Papers Referencing Marcel Tabuteau

A History and Analysis of the Philadelphia School of Clarinet Playing

Shannon Lannigan Thompson 1998


The intention of this treatise is to document the origin and development of a dominant sound and style of clarinet playing in the United States. This school of clarinet playing, which can be traced to the influx of French woodwind players into this country in the early twentieth century, was generated through the collaboration of conductor Leopold Stokowski with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra woodwind section. The Philadelphia School of Clarinet Playing was disseminated throughout the country to become the most influential and successful school of clarinet playing in the United States. It is the closest Americans have to a national tradition of classical clarinet playing.

This treatise presents a historical account and analysis of the Philadelphia School of Clarinet Playing. It defines the school and examines its origins with Leopold Stokowski, Daniel Bonade, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. It traces the school’s growth through the teaching of Bonade and Marcel Tabuteau at the Curtis Institute, its further refinements and interpretations by Bonade’s students and others, and its influences on clarinetists and clarinet equipment manufacturing worldwide.

This treatise investigates a new concept of clarinet sound originating as a result of the unique conditions of the Philadelphia Orchestra under Stokowski. This sound concept, which is a hybrid of French and German concepts of clarinet sound, attempts to emulate the German clarinet sound in depth and breadth, while maintaining aspects of the French clarinet sound in flexibility and tonal center. Sound production techniques of Philadelphia School clarinetists are examined, including embouchure, air support, and voicing. Equipment design modifications by these players to clarinets, mouthpieces, reeds, and ligatures are also explored. Other aspects of clarinet playing are investigated, including the Philadelphia School’s methods of articulation and finger technique, and general approach to music, musical phrasing, and orchestral playing.

The history and development of clarinet playing by clarinetists of the Philadelphia School parallels that of other woodwind players and instrumentalists. The Philadelphia School of Clarinet Playing is part of a larger school of orchestral playing which evolved in the United States through the influences of Stokowski, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Curtis Institute.

Basic Preparation for Oboe Auditions by Using Selected Oboe Excerpts

Shen Wang, 2009


This essay describes basic preparation techniques for oboe auditions through examples demonstrated in selected oboe excerpts. The application of these methods in the selected oboe excerpts will help to reinforce the objective of each outlined preparation technique. Three aspects regarding preparation techniques are discussed. Technical Preparation describes different practice methods intended to increase technical performance consistency for an audition. Performance Internalization details the mental approach to accurately prepare a solo audition before an audition committee. Critical Factors Involving Reed Preparation describes effective processes in reed preparation through the analysis of reed-making sources. Basic Preparation for Oboe Auditions by Using Selected Oboe Excerpts is intended as an audition preparation source for amateur oboists. This essay can additionally serve as a basic and fundamental reference for higher level performers who are preparing to play auditions.

The Interpretation of Orchestral Ballet Excerpts for Clarinet

Mara Plotkin, 2015

Download thesis (PDF)


This research examines the current performance practice of ballet excerpts for clarinet from five ballets: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, and Cinderella. Research has been published on the performance practice of symphonic orchestra and opera repertoire for clarinet, however, there is a paucity of research that examines the current performance practice techniques of orchestral ballet clarinet excerpts. The methodology of this research consisted of identifying major orchestral ballet clarinet excerpts in the canon and interviewing five experienced principal clarinetists in North American ballet orchestras. The interviewees were Max Christie from National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, Steve Hartman from New York City Ballet Orchestra, Jon Manasse from American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, Sheryl Renk from San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, and William Wrzesien from Boston Ballet Orchestra. They discussed clarinet solos from the selected ballet excerpts regarding phrasing, technique, dynamics, fingerings, pitch, tempo, and ensemble playing in a ballet orchestra. An analysis of the interpretation of musical excerpts by the interviewees reveals some common themes. They addressed phrasing, dynamics, intonation, fingerings, and instrument choice (A or B-flat clarinet). Phrasing was the most prominent musical feature discussed, although there was variation in their opinions about phrasing. Some clarinetists had specific suggestions for the phrasing of each individual passage; others generally preferred a long or short phrase. All interviewees commented on fingerings for notes in the altissimo register, particularly for technically difficult passages that reached into the altissimo registers in the Prokofiev ballets. They also indicated that intonation is influenced by the dynamic played, the register of the clarinet, and the orchestration. Many of the interviewees suggest that certain passages work better for the fingers or timbre if transposed to the A clarinet or vice-versa.

John de Lancie’s Influence on the Modern Oboe Repertoire



This project is a performance of three concertos for oboe by Richard Strauss, Jean Françaix, and Benjamin Lees. The recital took place on March 2, 2019, and the accompanying manuscript serves as program notes for the performance.

John de Lancie was known for his tenure with both the Curtis Institute of Music, where he served as the Professor of Oboe from 1953 to 1985, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he was principal oboe from 1954 to 1977. He is responsible for all three of the concertos mentioned above; he commissioned the works by Françaix and Lees, and his chance meeting with Strauss led the composer to write his Oboe Concerto. His career and connection to these works will be discussed.

The work by Lees becomes the focus of this research; it is a forgotten work that has only been performed a handful of times. This document will focus largely on the history of Lees’s Concerto, its premiere, and other musical information about the piece.