UW News

January 26, 2018

School of Music’s Laila Storch republishes biography of renowned oboist, teacher Marcel Tabuteau

UW News

91KiS2u63QLMarcel Tabuteau was a world-renowned oboist for decades with the Philadelphia Orchestra and a professor at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in that city. He is considered the founder of the American school of oboe playing.

Laila Storch is a professor emerita in the University of Washington School of Music, and a highly respected oboist who studied with Tabuteau at the institute and has enjoyed a lengthy performance and academic career. The New York Times has called her “a revered chronicler of oboe lore.”

Storch gathered anecdotes, personal memories of Tabuteau and more in her 2008 biography “Marcel Tabuteau: How Do You Expect to Play the Oboe If You Can’t Peel a Mushroom?” The book has now been republished in paperback by Indiana University Press.

More on reed-making and the oboe:
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UW School of Music

“Ms. Storch’s style is descriptive, informative and engaging — a nice blend between the historical and the personal,” wrote reviewer Linda Strommen of Indiana University.

A reviewer from Michigan’s Interlochen Center for the Arts wrote online, “[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.”

Storch said the reference in the title to mushroom-peeling spoke of Tabuteau’s perfectionism in all things, even the weekly shopping, with which students often assisted.

Notes from the publisher say that Storch first auditioned for Tabuteau in 1941 “but was rejected because of her gender.” Nevertheless, she persisted — and “was eventually accepted and began a life of study with Tabuteau.”