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 David Weber - A Legend Passes
Author: D. Goodman 
Date:   2006-01-24 16:47

I am sorry to report that David Weber passed away yesterday, Jan. 23, 2006. He was 92. Remarkably, he was still teaching until the middle of 2005.

Weber was major figure in the clarinet world. A student of Simeon Bellison, Daniel Bonade, and Roy Schmidt (Detroit), Weber was asst principal clarinet alongside Bellison in the NY Philharmonic, was associate principal and Eb clar in the NBC Symphony under Toscanini, and principal clarinet in the CBS Symphony and Symphony of the Air under Stokowski, the Metropolitan Opera Orch, and was a longtime principal in the NYC Ballet Orch (1964-86). He taught clarinet at Juilliard in the 70s and 80s.

Weber's most enduring legacy is his many students, and his lifelong pursuit of beautiful tone. "The most important thing," he would implore me and others, "is to have a beautiful sound." A double-lip player himself (though many of his students are not), he would teach his students to strive for a rich, liquid, legatissimo sound, much in the style of Ralph McLane (a close friend of his) and Harold Wright. Variations on that beautiful Weber sound can be heard from his many students, who hold clarinet seats in numerous major orchestras, including Cleveland, Milwaukee, Dallas, Philadelphia, American Ballet Theater, Met Opera Orch and elsewhere.

Weber was a mentor from the old school. He cared about our clarinet playing, but he also cared about our lives. The care he showed his students was mutual, as a number of us gathered with him to celebrate his 90th birthday in 2003, and joined him again last month for his 92nd birthday in his NYC apartment.

I asked him recently what he felt his legacy has been. He considered it, then said contentedly, "I gave a good lesson." Indeed. We will miss him. But his beautiful sound will outlive him, and be passed on to many generations of clarinet players.

David Goodman

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 Re: David Weber - A Legend Passes
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2006-01-24 17:38

David Weber was an amazing player. His finger speed was astonishing -- he could play faster than it was possible to hear -- and, as DG says, he cultivated a beautiful tone.

Fortunately, he made a number of solo recordings, which have been reissued on Clarinet Classics with a soft-core cover photo.

He was on the cover of The Clarinet, Vol. 28/2, March 2001, which I believe had a discography of his orchestral recordings.

A great loss to the clarinet and music world.

Ken Shaw

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 Re: David Weber - A Legend Passes
Author: Brenda Siewert 
Date:   2006-01-24 18:21

A sad day.

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 Re: David Weber - A Legend Passes
Author: Adrian 
Date:   2006-01-25 01:15

I was a student of Dave's for five years. He was my only teacher.

Obviously, I played double lip, which meant five years of long tones, soft fingers, delicate phrasing. Technique and sight reading were important, but certainly nothing compared to what he called "singing". It was all about tone. Play fast without tone, and you're just a fast player. Play with tone, and you're an artist.

The embouchure he helped me develop allowed me to play standing, sitting, and marching (in my military days). All the talk of double lip being difficult is meaningless when you learned from a master. He taught me to play the clarinet the way he was taught to play the clarinet.

During his days at the City Ballet, the pit would be empty during intermission except for the principal clarinet, who would be running through exercises, or trying reeds, or maybe just enjoying playing the clarinet for the enjoyment of playing the clarinet.

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 Re: David Weber - A Legend Passes
Author: dallask622 
Date:   2006-01-25 03:29

David Weber was one of a kind. He was a truly dedicated teacher and a warm and careing mentor. I met him and began studying with him when I was 16 years old and was so taken with his passion for the clarinet. It was infectious!
Even when I went on to study at Curtis he was always interested and involved in my development. When I would return to NY to see my family my first stop was always Mr. Weber's for a couple of hours of playing (my lessons were never shorter than a couple of hours) and then a good sandwich at Barney Greengrass!
I could write for pages about him and his influence on me and the clarinet world but put simply (if one can about someone like David Weber), I will miss him dearly and think about him everytime I play.

Greg Raden
Principal Clarinet, Dallas Symphony

Post Edited (2006-01-25 03:31)

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 Re: David Weber - A Legend Passes
Author: Gretchen 
Date:   2006-01-25 13:42

I also studied with Mr. Weber in High School and returned to see him for lessons during breaks after I went to college. He changed my way of playing the clarinet, always emphasizing the sound and the music. He always said "Your sound must have in it colors of silver and gold! You should be able to reach out and touch it!" He had stories of when he played in orchestras, and when he was a child first hearing the clarinet. He had an amazing life, and was an amazing man. He never gave just an hour lesson. It was alwasy 2 or 2.5 hrs. He was so giving with his time and knowlege. He never had enough to say. He took me to lunch after lessons if he didn't have another student coming afterwards. You knew the moment you walked into his apartment that you were studying with a truly passionate individual.

Mr. Weber will be truly missed.

Gretchen Schneider

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 Re: David Weber - A Legend Passes
Author: John J. Moses 
Date:   2006-01-25 14:07

I worked with Dave at the NY City Opera, in many NYC concerts, and even on a few record dates.
Our friendship went back 35+ years. He was an irascible colleague, but a great player. His musicianship was impeccable, and his tone was unmatched in the world of beautiful clarinet sounds.
I'll miss Dave, we spoke about a year ago, and he asked me, "How ya doin' kid?" It's fun to be thought of as a "kid," but at 92 years old, I guess everyone else is a kid.
It's another great clarinet legend gone, he will be missed by many.

Légère Artist
Clark W. Fobes Artist

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 Re: David Weber - A Legend Passes
Author: LarryBocaner 2017
Date:   2006-01-25 18:25

I had the pleasure of playing in the clarinet section with Dave Weber when he "filled in" for Harold Wright for the National Symphony's summer concert season back in the late 1960's. Contrary to John Moses's allusion to his reputation as having a "New York edge", he was a kind and considerate colleague; it was a joy to make music with him!

A few months later, when the NSO was playing in NYC, he made it a point to treat Bill Wright and me to a sumptuous French dinner at Le Biarritz!

I deeply regret that that was the last time we had any personal contact (even though I got to send him a birthday card for his 90th), but I'll always treasure the few weeks that we were colleagues.

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 Re: David Weber - A Legend Passes
Author: John J. Moses 
Date:   2006-01-26 04:53

Hey Larry, a "New York edge", ya gotta problem with dat?

Seriously, Dave and I were friends and his "edge" was greatly exaggerated by many here in NYC.
I just received this note from the famous former Bass Clarinetist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Ron Reuben:

"I last spoke with Dave about two weeks ago at which time he was in such a state of agitation at having misplaced or lost his teeth that he gave the phone to the woman who was caring for him rather than continue any further conversation.

I had decided to wait until some time would elapse and that he would hopefully cool down before attempting to contact him again.

I waited too long.

Dave and I were good friends for a period of more than twenty years or so. Ours was a relationship of many shared stories and laughs and mutual respect. I shall miss him and remember him with much fondness for the rest of my days. Ron"

Légère Artist
Clark W. Fobes Artist

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 Re: David Weber - A Legend Passes
Author: Adrian 
Date:   2006-01-26 12:08

The New York Times has a lovely article today (1/26) about Dave, written by reporter Dan Wakin, who is himself a fine clarinetist.

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 Re: David Weber - A Legend Passes
Author: GBK 
Date:   2006-01-26 12:17

Adrian wrote:

> The New York Times has a lovely article today (1/26) about
> Dave, written by reporter Dan Wakin, who is himself a fine
> clarinetist.


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 Re: David Weber - A Legend Passes
Author: Alseg 
Date:   2006-01-26 12:32

Perhaps someone of importance could prevail upon Larry Guy to make a nice compilation CD like he did for Bonade and McLean.

-Where the Sound Matters Most(tm)-
412 889 8202

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 Re: David Weber - A Legend Passes
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2006-01-27 13:02

There's a great article on David Weber at
it includes the stuff he dealt with during WWII in the Met.

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