Bernard Raphael Glaser (1906-1984) was one of Marcel Tabuteau’s first students at the Curtis Institute of Music, attending from 1925 to 1929. Following his graduation, he opted not to pursue a performing career, but rather taught oboe and sold woodwind instruments. He was one of only three dealers in oboes in Philadelphia for several decades, along with Hans Moennig and Nicolas Lannutti. Glaser related this wonderful Tabuteau story to Editorial Board member Michael Finkelman* about 40 years ago:
“Tabuteau was auditioning a potential student at a time when I was up in the studio on Ludlow Street. The man had no musical talent whatsoever and Tabuteau didn’t know quite what to say. I think even Tabuteau knew better than to explode at someone who was a total stranger! So, passing the buck to me, he says in his heavy French accent: ‘Bernarr, Bernarr, say somezing to zis man.’ And I, who was not one to mince words, said something to the effect of: ‘Look, buddy, I think you should consider taking up an easier instrument, like, say, the triangle.’ At this Tabuteau broke out into Homeric laughter. I assume the man never came back and I wouldn’t blame him considering what I had said!”
*Michael Finkelman studied oboe with Philadelphia Orchestra members Stevens Hewitt, Louis Rosenblatt, Charles Morris, and with William Webster (a Curtis graduate and student of John de Lancie). His interest in scholarly research arose circa 1970 when he discovered that there was no professional-level listing of music for oboe. Michael set about gathering this information himself, little imagining it would become a lifelong obsession. He received degrees from Marlboro College in Vermont, Antioch University International, London, and State University of New York at Buffalo. He is a recognized authority on oboe / English horn history and performers, and has contributed to The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, the Double Reed, and many other important music related publications. Among current projects, Michael is translating the Tabuteau letters to Laila Storch from French to English for this website.