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


Marcel Tabuteau was one of the greatest figures in 20th-century music, and an influential oboist.
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Marcel Tabuteau was one of the greatest figures in 20th-century music, and an influential oboist.

Laila Storch is a world-renowned oboist in her own right, but her book honors Marcel Tabuteau, one of the greatest figures in 20th-century music. Tabuteau studied the oboe from an early age at the Paris Conservatoire and was brought to the United States in 1905, by Walter Damrosch, to play with the New York Symphony Orchestra.

Although this posed a problem for the national musicians’ union, he was ultimately allowed to stay, and the rest, as they say, is history. Eventually moving to Philadelphia, Tabuteau played in the Philadelphia Orchestra and taught at the Curtis Institute of Music, ultimately revamping the oboe world with his performance, pedagogical, and reed-making techniques.

In 1941, Storch auditioned for Tabuteau at the Curtis Institute, but was rejected because of her gender. After much persistence and several cross-country bus trips, she was eventually accepted and began a life of study with Tabuteau. Blending archival research with personal anecdotes, Storch tells a remarkable story in an engaging style.

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

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

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

594 pages, soft cover 2018 edition

Additional information

Weight 43 oz
Dimensions 9.5 × 7 × 1.75 in

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