Marcel Tabuteau

This website was created for the purpose of assembling from primary sources the musical concepts of the great oboist and musician Marcel Tabuteau (1887-1966) and sharing them with classical musicians around the world. The section on The Tabuteau System is a compilation of those concepts as understood and passed on by his students and colleagues.

Tabuteau, who was French-American, is considered the founder of the American school of oboe playing. He served as principal oboist of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1915 to 1954 and, just as importantly, taught at the Curtis Institute of Music (as well as privately) from 1925 (a year after Curtis opened) until his retirement in 1954.

During those years, he came to exercise a decisive influence on the standards of classical music performance in the United States raising them to an unprecedented level. His influence upon classical musicians of every discipline continues to be felt even today. (See the Wikipedia article for a more complete biography.)

This website is an ongoing work in progress. Information is being gathered from living musicians, as well as from written accounts and past interviews of deceased musicians, all most-fortunate to have studied with and/or worked alongside the master himself; hence our title ‘Marcel Tabuteau First-Hand.’ The site should be viewed as a continuation of, and supplement to, the exceptional research by Laila Storch in her monumental biography on Marcel Tabuteau published by Indiana University Press in 2008.

Since Tabuteau did not share the totality of his musical ideas with any single individual, the compilation of information from many sources should be of great interest to a broad range of classical musicians. We profusely thank those who are providing Tabuteau-related material for this website and encourage others to do so as well by clicking Submissions. Full credit is given to everyone who contributes. Special thanks to Laila Storch and Martin Friedmann for sharing their extensive Tabuteau archival material.

Here, then, are the musical concepts of Marcel Tabuteau (and more) as articulated by him and passed on by those who had direct contact.

Below is an example of Tabuteau’s notations