I have it SO easy, I know. I live close to where my main gigs, and I rarely get offered jobs that are a drive away. Many of my colleagues have to drive about an hour each way for work. I think I’d be a basket case if I had to do that too frequently. I just read an article (that I am certain I also read a while back so I hope this isn’t just a repeat … did I post it earlier? Anyone?) about an oboist who used to fly back and forth to his orchestra job.

When I moved to California, I still had a home in Portland and didn’t plan on staying in California forever. So I opted to stick with the program and flew up here, it averaged three or four flights per concert. It was kind of tough. I’m glad to be back in Portland.

Yikes … I can’t even imagine!

Included in the article is also this:

We moved several times because of my dad’s job from here to the Midwest, to California, and to a small town in Pennsylvania. In California, we were in the Bay Area where I got to study with an eccentric fellow by the name of Dante Perfumo, He led a couple of ensembles, played various instruments, and taught. He was quite a character. He had a place in Atherton, which is a very high-end part of the Bay Area. He had a menagerie of animals and a young wife who might be painting the house while he was teaching students. He had an aviary with a bunch of birds. He had a myna bird in his studio that got to know me. I would imitate the sound of my oboe and then say ‘Hi Bradley.’

While we were in the Bay Area, we had to move a couple of times, and at one point we stayed in a motel. That’s how I got to meet and study with Marc Lifschey, he was the San Francisco Symphony’s principal oboist from 1965 to 1986. When we were in the motel, I was practicing in my room, and this woman knocked on the door. She was a cellist, and she introduced me to Lifschey. I didn’t know anything about him, but he took me on as a student.

Lifschey was the main influence on me. He was one of the world’s top oboists. He studied with Marcel Tabuteau at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and played with the National Symphony and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He was the principal oboist with the Cleveland Orchestra during the Szell years from 1950 to 1965.

Marc didn’t spend all that much time on technical stuff, and none at all on reed-making. He hated to make reeds. Often you spend more times making reeds then actually playing. Marc was more interested in tone production and musical line. I spent a lot of time with him learning how to play musically.

Gee, Dante Perfumo played in San Jose Municipal Band when I was doing that in my later high school years. He was quite the eccentric! And of course any oboist will recognize the name Marc Lifschey!


  1. There’s a Blast from the Past! Dante Perfumo played in the Peninsula Symphony (our local community orchestra) back when I was a high school student and just breaking into the business. He ownde one of nearly every reed instrument (including a contrasbass Sarussaphone) and played then all – sort of…

    And anyone who isn’t familiar with Marc Lifschey needs to check out:


  2. It amazes me how far musicians travel to gigs these days — for example, in your orchestra, there are some members who travel (or have traveled) from Washington state, Oregon and Colorado and probably other states I don’t know about to play with your (excellent) ensemble.

  3. Yep, we have once coming from Wisconsin now as well. Crazy! I honestly don’t think I could handle it, but I suppose one does what one has to, eh?