Philadelphia loses principal oboe

Philadelphia loses principal oboe


norman lebrecht

October 23, 2017

Richard Woodhams has called time on his career after 40 years in the hot seat.

He’s a link in a long Philly chain, a student of his predecessor, John de Lancie who was himself a student of the previous principal, Marcel Tabuteau.

Report here.


  • Malcolm James says:

    Happy retirement and, unlike certain others we could name, I trust he is going at a time and in a manner of his own choosing.

  • harold braun says:

    The most beautiful oboe sound ever,apart from his teacher,the great John deLancie.

    • Arundo Donax says:

      Disagree. Heinz Holliger, possibly Leon Goossens.

      • NYMike says:

        Your ear is attuned to European-sounding oboists. French oboist Marcel Tabuteau – principal oboist in Philly under Stowkowski and Ormandy – founded an American oboe school while playing in Philly and Teaching @ Curtis. Woodhams is his “grandson” as an oboist, teaching further generations of oboists @ Curtis including the NY Phil’s principal oboist Liang Wang.

    • herrera says:

      “beautiful oboe sound”


      don’t get me wrong, the oboe is ideal for a range of very emotional sounds and intense feelings — from lament to regret to lost love to pastoral joy etc — but “beauty” is not one of them.

      (I always put on an oboe CD to set the mood for a romantic evening.)

    • J'aime la musique says:

      I “second” Harold Braun’s comment!

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    It is so silly to label a school as American when the teacher is French. At least call it Franco-American. The same thing happens with Carlos Salzedo. Just because they emigrated. Sheesh.
    This is tragic news for the orchestra, as he has cemented it as an ensemble and remained a bastion of artistry and taste. Without him, continuity with the past is just about gone altogether. What’s remarkable is that he must have held the position longer than any other oboist, perhaps ever?
    But I know one oboist supremely qualified to take his place: Jeffrey Rathbun, of the Cleveland Orchestra. He is not just a superb player, but a talented composer, a creator of music. He was a pupil of John Mack, whom I believe was a Tabuteau pupil, so there would be continuity there. But who will be on the audition committee? Who will pre-select the auditionees? Who will make the final decision? That’s where the process gets screwed up and the audiences get screwed over.

  • Stephen Colburn says:

    Congratulations Richard on such a splendid career. You have been a great example & inspiration to many. Btw, you’ll love retirement (semi?). Wishing you all the best,
    Stephen Colburn
    Principal Oboist (Retired)
    Milwaukee Symphony
    Santa Fe Opera