Once, before I played Carnegie Hall myself, I was backstage at a New York Philharmonic concert. I remember the principal oboe—one of the best, bar none—was getting ready to solo. With sweat running off of him in buckets, he was so nervous that he couldn’t even light his cigarette. I thought if that’s what it’s like to perform at Carnegie Hall, I’m not so sure I want to go through it myself. The first time I performed solo with an orchestra at Carnegie Hall, I was so nervous that I almost got into an automobile accident on the way to the gig.

I read it here. So who was the cigarette smoking oboist? Anyone know? Just curious!


  1. Had to have been Harold Gomberg, because I know Joe Robinson doesn’t smoke.

    Can’t say that I know Gomberg smoked, but he was there for an awful long time before Robinson…

  2. Cooper suggested Gomberg as well. And I would think that would probably be right, Bob. I would guess that so many more smoked back then in any case. These days I’m rather shocked to see a wind player smoke. It’s much more rare … and I’m glad! (Aside from the health risks, I just can’t stand the smell.)