Instrument case designer and maker, Howard Wiseman talked with Kevin Chavez during the summer 2014-Double Reed Conference in New York. Howard made his first case when he was 15 years old as a result of having difficulties carrying his heavy bassoon. The first order for a case was from his bassoon teacher, which lead to more requests for cases. While studying for a performance bassoon career, he continued making cases. Howard today continues to play and teach bassoon along side of his case and sports coaching businesses. Producing only bassoon cases for the first 13 years, he later branched out to other instruments and multiple instruments. A lifetime guarantee is offered with all his cases and he never compromising on quality. Known for his innovation, he is always looking towards new designs and projects following his passion for creating and building things.
Sarah Thelen Rude studied Oboe in college and after graduating started at Fox Products as a diagnostician and oboe builder. Eight years later she also repairs and is part of oboe product development. She and Kevin talk about how Fox Products is able to make a great intermediate instrument, increasing their product line to meet the needs of oboe players, oboe product innovations, how to improve and maintain the expectations of the oboe sound and what Fox has in the planning stages for product development.
Sherry Sylar joined us for a lively conversation about her responsibilities over the last 30 years as the Associate Principal Oboist at the New York Philharmonic. She shares many stories of how she is often called in at the last moment to perform for all the principal parts, as well as playing the Oboe d’amore and English Horn. Among the topics we talked about; the various musicians committees at the New York Philharmonic, her path to the New York Philharmonic and her audition process, performance anxiety and the art of preparation, teaching and how it has affected her playing and how to practice, reed making, oboe brands, her process of recording a solo cd, managing the large amount of repertoire in practice and how she found her way to choosing the oboe.
Nancy Huang, owner of RDG Woodwinds talked with Kevin during the 2014 International Double Reed Conference. Nancy tells the story as to how she became a proprietor of RDG Woodwinds after realizing that performing would not be her primary career path. She talks about; her company, how she has developed her business in offering wide selections, working with various artists and teachers, selecting instruments, instrument repair, stocking inventory, selling used instruments and RDG’s support to artists and students.
We were delighted to have Oboist James Austin Smith share so many facets of his active career. First he talks about his steps to choosing the oboe and a career path, which steered him from an undergraduate double degree in political science and oboe to a Fulbright Scholarship in Germany, then back to the United States for a Masters at Yale. James talks about the difference of the European style of oboe playing and auditioning and how experiencing this led him to vary his career trajectory which is always goal driven, but how the path to that goal can be diverse. He shares his ideas about programing and the importance of being thoughtful about repertoire choice. Speaking candidly about his realization that he didn’t want the orchestral oboist path and finding his relevance in the music world, following a new route to a career. As a teacher he talks about how he focuses his students on the most important skills needed for a successful career.
Co-Host Kevin Chavez is in the hot seat, allowing our listeners to get to know his projects and various career paths. He talks at length about the inspiration for developing his idea of “Reed ebooks” and how he found his way to being a double reed player. His exceptional drive and focus lead him to various careers, including human resources, which sidetracked his music career for a few years but later lead him back to pursuing a Masters degree in English Horn in New York City. Kevin shares a skill that permeates throughout his career paths; beginning with the end in mind. Discovered by necessity was his ability and love of photography, which has added yet another dimension to his varied career.