More on woodwind reed-making in Pittsburgh (and elsewhere)

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

I had a lot of fun working on a story that delved into the fine art and craft of woodwind reed-making.

Cindy reedPittsburgh Symphony Orchestra principal oboist Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida uses a gouging machine on the cane used to make oboe reeds at her home in Franklin Park. (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette) 

Be sure to watch PG photographer Julia Rendleman's excellent video of Pittsburgh Symphony principal contrabassoonist Jim Rodgers demonstrating the reed-making process:

Here are a few things that didn't make it into the piece:

• PSO principal oboist Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida has brought current and former music directors Manfred Honeck and Mariss Jansons, as well as perennial PSO favorite Gianandrea Noseda, into her reed-making "Dungeon," so they can see what it takes to prepare a reed.
• Ms. DeAlmeida's style of reed — along with much of her musical approach — hails from a tradition established by longtime Philadelphia Orchestra oboist and Curtis Institute of Music teacher Marcel Tabuteau.
• Mr. Rodgers has harvested his own cane in California about commitment to the craft!
• Jack Howell, PSO principal bass clarinetist, wrote a book on bamboo fly-fishing rods, called "The Lovely Reed: An Enthusiast's Guide to Building Bamboo Fly Rods."

Are there any other unusual or specialized musical practices that you'd like to read about? If so, shoot me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  

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