloo then studied at the Conservatoire de Verviers - Belgium gaining trombone Premier prix in 1906.  Coming to the US, Alloo was New York Symphony timpani and played trombone about 1908-1911.  Then joining the Boston Symphony for one season under Max Fiedler and then under Carl Muck, he was Second trombone 1911-1914, and then appointed Principal trombone by Carl Muck 1914-1918.  After Boston, Alloo joined Eugène Ysaye's Cincinnati Symphony as trombone and Associate Conductor about 1919-1923.  Then ending his career as a symphony musician, he became Head of the Music Department at University of California, Berkeley 1923-1935.  During World War 2, Modeste Alloo was in Florida at the University of Miami as Director of the Department of Music for two decades 1942-1965. 


He died in Florida on 13 September 1975, after a long and accomplished career at age 91.


1925-1930  Joannes Rochut Principal trombone


Joannes Rochut was born in France in 1881.  He was trombone solo in the Paris Théâtre Lyrique opera orchestra and also the Colonne Orchestra 239.  , He also came to the US in the summer of 1918 as part of the Garde Republicaine band concert tour 239.  Retuening to Paris, he was Principal trombone of then Concerts Koussevitzky.  After playing with Koussevitzky's orchestra in Paris, Rochut joined Koussevitzky's Boston Symphony in the 1925-1926 season as Principal trombone.  Sometimes Jacob Raichman is listed as Co-Principal trombone with Rochut.  Raichman was stand partner of Joannes Rochut, but sitting in the second chair, with Rochut being Principal.  Joannes Rochut returned to Paris in 1930, where he died in in 1952.


1926-1955  Jacob Raichman Co-Principal 1926-1930 Principal trombone 1930-1955


Jacob A. Raichman was born in Vitebsk, which was then Russia and now Belarus, about 100 km west of Moscow on 23 January 1892.  He studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and then won admission to the Imperial Bolshoi Opera in Moscow 240.  Jacob Raichman was appointed to the trombone group of the Boston Symphony by Serge Koussevitzky in the 1926-1927 season.  Raichman was listed as Co-Principal trombone, with his stand partner being Principal trombone Joannes Rochut.  This continued with Raichman being in the BSO trombone second chair for four seasons 1926-1930.  After Joannes Rochut returned to Paris, Jacob Raichman was appointed Principal trombone.  Raichmen served as Principal for 25 further seasons 1930-1955.  After retiring for the BSO, Raaichman continued as a hobbist working on motors and machinery.  Jacob Raichman died in Brookline Massachusetts in January 1982. 


1952-1972  Kauko Kahila bass trombone


Kauko Emil Kahila was born on 28 April 1920 in Norwood, Massachusetts of parents who had emigrated from Finland in 1910.  His was a musical family with his father playing violin and later took up the trombone and his grandfather clarinet.  Kauko Kahila, called "Ko-ko" by his friends studied trombone at New England Conservatory under Hans Valdemar Lillebach, at that time bass trombone of the Boston Symphony.  Kahila was at Tanglewood, at that time called the Berkshire Music Center in the summers of 1940 and 1940.  He was bass trombone with the Houston Symphony 1941-1942, followed by 1 year of World War 2 service, returning to Houston in 1944.  Then with the Saint Louis Symphony as bass trombone 1944-1952.  Kauko Kahila auditioned with the Boston Symphony, and after being accepted, joined the orchestra early, playing bass trombone in the Summer 1952 tour of Europe and Russia.  Kauko Kahila served as bass trombone with the Boston Symphony for twenty seasons, retiring at the end of 1972-1973. 

photo Kauko Kahila in 1955


Kahila retired to Cape Cod, Massachusetts where he became interested in making an collecting blown glass.  With Kahila's bass trombone successor, Doug Yeo, Kahlia wrote a book of bass trombone studies at published as A Semester of Studies.  Kauko Emil Kahila died on November 18, 2013 at the age of 93.


1955-1975  William McHargue Gibson Principal trombone

Gibson 1964   William Gibson circa 1964  -   thanks to son Stan Gibson


William McHargue Gibson was born in Marlow, Oklahoma on 30 November 1916.  His was a musical family.  He was the third of six musically and artistically gifted children of Rev. Dr. Oscar Lee Gibson, a Baptist minister.  William and his brothers grew up in Jackson, Arkansas where their father was a preacher.  Brother Dr. Oscar Lee Gibson, Jr. was a Professor of clarinet at the University of North Texas, and brother Hugh Dana Gibson was later a violist with the Houston Symphony after having studied at the Tanglewood Music Festival.  William Gibson attended Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, now Oklahoma State, and then the University of Michigan.  William Gibson gained admission to the Curtis Institute, graduating in the Class of 1939.  Immediately after Curtis, Gibson became Principal trombone of the National Symphony of Washington DC.  He served in Washington one season 1939-1940.  William Gibson was then appointed Philadelphia Orchestra second trombone by Eugene Ormandy, serving 1940-1942.  Gibson then joined the Indianapolis Symphony as Principal trombone, serving three seasons 1942-1945.  He became New York City Center Symphony under Leonard Bernstein as Principal trombone 1945-1946.  He then moved to the Pittsburgh Symphony as Principal trombone, appointed by Fritz Reiner, where he served for 9 seasons 1946-1955. 

photo   William Gibson circa 1940  -   thanks to son Stan Gibson


Then, Charles Munch appointed William Gibson to succeed Jacob Raichman as Principal trombone of the Boston Symphony.  While in Boston, Gibson was a founding member of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players with whom he was active 1963-1975.  After formally retiring at the end of the 1974-1975 season, Gibson continue to assist the BSO trombone section in the 1975-1977 seasons before his final retirement.  After this retirement in 1977, William Gibson continued active under Sarah Caldwell in the Opera Company of Boston and and Opera New England Principal trombone.  Also in retirement, Gibson was Managing Director of the Needham Concert Society and of the West Stockbridge Concert Society - Massachusetts).  William Gibson died 25 October 2002 in Needham, Massachusetts.


1975-2008  Ron Barron Principal trombone




Ron Barron was born in Pennsylvania in 1946.  He studied at Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati graduating in Class of 1967.  In 1974, he won the highest trombone award at the Munich International Competition.  He played second trombone with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.  He then joined the Boston Symphony as second trombone succeeding Orosz, Joseph Orosz in the 1970-1971 season under William Steinberg.  In the 1975-1976 season following William Gibson's retirement, Seiji Ozawa selected Ron Barron as Principal trombone.  Ron Barron served as Principal for a further 33 seasons 1975-2008. 

photo   Ron Barron in 1972


Barron has taught at the New England Conservatory and at Boston University.  He and his wife Ina Barron have operated a bed-and-breakfast in summers during the Boston Symphony Tanglewood season.  Barron has long been interested in wines, and has earned the level of "Certified Specialist of Wine", applied no doubt also to his bed-and-breakfast cuisine.  Ron Barron has also performed with the Canadian Brass, Empire Brass, and Summit Brass.  He has produced a number of records and CDs, several receiving awards such as "Cousins" and at least eight on the Boston Brass Series, such as Le Trombone Francais (both I and II) featuring works for the Paris Conservatoire Concours, and Return of the Alto for alto trombone, including a work by Norman Bolter.


1985-August 2012  Douglas Edward Yeo Bass trombone




Douglas Yeo was born in Monterey, California on 19 May 1955 and grew up in Queens, New York and in Valley Stream, New York, where he started playing the trombone at age nine.  In Oak Ridge, New Jersey he graduated from Jefferson Township High School in 1973.  He studied at Indiana University 1973-1974 and then at Wheaton College, Illinois where he earned his BMus in 1976 with honors.  In Illinois, his teacher was the great Edward Kleinhammer, Bass trombone of the Chicago Symphony .  Doug Yeo also studied with Keith Brown of the Metropolitan Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra, who taught at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (Brown was also a teacher of Toby Oft and Steve Lange, so a 'Boston Symphony Triple').  Yeo gained his MA degree from New York University.  Doug Yeo joined the Baltimore Symphony in 1981 as Bass trombone, where he served for five seasons 1981-1985.  While in Baltimore, Doug Yeo was on the faculties of both the Peabody Conservatory and of the Catholic University of Washington DC.  Doug Yeo was also active from 1998-2008 as was Music Director of the New England Brass Band which released five compact disc recordings under his direction: Christmas Joy! in 1999, Honour and Glory in 2001, The Light of the World in 2004, This Is Christmas in 2005, and Be Glad Then America in 2007, which was winner of the North American Brass Band Association's 2007 "Recording of the Year" award.  Douglas Yeo has often been a soloist, unusual for the Bass trombone, both with the Baltimore Symphony and the Boston Symphony.  In 1991, he performed John William's Tuba Concerto on bass trombone with the Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by the composer.  In addition to the bass trombone, Doug Yeo plays bass trumpet, contrabass trombone, and from his interest in historical brasses, also the serpent, ophicleide and bass sackbut.  In May 1997, Yeo performed Simon Proctor's Concerto for Serpent and Orchestra with the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of John Williams. 

Yeo Williams John Williams, Doug Yeo and Doug's serpent in 1997


In Boston, Doug Yeo served as Chairman of the Brass and Percussion Department at the New England Conservatory.  After retiring from the Boston Symphony Doug Yeo took up teaching full-time. He was first was appointed Professor of Trombone at the School of Music of Arizona State University - Tempe in 2012. In September 2019, Doug Yeo was appointed Professor of Trombone at Wheaton College, his alma mater in Illinois.




2008-present  Toby H. Oft Principal trombone


Toby Oft official


Toby Oft was born in the Portland, Oregon area on February 16, 1976.  His was a musical family, and he began playing trombone, guided by his trombonist father Michael Oft (1946- ), at the age of 6.  Toby Oft studied at the Indiana University School of Music (as it was then known), where he earned his BMus.  This was followed by Northwestern University (Illinois) MMus.  While in the Chicago area at University, Toby Oft was also an active freelance musician.  His first professional orchestral job was as Principal trombone of the Florida West Coast Symphony (Sarasota) in September 2002.  Oft was then Principal trombone of the Buffalo Philharmonic during about 2004-2006.  Then, Toby Oft was named Principal trombone of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra 2006-2008.  In 2008, Toby Oft won the very competitive auditions for the Boston Symphony Principal trombone chair.  In Boston, Oft was one of the founders of the Boston Symphony Brass Quintet: Thomas Rolfs trumpet, James Sommerville horn, Mike Roylance tuba, Thomas Siders second trumpet, Toby Oft trombone.  Only the 12th Principal trombone of the Boston Symphony since its creation in 1881, Toby Oft continues the rich tradition of excellence of the BSO "Low Brass".


Toby Oft decontrat



Boston Symphony Orchestra Principal Tubas

July, 2003-present  Mike W. Roylance Principal tuba


Mike Roylance


Mike Roylance was born in Washinton, D.C. on 7 September 1967.  He studied at the University of Miami where he gained his BA.  He then taught at Rollins College, in Winter Park, Florida.  While in Florida, he taught at several other universities, including the University of Central Florida in Orlando, and playing in a number of groups related to Orlando's Disney World.  Then, relocating to Chicago, Mike Roylance was a graduate student at DePaul University. At this time, he was Principal tuba with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago (training orchestra) during the 2001-2002 season.  He also was a sub with the Chicago Symphony.  Mike Roylance joined the Boston Symphony in July, 2003. 


Mike Roylance


Since joining the Boston Symphony, he has taught at the New England Conservatory and at Boston University.  Mike Roylance was also one of the founding members of the BSO Brass Quintet which is comprised of all of the Principal brass players of the orchestra.


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Principal Timpani and Principal Percussion

Attention !  Drum roll please...  A section on the great BSO percussion musicians, including timpani will be added here soon.  Shown below: (l to r) Lee Vinson, Dan Bauch, Frank Epstein, Will Hudgins, percussion with Timothy Genis, timpani, the current BSO greats.



Boston Symphony Orchestra Principal Timpani


1952-2001   Everett J. Firth



Vic Firth circa 1953


Everett Joseph "Vic" Firth was born in Winchester, Massachusetts (in suburban Boston) on June 2, 1930.  Growing up in Sanford, Maine, he studied first with his trumpet-playing musician father Everett E. Firth, who was also a music teacher in the Sanford, Maine school system.  A few years later, Firth took up percussion, as well as playing the trombone, clarinet and piano.  By age 16 in High School, he had formed a band in which he played a variety of percussion instruments.  Vic Firth then studied at the New England Conservatory, including with his predecessor as Principal timpani, Roman Szulc. 


Roman Szulc, left, Principal timpani for 21 seasons passing the mallets to his successor as Principal timpani: Vic Firth in summer, 1956


Everett Firth graduated in the Class of 1952, and immediately entered the Boston Symphony under Charles Munch as Assistant timpani.  Vic Firth succeeded his teacher Roman Szulc as Principal timpani of the Boston Symphony in the summer of 1956.  Vic Firth served as Principal timpani in Boston for a further 45 seasons, retiring at the end of the 200-2001 season after 49 years of service.  He was also an active teacher at his alma mater the New England Conservatory.  He was the founder of Vic Firth Inc. having about 150 employees and said to be the world's largest manufacturer of drum sticks, and suppler of other percussion products. Vic Firth passed away in 2015 at age 85.


2006-present  Timothy E. Genis


Timothy Genis was born in California in 1966.  As a student, he played in the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.  Interestingly, as a student timothy Genis was a member of the San Francisco Boys' Chorus and participated in the performances of Mahler's Eighth Symphony that opened Davies Hall in 1981 under Edo de Waart.  Timothy Genis was also a Fellow at the Tanglewood Institute.  Then Genis studied at the Eastman School of Music, and while there also played in the Rochester Philharmonic.  The then played in the Hong Kong Philharmonic.  Studying at the Juilliard School, he also played with the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra.  Timothy Genis then went to the Honolulu Symphony 1991-1993.  Then in May, 1993, Timothy Genis won the audition to become enter the percussion section of the Boston Symphony.  He was first Assistant timpani May 1993-2004, and then advanced to Principal timpani 2004-present. 


Basrak Genis


Timothy Genis is married to Boston Symphony Assistant Principal viola Cathy Basrak and brother-in-law of Karen Baskak, cellist with the Chicago Symphony.



Quick Navigation: Click Below to Jump to Desired Location
  BSO Music Directors    
Concertmasters Cellos Violas
Basses Oboes Bassoons
Clarinets Flutes Horns
Trumpets Trombones/Tubas Timpini-Percussion
Boston Pops navigation of site Boston Symphony Chamber Players
List of all Boston Symphony Orchestra Musicians Return to Top of Page Musicians of Other US Orchestras



Sources of Information on the Principal Musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra


One of the excellent early books on the Boston Symphony Orchestra is The Boston Symphony Orchestra by Mark Antony De Wolfe Howe (see details below).  This book, published in 1914, covers the first thirty years of the Boston Symphony, with a listing of the musicians (although not indicating who was Principal or solo) and their years of service.  This book was later updated by John N. Burk in 1931. This is an excellent source for the early years of the BSO.  Another major source are the many books written about the BSO, including by musicians, which are listed in the Bibliography, Sources and Credits  section, elsewhere in this site.  Also, Bridget Carr and the Archives of the Boston Symphony have been most helpful with their knowledge and scholarship.  Also of great help has been Brian Bell for providing key information for this site, including the source material The Orchestra Book, Third Edition, "Know Your Orchestra" 1983-1984 from the Boston Symphony.  Also "Music Makers: BSO Profiles" 1991 from the Boston Symphony.  This, plus Brian Bell's extensive knowledge and insight of the Boston Symphony, its history and its musicians has been invaluable. 


Equally valuable have been the numerous emails from current and former Boston Symphony musicians who have been most generous with information and photographs. 


However, I should emphasize that any errors or omissions in the contents of what is presented on this site are only our fault, and not due to anyone else.  So, if you have corrections or additions, I request that you email me at the address given below .



If you have any comments or questions about this Leopold Stokowski site, please e-mail me (Larry Huffman) at e-mail address:  



If you have any comments or questions about this Leopold Stokowski site, please e-mail me (Larry Huffman) at e-mail address:  


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Rosters of Musicians of some Great Orchestras:



Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Acoustic Recordings 1917-1924:


Leopold Stokowski - Philadelphia Orchestra Electrical Recordings 1925-1940:


Leopold Stokowski Recording Discographies and Listing of Concerts:


Other Information about Leopold Stokowski:


Leopold Stokowski and Development of Recording:


Fritz Reiner:



1  see:  Références en musicologie: Rabaud, Henri 1873-1949
2 Howe, Mark Antony De Wolfe  The Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Houghton Mifflin Company.  Boston.  1914.
3   page 56.   Heiles, Anne Mischakoff.  America's Concertmasters.  Harmonie Park Press.  Sterling Heights, MI. 2007.  ISBN-13 978-0-89990-139-
4  Time Magazine   New York.   Oct. 21, 1966
5   pages 182-208.  Howe, Mark Antony De Wolfe  The Boston Symphony Orchestra - An Historical Sketch.  Houghton Mifflin Company.  Boston, Massachusetts.  1914.
10   page 6.   White, John.  Lionel Tertis: The First Great Virtuoso of the Viola  Boydell Press. Rochester, 2006. ISBN 184383278X
11   page 194-195  Burgess, Geoffrey and Haynes, Bruce The Oboe
12  Dovergne, Guy and L?ffler, Charles-Marie. Dossier Georges Longy  revue: La Lettre du Hautbo?te, numéro 12, 2e semestre 2003
13   page 47.  Blakeman, Edward.  Taffanel: Genius of the Flute. Oxford University Press 2005.  ISBN  0195170997
14   page 68-69  Stowell, Robin. The Cambridge Companion to the String Quartet. Cambridge University Press, 2003.  ISBN 0-52100-0424
15   Mahler-Rosé Collection.  University of Western Ontario.  Items 766-775 purchased from Sotheby's Sale  5256 of December 12, 1984
16   page 169.  Murphy, Joseph  Early Saxophone Instruction in American Educational Institutions  Northwestern University Doctoral dissertation.  Chicago. 1994.
17  Berdahl, Susan.  Haynes, Haynes, and More Haynes. The Woodwind Quarterly, Issue 1. Maple Valley, WA
18   page 69.  Blakeman, Edward.  Taffanel: Genius of the Flute Oxford University Press US. 2005. ISBN 0-19517-0997
19   page 247.  Howe, Mark Antony De Wolfe  The Boston Symphony Orchestra - An Historical Sketch.  Houghton Mifflin Company.  Boston, Massachusetts.  1914.
20   Cole, Robert F.  Flutist Quarterly.  "William M. Kincaid". Volume 21 no 1.  Fall, 1995.
21   Post, Nora.  January 1978 Brookline, Massachusetts Interview with Fernand and Marie Gillet
22   Armstrong, Joe   Oboe Master Fernand Gillet's Legacy to Flutists.  The Flutist Quarterly, Winter, 2004.
23   Dwight, John Sullivan.  Dwight's Journal of Music November 10, 1877.  Published by D.L. Balch. volume 37-38, 1878
24   Whitwell, David.  Essay: The Longy Club.  Dr. Whitwell teaches at the California State University, Northridge. and his fascinating essays can be found at 
25   International Double Reed Society.  Letters to the Editor.  R. Plaster confirms anecdotes in M. Allard's article on the Rite of Spring.
26   page 122.  Howe, Mark Antony De Wolfe The Boston Symphony Orchestra.   op. cit.
27   page 277.  Saleski, Gdal. Famous Musicians of a Wandering Race. reprinted by Kessinger Publishing. 2006. ISBN 142862516X
28   page 413.  Bachmann, Alberto, Weir, Albert E., Martens, Frederick H.  Encyclopedia of the Violin Translated by Frederick H. Martens.  Published by Da Capo Press, 1975.  ISBN 0306800047
29   page 310.  Ewen, David. The Man with the Baton, The Story of Conductors and their Orchestras.  Thomas Crowell Company. New York. 1936
30   Musical Times  Published by Novello, London.  August 1, 1907  op. cit.
31  page 281.  Attributed to Max Smith of the New York Press.  The Cambrian Volume 28. 1908.  Published by T.J. Griffiths. Utica, NY.  1908. 
32   page 332.  Gatti, Guido.  The Musical Quarterly  Published by G. Schirmer.  New York. 1922.
33   page 461.   The Modern Language Journal   National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations.  Volume17 1932-1933. 
34   page 26.  Korstvedt, Benjamin M.  Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 8.  Cambridge University Press. 2000. ISBN 0-52163-5373
35   Kean, Kristen Elizabeth.   First Flute: The Pioneering Career of Doriot Anthony Dwyer.  Louisiana State University D.M. Monograph.  December, 2007.
36  page 680.  Delalain, Auguste Henri Jules  Annuaire de l'instruction publique et des beaux-arts. Librairie de Delalain frères.  Paris. 1907.
37   page 814.  Le Guide Musical: Revue Internationale de la Musique Et de Théâtres Lyriques  Notes sur l'article volume 51 Lombaerts, Paris. 1905.
38   page 184.  Revue d'art dramatique  Librairie Molière. Paris. 1888.
39   Weston, Pamela.  Clarinet Virtuosi of the Past.  Egom Publishers, Ltd. London. 1989.  ISBN 0-70912-4422
40   page 7.  The New York Times.  New York.  October 20, 1901.
41   page 25. The New York Times.  New York, New York.  September 27, 1903.
42   page 17.  The New York Times.  New York, New York.  January 14, 1890.
43   page 158.  Mannes, David.  Music is my Faith - An Autobiography   Norton.  New York, New York. Reprinted 1978.  ISBN 0-306-77595-6
44   page 163-187.  Burke, John N.  Wilhelm Gericke, A Centennial Retrospect. The Musical Quarterly 1945 volume XXXI. Oxford University Press. 1945.
45 page 103. Howe, Mark Antony De Wolfe The Boston Symphony Orchestra. op. cit.
46 page 312.  de La Grange, Henry-Louis.  Gustav Mahler: Vienna : Triumph and Disillusion (1904-1907). Oxford University Press.  Oxford, UK.  1999.  ISBN 019315160X, 9780193151604
47 page 13. New York Times. New York, New York.  September 5, 1898.
48 page 144. Howe, Mark Antony De Wolfe The Boston Symphony Orchestra. op. cit.
49  page 7, June 5, 1908 and page 9, November 23, 1908. New York Times.
50  Ericson, John. The Double Horn and Its Invention in 1897.  The Horn Call.  Volume 28 number 2.  The International Horn Society.  February, 1998.
51  Erickson, John Friedrich.  Gumpert and the Performing Technique of the Valved Horn in Later 19th Century Germany.  Brass Scholarship in Review, edited by Stewart Carter.   Historic Brass Society, Cité de la musique.  Paris, France.
52   page 10 of Magazine section.  The New York Times.  September 17, 1905.
53   pp 133.  Lebrecht, Norman  The Maestro Myth. Citadel Press, New Jersey Publishing Group. 2001. ISBN 0-8065-2088-4
54   page 196.  Rosenberg, Donald.  The Cleveland Orchestra Story.  "Second to None". Gray & Company. Cleveland. 2000. ISBN 1-886228-24-8.
55  page 201.  Rosenberg, Donald.  op. cit.
56   page 155.  Howe, Mark Antony De Wolfe The Boston Symphony Orchestra. op. cit.
55   Page 141.  Howe, Mark Antony De Wolfe revised by Burk, John N.  The Boston Symphony Orchestra. 1881-1931.  Houghton Mifflin Company. 1931.
56  Rust, Brian and Brooks, Tim. The Columbia Master Book Discography. Volume II Greenwood Press. 1999. ISBN 0-313-30822-5
57   page 10.  Berkshire Evening Eagle. Berkshire, MA. July 22, 1952.
58   The Double Reed, volume 14 no 3.  Winter 1991.  International Double Reed Society: Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA.
59   Clarinets in the Royal Concertgebouw, and others and others.  Sherman Friedland's Clarinet Corner.  (Friedland is grandson of Gino Cioffi)  see
60   page 27.  Dickson, Harry Ellis. "Gentlemen, More Dolce Please !". Beacon Press. Boston. 1974. ISBN 0-8070-5178-0.
61   page 28.  Dickson, Harry Ellis.  "Gentlemen, More Dolce Please !".  op. cit.
62   page 53.  Dickson, Harry Ellis.  "Gentlemen, More Dolce Please !".  op. cit.
63   James Noyes.  William Patterson University.
64   Koshkin-Youritzin, Victor.  Fresh Perspectives on Serge Koussevitzky.  An Interview with Kermit Moore.  By Victor Koshkin-Youritzin.  Koussevitzky Recordings Society.
65  page 704.  Appleton's American Annual Cyclopaedia and Register of Important Events, Volume 34.  New York.  1895.
66  Dyer, Richard.  The Boston Globe.  February 14, 2004.
67 Burgin, Diana Lewis.  Richard Burgin: A Life in Verse.  Cambridge, Massachusetts.  June 1988.  Second, online, edition, June 2007 
68  Murphy, Judith and Sullivan, George.  Music in American Society: Documentary Report of the Tanglewood Symposium. 1968.
69  page 386.  Boston Symphony Orchestra Program - Volume 50.  Boston Symphony Orchestra. Boston. 1930.
70  page X8.  Society: Music Here and There.   New York Times.  New York.  October 6, 1912.
71  page 1096.  Boston Symphony Orchestra Program - Volume   Boston Symphony Orchestra. Boston. 1913-1914.
72  page 50.  The Musical times, Volume 48.  Published by Novello, London.  January 1, 1907.
73  pages 221-266.  Hart, Philip.  Conductors: A New Generation.  Scribners.  New York.  1979.
74  page 96.  Ewen, David.  Dictators of the Baton.  Ziff-Davis Publishing. 1943.
75  page 146.  Howe, Mark Antony De Wolfe revised by Burk, John N.  The Boston Symphony Orchestra. 1881-1931.  op. cit.
76  page 24.  Ewen, David.  Dictators of the Baton.  op. cit.
77  page 2.  Famed Hub Symphony Trumpeter Dies, Age 65.  North Adams Transcript.  North Adams, Massachusetts.  September 21, 1950.
78  page 1.  Private Rites for Georges Mager.  Berkshire Evening Eagle.  Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  September 21, 1950.
79  page 2.  Hi Pal!.  The Lowell Sun.  Lowell, Massachusetts.  February 29, 1944.
80  page 11.  Dismiss Concertmaster: Boston Symphony Trustees Drop Fradkin for Disobeying Conductor.  New York Times.  New York.  March 6, 1920.
81  page 187.  Daniel, Peggy.  Tanglewood: A Group Memoir.  Amadeus Press.  2008.  ISBN-13: 9781574671674
82  Busch, Fritz.  Translated by Marjorie Strachey.  Pages from a Musician's Life.  Hogarth Press. London. 1953.
83   Wendling Quartet to Give Opening Concert Tomorrow.  Harvard Crimson. Cambridge, Massachusetts. October 2, 1922.
84  Page 25, Music Section.  Aldrich, Richard.  The Wendling String Quartet.  New York Times.  New York.  October 17, 1922.
85  Page 29, Music Section.  Aldrich, Richard.  Berkshire Music Festival Begins; Wendling String Quartet of Stuttgart, Germany Makes Its American Debut.  New York Times.  New York.  September 29, 1922.
86  Yancich, Milan.  Willem A. Valkenier - A Profile.  The Horn Call.  Volume XIV number 1.  The International Horn Society.  October 1983.
87  page 104.  Boston Symphony Orchestra Program.  Item notes numbers 1-12.  1968.
88  page 53-59.  Bernard Listemann.  The Violinist, Volume 16.  Chicago, Illinois.  1913.
89  page 320.  Mason, Daniel Gregory  Bernard Listemann.  The Art of Music: A Dictionary-Index of Musicians, Volume 11.  National Society of Music. New York.  1917.
90  page 617.  Keim, Friedel.   Das grosse Buch der Trompete  Instrument, Geschichte, Trompeterlexikon.  Schott.  Mainz, Germany.  September, 2005.  ISBN 3-7957-0560-4.
91  page 5.  E. M. Bagley Dead.  Boston Globe.  Boston, Massachusetts.  July 12, 1886.
92  page 373.  Keim, Friedel.   Das grosse Buch der Trompete  Instrument, Geschichte, Trompeterlexikon.  Schott.  Mainz, Germany.  Op. Cit.
93  page 13.  Augusto Vannini, Former Member of Boston Symphony Orchestra Is Dead.  New York Times.  New York, New York. April, 1932.
94  Curtis Institute of Music web site.  Curtis Alumni Since 1924.
95  Muir String Quartet web site.  About Us.
96  Boston University School of Music web site.  Faculty and Staff.
97  page 12.  Chamber music the forte of Muir String Quartet.  Indiana Gazette.  New York, New York. October 9, 1995.
98  Levin, Robert, editor.  Editors and Contributors: Susan Miron,.  The Boston Musical Intelligencer.  Boston.  
99  Littler, William Littler.  Sommerville helping orchestra turn corner .  Toronto Star.  Toronto, Ontario.  January 12 2008.
100  Dickson, Harry Ellis.  "Gentlemen, More Dolce Please !". Beacon Press.  Boston, Massachusetts.  1974.  ISBN 0-8070-5178-0.  
101  Boston Symphony Orchestra web site.  Thomas Rolfs, Principal Trumpet, Boston Symphony Orchestra.  
102  New England Conservatory web site.  Charles Schlueter.
103  page 6.  Chamber Music Concert of Exceptional Interest.  The Fitchburg Sentinel.  Fitchburg, Massachusetts.  January 29, 1903.
104  page 10.  The Boston Symphony Season.   Washington Post.  Washington, D.C.  October 15, 1905.
105  page 144.  Tuckwell, Barry.  Horn.   Macdonald, 1983.  ISBN-13: 978-0356090962.
106  page 10.  Harold Wright, 65 Principal clarinetist of BSO.  Boston Globe  Boston, Massachusetts.  August 12, 1993.
107  German Wikipedi article Schmidt (Blechblasinstrumentenbauer) .
108  uncredited biographical article Willem A. Valkenier (1887-1986).  IHS Online.  The International Horn Society.
109  page 10.  Edgers, Geoff.  Seiji Ozawa withdraws from Tanglewood concerts.  Boston Globe  Boston, Massachusetts.  April 13, 2010.
110  page 2.  Deaths: Allard.  Fitchburg Sentinel And Enterprise.  Fitchburg, Massachusetts.  July 26, 1976.
111  page 11.  Dyer, Richard.  The BSO Appoints a New Principal Flutist, National Symphony's Elizabeth Rowe will Repalce Jacques Zoon.  Boston Globe  Boston, Massachusetts.  February 14, 2004.
112  pages 27-28.  Up, Up and Away on My Beautiful Bassoon.  Nebraska Magazine.  Winter. 2007.
113  Hattner, David.  Liner NotesThe Clarinetist Composer .  Northbranch Records, LLC.  North Branch, New Jersey.
114  Chute, James and Thomas Heinen, Thomas.  Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra 25th Anniversary, A Series of Articles from the Milwaukee Journal.  Milwaukee Journal, 1984  Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 1984.
115  Boston Symphony Horns.  The Horn Call  International Horn Society.  1993.
116  Snyder, Louis.  Boston Symphony and Its World of Players.  Beacon Press.  Boston, Massachusetts.  1979.   ISBN 0-8070-665-8.
117  Vigeland, Carl A.  In Concert: Onstage and Offstage with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  William Morrow & Co.  1989.  ISBN-13: 08-0688075514   re-published iUniverse, Inc. 2003.  ISBN-13: 0-595-28430-2.
118  page 42.  Prof. Boettcher Dies in Germany.  Lowell Sun  Lowell, Massachusetts.  January 9, 1937.
119 From Sherman Friedland's very interesting website, Sherman Friedland's Clarinet Corner.
120  page 227.  Fitzgibbon, Henry Macauley.  The Story of the Flute.  Charles Scribner's Sons.  New York, New York.  1914.
121  Humphrey, George Norwood Becoming a Musician.  Xlibris Corporation.  Bloomington, Indiana.  ISBN 978-1-4257-2074-5.
122  page 12.  Peter Sadony Dead.   Boston Globe  Boston, Massachusetts.  September 20, 1916.
123  pages 49-50.  Jaenicke, Bruno (Harold Meek, editor).  originally written by Bruno Jaenicke in The Horn Call Volume 2 no 1, November 1971 God, in His wrath, Created the Horn.   reprinted in The Horn Call.  The International Horn Society.  Volume 30 no 4, August 2000.
124  pages 87-88, 151.  Franko, Sam.  Chords and Discords; Memoires and Musings of an American Musician.  Viking Press.  New York, New York.  1938.
125  Eichler, Jeremy.  James Levine Reclaims BSO Podium in all-Wagner Season Opener.  Boston Globe  Boston, Massachusetts.  October 4, 2010.
126  page 60-68.  Cowan, Tom. Profile Interview with Philip Farkas.  The Horn Call.  Volume 7 number 1.  The International Horn Society.  November, 1977.
127  Yancich, Milan.  An Orchestra Musician's Odyssey - A View from the Rear.  Wind Music, Inc.  Rochester, New York.  1995.
128  page 897.  Jean Bedetti, violincellist.  Boston Symphony Program Notes.  Boston, Massachusetts.  January 20, 1920.
129  page 477.  Feuilleton: Personalnachrichten.   Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, no. 39.  Leipzig, Germany.  September 25, 1901.
130  page 5.  Smith, Dexter The World of Music.   The Musical Record, number 382.  Oliver Ditson Co.  Boston, Massachusetts.  November, 1893.
131  page 369.  Maitland, J. A. Fuller.  The Kneisel Quartet.  Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Volume 1.  Theodore Presser Co.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  1922.
132  Blumner, Martin.  Geschichte der Sing-Akademie zu Berlin.  Verlag Horn & Raasch.  Berlin, Germany.  1891.
133  page 76.  Saerchinger, Cesar.  Artur Schnabel - A Biography.  Saerchinger Press.  November 2008.  ISBN-13: 9781443727990.
134   page 71.  Dwight, John Sullivan.  Concerts.  Dwight's Journal of Music. Volume 39-41. Boston, Massachusetts.  April 26, 1879.
135  page 361.  Biographical Directory of the State of New York, 1900.   Biographical Directory Company. New York, New York.  1900.
136  page 239.  Dwight, John Sullivan.  First Triennial Festival of the Handel and Haydn Society.   Dwight's Journal of Music. Volume 27-28. May 9, 1868.
137  Ryan, Thomas.  Recollections of an Old Musician.  E. P. Dutton & Co.  New York, New York.  1899.
138  Shanet, Howard. Philharmonic: A History of New York's Orchestra.  New York.  Doubleday, 1975.
139  pages 680-681.  Hale, Philip.  A Note on Oboes.  Boston Symphony Orchestra Programme Notes.  Boston, Massachusetts.  December 17, 1909.
140  page 35.  Interesting Concerts Mark Year's Opening.  Oakland Tribune.  Oakland, California  December 29, 1935.
141  page 15.  San Francisco Symphony to Open Pop Season.  Oakland Tribune.  Oakland, California  January 14, 1936.
142  page 39.  New Leader Pierre Monteux.  Oakland Tribune.  Oakland, California  September 8, 1935.
143  page 81.  Monteux Los Angeles Philharmonic Engagement.  Oakland Tribune.  Oakland, California  December 22, 1935.
144  Johnson, H. Earle.  The Germania Society.  Musical Quarterly volume 39, number 1.  New York, New York.  January 1953.
145  page 823.  The Kruse Quartet Party. Musical Times  Novello, London.  December 1, 1898.
146  Williams, Amédée Daryl.  Lillian Fuchs: First Lady of the Viola.  iUniverse, Incorporated.  2004.  ISBN-13: 9780595309573
147  Form Quintette to Give Concerts.   New York Times.  New York, New York.  June 20, 1913.
148  page 42 Prof. Boettcher Dies in Germany.   Lowell Sun.  Lowell, Massachusetts.  January 9, 1937.
149  page 25 All Laid Over.   Boston Globe  Boston, Massachusetts.  May 7, 1901.
150  A Week's Musical Topics.   New York Times.  New York, New York.  October 21, 1894.
151  Knight, Ellen E. Charles Martin Loeffler: A Life Apart in American music.   University of Illinois Press.  Urbana, Illinois.  1993.
152  page 11. Funeral Today for Placido Fiumara.  Boston Globe.  Boston, Massachusetts.  November 22, 1917.
153  page 8. Noted Band Leader's Obsequies.  Boston Globe.  Boston, Massachusetts.  February 14, 1900.
154  Murphy, Joseph M.  Saxophone Instruction in American Schools.  Bulletin of Historical Research in Music Education.  Ithaca College.  Ithaca, New York.  1996. 
155  page 57.  Young Artists Winners.   Music Clubs Magazine Volumes 21-23.  National Federation of Music Clubs.  Chicago, Illinois.  1941. 
156  page 4. The Next Philharmonic.  Boston Globe.  Boston, Massachusetts.  November 6, 1890.
157  page 8. Fritz Giese.  Waterloo Daily Courier.  Waterloo, Iowa.  September 11, 1896.
158  page 8.  Professor of Music Under Arrest.  Ogden Standard. Ogden, Utah. February 19, 1909.
159  page 437.   Heiles, Anne Mischakoff.  America's Concertmasters.  Harmonie Park Press. Sterling Heights, MI. 2007. ISBN-13 978-0-89990-139-8.
160  page 4. Heard by Thousands - The Boston Globe Band Concert.  Boston Globe.  Boston, Massachusetts.  September 4, 1894.
161  page 5. Boston Cadet Band Concert.  Boston Globe.  Boston, Massachusetts.  May 28, 1877.
162  page 19.  Jack Benny Draws 20,000 At Phila..  Lebanon Daily News.   Lebanon, Pennsylvania.  August 1, 1962.
163  page 5.  Engage Inez Gorman for Role in Wagner's Opera.  Ironwood Daily Globe.   Ironwood, Michigan.  January 27, 1936.
164  page 5.  Kneisel Quartet.  Boston Globe  Boston, Massachusetts.  December 22, 1896.
165  page 20  Conservatory of Music Notes.  Boston Globe  Boston, Massachusetts.  August 5, 1896.
166  page 5  Star Course Concert.  Boston Globe  Boston, Massachusetts.  December 29, 1891.
167  page 126.  Christopher.  Franz Schreker, 1878-1934: A Cultural Biography.  Cambridge University Press.  New York, March, 1993.  ISBN-13: 9780521392556.
168  page 9.  Dickson, Harry Ellis. "Gentlemen, More Dolce Please !". Beacon Press. Boston. 1974. ISBN 0-8070-5178-0. 169   Leonard, John W. Who's Who In America 1906-1907. A. N. Marquis & Company. Chicago. 1906.
170  Musical Educator is Dead: Benjamin Cutter.  The Lowell Sun.  Lowell, Massachusetts.  May 12, 1910.
171  page 4.  Society.  Bath Independent and Enterprise.  Bath, Maine.  November 27, 1909.
172  page 8  Symphony Player Dead.  Boston Globe  Boston, Massachusetts.  October 22, 1903.
173  page 26.  Musical Notes.  Atlanta Constitution.  Atlanta, Georgia.  January 28, 1900.
174  Schweikert, Norman.  The Horns of Valhalla: Saga of the Reiter Brothers.  WindSong Press Limited.  Gurnee, Illinois.  2012.
175  Zingel, Hans Joachim, Palkovic, Mark editor and translator.  Harp Music in the Nineteenth Century.   Indiana University Press.  Bloomington, Indiana.  1992. ISBN-13: 9780253368706
176  Herforth, Harry. Herseth, Adolph and Lessen, Martin.  A Tribute to George Mager.  International Trumpet Guild Journal.  Manhattan, Kansas.  December, 1985.
177  Page 2.  Orchestra School Faculty Announced.  Florence Morning News.  Florence, South Carolina.  November 10, 1939.
178  page 379.  Bachmann, Alberto. Biographical Dictionary of Violinists.  Paris. 1925.
179  page 14.  He Ran Off With The Baby and She Followed Him Up.  Boston Globe  Boston, Massachusetts.  May 7, 1901.
180 Boston Symphony Programme Notes 1917-1918.  Boston Symphony Associatione  Boston, Massachusetts.  1918.
181  page 12  Amusements.  Kennebec Journal.  Kennebec, Maine.  December 22, 1917.
182  page 3  Mabel and Number 5.  Titusville Herald.  Titusville, Pennsylvania.  February 5, 1940.
183  Arts section  Peter Q. Schenkman.  Randolph Herald.  Randolph, Massachusetts.  March 2, 2006.
184  page 4.  Listemann String Quartette.  Fort Wayne News.  Fort Wayne, Indiana.  February 26, 1898.
185  page 33.  The Pops Concerts.  Boston Globe  Boston, Massachusetts.  April 26, 1903.
186  Biographical claims in newspaper interviews and in the webpage of Michel Sasson's website. also page 31 Interview.  Lowell Sun.  Lowell, Massachusetts.  November 9, 1972.
187  United States Naturalization Records of June 10, 1964, District Court, District of Masssachusetts.  Also Boston Symphony Archives. Also Who's Who in Entertainment. Second edition 1992-1993. Wilmette, Illinois. 1992.
188  page 11.  Violin Bow Gets Diagnosis.  Edwardsville Intelligencer  Edwardsville, Illinois.  November 18, 1966.
189  page 186.  Records For Pleasure.  Rutgers University Press.  New Brunswick, New Jersey.  1947.
190  page 275.  Trotter, William R.  Priest of Music: The Life of Dimitri Mitropoulos.  Amadeus Press.  Portland, Oregon.  1995.  ISBN 0-931340-81-0.
191  Nederlands Muziek Instituut website, visited January, 2013.  From the archives: Monthly feature Joseph and Fritz Giese, cellists.
192  pages 54-58.  Rimler, Walter  George Gershwin: An Intimate Portrait.  University of Illinois Press.  Champaign, Illinois.  2009.  ISBN-13: 9780252093692.
193  source: Dannreuther Family Papers, 1836-1988.  Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.  Poughkeepsie, New York.
194  page 234.  Rand, John Clark.  One of a Thousand: A Series of Biographical Sketches.  First National Publishing Company.  Boston, Massachusetts.  1890.
195  page 9.  Fine Concert by Symphony Society.  Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle.  Poughkeepsie, New York.  1912.
196  page 25.  In The World of Music.  Pittsburgh Gazette-Times.  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  January 8, 1911.
197  page 9  Concert of Chamber Music.  New York Times.  New York, New York.  October 26, 1884.
198  page 55.  Fauce, Bill F.  George Whitefield Chadwick: The Life and Music of the Pride of New England.  Northeastern University Press.  Boston, Massachusetts.  2012.  ISBN-13: 9781555537746.
199  page 9.  Music In Boston.  The Music Critic.  New York, New York.  December 20, 1881.
200  page 3.  The Boston Symphony Concerts.  Folio.  Boston, Massachusetts.  January, 1882.
201  Johnstone, David.  Robert Hausmann.  at the website
202   by Eshbach, Robert W.  The Joachim Quartet (Berlin) Membership.  at the website
203  pages 299-300.  Bachmann, Alberto.  An Encyclopedia of the Violin.  Dover Publications.  New York, New York.  2008.  ISBN-13: 9780486466187
204  page 1.  County and Neighborhood.  Goshen (Indiana) Times.  March 10, 1881. 
205  page 6.  Musical.  Australian And New Zealand Gazette.  April 22, 1882. 
206  page 34.  Drama and Music.  Boston Globe.  Boston, Massachusetts.  September 29, 1918. 
207  page 3.  Musical Matters.  Boston Globe.  Boston, Massachusetts.  May 5, 1878. 
208  page 59.  The Peace Jubilee.  Dwight's Journal of Music. Volume 29.  Boston, Massachusetts.  July 3, 1869. 
209  pages 3-791  Lassabathie, Théodore.  Histoire du Conservatoire impérial de musique.  Michel Lévy frères.  Paris, France.  1900. 
210  page 5.  Music at the Pines .  Boston Globe.  Boston, Massachusetts.  August 21, 1889.
211  page 2.  Trumpet Notes .  Worcester, Massachusetts.  Volume XV number 8.  August 1888.
212  page 9  Seidl's Monday Concerts.  New York Times.  New York, New York.  July 14, 1895.
213  page 14  Special Events Fixed For Fair.  Morning Oregonian.  Portland, Oregon.  April 20, 1905.
214  page 2  Bostonia Sextette Here February 19.  Morning Oregonian.  Ligonier Leader.  Ligonier, Pennsylvania.  February 17, 1916.
215  page 11.  Charles Molé.   Boston Globe.  Boston, Massachusetts.  March 1, 1891.
216  page 254-257.  Blakeman, Edward. Taffanel: Genius of the Flute.   Oxford University Press.  2005.  ISBN-13 978-0-19-517098-6.
217  page 24.  Violinist.  Boston Globe.  Boston, Massachusetts.  February 16, 1919. 
218   Horrors of La Bourgogne.   New York Times.  New York.  July 9, 1898.
219  page 4.  An Approaching Attraction.   Cedar Falls Gazette.  Cedar Falls, Iowa.  February 12, 1904.
220  page 3.  Music Teachers Meeting.   Columbus Daily Herald.  Columbus, Indiana.  June 25, 1900.
221 page 187.  de La Grange, Henry-Louis.  Gustav Mahler: Vienna : Triumph and Disillusion (1904-1907). Oxford University Press.  Oxford, UK.  1999.  ISBN 019315160X, 9780193151604.
222  page 8  Wellesley College Record.  Wellesldey College.  Wellesley, Massachusetts.  1900.
223  page 1.  Important Announcement.   Altoona Evening Mirror.  Altoona, Pennsylvania.  February 24, 1877.
224  Matthew Ruggiero. Boston Globe.  Boston, Massachusetts.  February 3, 2013.
225   page 10Closing Entertainment. The News.  Newport, Rhode Island.  March 8, 1911.
226  page 2.  Soloist Gerardi Boston Product.  Boston Globe.  Boston, Massachusetts.  June 30, 1918. 
227  page 292.  Wyndham, Henry Saxe.  Who's who in Music: A Biographical Record of Contemporary Musicians.  Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons.  London, England.  1915. 
228  page 24.  Quartet to Give Concert.  Pacific Stars And Stripes.  Tokyo, Japan.  March 30, 1968. 
229  page 28.  Bradbury, William.  History of the Handel and Haydn Society.  Handel and Haydn Society.  Boston, Massachusetts.  1911.  230   Otis, Philo Adams.  The Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Its Organization, Growth and Development 1891-1924. Clayton F. Summy Company.  Chicago, Illinois. 1924. 
231  page 4. Our Music Festival.  Daily Index Appeal.  Petersburg, Virginia.  May 14, 1885.
232  page 80. Bay View.  Musical Record and Review, Issues 468-485.  Oliver Ditson ∓ Co.  Boston, Massachusetts.  1901.
233  by C.E.M.  page 27.  Give Frank Bridge Quintet in Worchester, Massachusetts.  Musical America, Volumes 33-34.  New York, New York.  June 25, 1921. 
234  page 312.  Couling, Della.  Ferruccio Busoni: 'A Musical Ishmael'.  Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.  New York, New York.  2005.  ISBN-13: 9780810851429.
235  page 102.  Weston, Pamela.  The Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet.  Cambridge University Press.  London, UK.  1995.  ISBN-13: 9780521476683.
236  page 368.  Hoeprich, Eric.  The Clarinet.  Yale University Press.  New York, New York.  2008.  ISBN-13: 9780300102826.
237  Winckleman, Edward.  Winckleman in Venice: The Clarinet.  San Francisco, California.  27 March 2010.
238  Paddock, Tracey Lynn.  Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century American Clarinetists.  Doctor of Music Treatise, Florida State University School of Music.  Spring 2011.
239  page 24.  Garde Republicaine Band Concert.  Boston Sunday Post.  Boston, Massachusetts.  16 June 1918.
240  page 11.  Salute from the Berkshires: the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Pittsfield Berkshire Evening Eagle.  Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  22 June 1952.
241  page 75.  Tawa, Nicholas.  From Psalm to Symphony: A History of Music in New England.  Northeastern University Press.  Boston, Massachusetts.  2001.  ISBN-13:9781555534912
242  page 15.  The Critic Talks To Music Lovers  Evening Public Ledger. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 3 May 1919.
243  Eichler, Jeremy.  Levine allegations prompt BSO review of sex harassment policies.  Boston Globe.  Boston, Massachusetts.  December 5, 2017.