Volume CVI, No. 4April, 2006

Gordon CottrillSaxophone

Harry Di VitoTrombone

James B. DolanLibrarian/Arranger/Copyist

Eleuterio FrasqueriDrums

Al GrantSaxophone

Sid GreeneDrums

Foster GreenwoodPiano

Skitch HendersonConductor

Chris J. HirschSaxophone

Roland KohloffTimpani

Felix LatinskiTrombone

Sam LevineTrombone

Osbourne McconathyFrench Horn

Ashley MillerElec Organ-Ft Pd

Ralph OxmanCello

Nick PeritoConductor/Arranger

Steve SavinoSaxophone

Sanford SharoffBassoon

Frank SolimineSaxophone

David WeberClarinet

Edward WroblewskiTrumpet

Florian ZabachViolin/Conductor

Osbourne McConathy

Osbourne McConathy, 97, a French hornist and an 802 member since 1937, died on Dec. 29.

Mr. McConathy was associated with Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston for more than three decades and played French horn in the Boston Symphony Orchestra between 1944 and 1966.

Mr. McConathy’s duties with the opera company were comprehensive. He served as a musical and dramatic adviser to Caldwell and conducted several of her productions, including three of the most famous: the American premieres of Schoenberg’s “Moses und Aron,” Rameau’s “Hippolyte et Aricie,” and the East Coast premiere of Alban Berg’s “Lulu.” He did a lot of the musicological legwork for Caldwell, reassembling the original version of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” for example.

Mr. McConathy grew up in Illinois, where his father was the director of the musical education program at Northwestern University. Mr. McConathy caught the opera bug early. When he was still a teenager, he worked for seven years as an usher for opera performances in Chicago and concerts at the Ravinia Festival, and heard many of the greatest artists active in the period after World War I.

He earned a bachelor’s degree at New York University, where under his direction the glee club took top honors in an intercollegiate competition. In 1935, he won a three-year fellowship to study conducting at the Juilliard School, and during that period conducted orchestras and organized Gilbert & Sullivan productions in New Jersey.

Before joining the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1946 at the invitation of music director Serge Koussevitzky, Mr. McConathy served as first horn of the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., and the Rochester Philharmonic. He was also an active freelancer, playing with the Chautauqua Symphony in New York, the Worcester Festival, and the Oratorio Society of New York.

Mr. McConathy is survived by his sons Osbourne and James and daughters Alice George and Rita Bailey. He is also survived by nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

This obituary edited from the Boston Globe.

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Ralph Oxman

Ralph Oxman, 95, a cellist and an 802 member since 1937, died on Jan. 10.

Born in Duluth, Minnesota, Mr. Oxman studied cello with Alphin Flaaten, who encouraged him to continue his studies and training in New York at the Juilliard School (then the Institute of Musical Art) with the distinguished cellists Evsei Beloussoff and Diram Alexanian.

On graduation, Mr. Oxman began his career with an appointment to the Julius Hartt School of Music in Hartford. He pursued radio and concert work in New York and performed in prominent chamber music groups. A job offer at the pioneering Midwest radio station, WEBC, took him back to Minnesota for a few years with his new wife, Mary, a pianist and his lifelong partner and accompanist. There, they established new music programs on radio and participated in the fledgling musical activities in the area.

In 1937, Mr. Oxman returned to New York, accepting a job as assistant solo cellist at the Metropolitan Opera. After six seasons, he moved to the New York Philharmonic under Artur Rodzinsky, and a year later accepted the solo cello chair at the CBS Symphony, where he played under the batons of Bruno Walter, Thomas Beecham, Igor Stravinsky, Fritz Reiner, Erich Leinsdorf, Leopold Stokowski, George Szell and many others. He remained on the staff of CBS for over 30 years.

Chamber music remained important throughout his career. He was a member of the New Friends of Music Quartet, the Guilet String Quartet, and the Carnegie Trio. He appeared as guest artist on numerous occasions with the Musical Art, Kroll, Lener, and Gordon String Quartets. He was on the faculty of Manhattanville College, and often participated in summer music festivals in New England. He felt privileged to have the opportunity to perform for much of his career on a Gagliano and later a Matteo Goffriller cello, beautiful Italian instruments from the 17th and early 18th century.

After his retirement, he continued teaching. He enjoyed the challenge of the Chamber Music Conference at Bennington and was a very welcome fill-in for his colleagues at the Curtis School in Philadelphia.

Mr. Oxman is survived by Mary, his wife of 72 years, son Leon, daughter Irene, brothers Jerome and David, sister Rene, grandchildren Jeffrey, Diane and David and great grandchildren Danielle, Julia and Zoe.

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Nick Perito

Nick Perito, 81, a conductor, composer and arranger, and an 802 member since 1947, died last Aug. 3.

Known primarily as Perry Como’s arranger and musical director, he also worked with Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Dorothy Dandridge, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, Linda Ronstadt, Diana Ross, Patti LuPone, Regis Philbin, Kathryn Crosby and Dolores and Bob Hope.

The Denver native helped pay the bills as a child by playing accordion at local parties and restaurants. In high school he got a job as an accordion player on a local radio show and then studied piano at Denver U.’s Lamont School of Music. During World War II, he was transferred to Staten Island, where he worked as pianist and arranger for the Army band.

Following the war he attended Juilliard.

After touring the country as conductor-accompanist to Dandridge, he settled in New York and became part of the community of arrangers, including Nelson Riddle, Billy May and Don Costa.

His decades-long association with Como began in 1963 as arranger for “The Perry Como Show.” The following year he became Como’s conductor for studio recordings, television specials and world tours.

In addition to Como, he served as musical director for “The Hollywood Palace,” “The Don Knotts Variety Show,” “American Film Institute Awards” and, from 1979-93, “The Kennedy Center Honors.” Over the years he garnered 12 Emmy nominations for his work.

In 1993 he became musical director for Bob Hope and arranger-conductor for Dolores Hope, with whom he recorded six albums.

Mr. Perito is survived by his wife Judy, daughter Jennie, sons Danny and Terry, daughter-in-law Sheila and son-in-law Scott Citron. This obituary from Variety.

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David Weber

David Weber, 92, a clarinetist and an 802 member since 1933, died on Jan. 23.

Mr. Weber had a distinguished career as an orchestra player, solo and chamber performer, and teacher. Born in Vilna, Lithuania, in 1913, he came to the United States in 1921 and began studying clarinet at age 11. While living in Detroit, he won a scholarship in 1933 to study in New York with Simeon Bellison, the principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic.

In 1938 Mr. Weber impressed Arturo Toscanini at an audition and was hired on the spot to perform E-flat clarinet with the NBC Symphony in Ravel’s “Daphnis and Chloe.” He played E-flat clarinet and was assistant principal with the NBC Symphony in the late 1930’s and again during the orchestra’s final years, in the early 1950’s. He was a member of the orchestra for Toscanini’s last concert, on April 4, 1954.

Earlier, while assistant principal in the New York Philharmonic (1943-44), Mr. Weber performed in Leonard Bernstein’s celebrated Nov. 14, 1943, Philharmonic debut. He was also principal clarinet in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (1940-43), the CBS Symphony (1946-52), and the Symphony of the Air (the successor to the NBC Symphony, 1954-57).

After serving as assistant principal in the New York City Ballet Orchestra for several years, he became the orchestra’s principal clarinet in 1964 and held that position until he retired in 1986.

Mr. Weber played under many of the most eminent conductors and musicians of his time. In addition to Toscanini and Bernstein, they included Sir Thomas Beecham, Fritz Busch, Guido Cantelli, Erich Leinsdorf, Igor Markevitch, Pierre Monteux, Charles Munch, Fritz Reiner, Artur Rodzinsky, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, George Szell, Eduard van Beinum, and Bruno Walter.

Mr. Weber’s 1946 recording of Prokofiev’s “Overture on Hebrew Themes” won an award from the Review of Recorded Music. He was one of the first — possibly the very first — American clarinetists to give a recital over the radio. That was in 1950, on New York’s WQXR. Mr. Weber gave premier performances of several important works, including the clarinet quintets by Gordon Jacob and Douglas Moore. In August 1974 he gave the first American performance of Louis Cahuzac’s “Arlequin.”

Mr. Weber became world renowned as a teacher. He taught privately and was also on the faculty of Teachers College, Columbia University, for more than 20 years and the Juilliard School of Music for 11 years. He gave master classes, workshops, and seminars in South America, Europe, and throughout the United States and continued teaching into his 91st year. Many of his students have themselves become successful performers and teachers.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, and his two sons, Robert and Michael.

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