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date: 23 October 2019

Caldwell, James Boone locked

  • Michelle Vigneau


(b Gladewater, TX, Dec 3, 1938; d Elyria, OH, Feb 8, 2006). American oboist, baroque oboist, viola da gambist, and educator. He earned a diploma in 1961 from the Curtis Institute where he studied with john de Lancie . Caldwell served as principal oboist of the National SO (NSO) from 1965–66 and 1968–1971, and was principal oboist of the short-lived Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia from 1966–68. He played with the Puerto Rico Symphony and the Casals Festival Orchestra, and was a frequent performer at the Marlboro Music Festival. In 1971, Caldwell joined the faculty of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, where he trained many of the profession’s leading oboists, including Alex Klein, former principal oboist of the Chicago SO. Caldwell’s pedagogy was unusual, as he rarely mentioned the oboe. His students learned to play as a result of the musical demands of the phrase.

As a chamber musician, he was a member of the Soni Ventorum Quintet, the Oberlin Baroque Ensemble, and the Oberlin Woodwind Quintet. While playing in the NSO in the late 1960s, he also became interested in the viola da gamba and studied with noted teacher August Wenzinger. He became an accomplished viol player as well as a celebrated baroque oboist, earning a reputation as a leading scholar in historical performance. With his wife, cellist and viola da gambist Catharina Meints, he co-founded the Baroque Performance Institute, the first American summer school for historical performance, in ...

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