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Arts & Entertainment Presented by Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts


Music Academy of the West Mourns Death of Acclaimed Oboist David Weiss

By Tim Dougherty for Music Academy of the West |

Music Academy of the West president Scott Reed on Sunday issued the following statement regarding the death of celebrated oboist David Weiss, a longtime faculty member at the renowned classical music institution:

David Weiss
David Weiss

“David Weiss was a man of formidable musical gifts who exuded magisterial charm on stage and off,” Reed said. “Ever the consummate professional, David reveled in all the details and challenges of great music-making, demonstrating time and again that exceptional performances are borne of an uncompromising commitment to excellence.

“Also a man of extraordinary warmth, David was unfailingly generous with his time, and took much pride in the development of his students. He will be sorely missed.”

Having made his solo debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1962 at age 15, Weiss went on to serve as principal oboist of the orchestra from 1973 to 2003, after holding first-chair positions with the National Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Metropolitan Opera National Company and the West Point Band.

He recorded numerous symphonic works under such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Antal Doráti, Zubin Mehta, André Previn and Esa-Pekka Salonen, and can be heard on the soundtracks for nearly 200 motion pictures.

A faculty member at USC Thornton School of Music and Cal State University, Long Beach, Weiss taught for many years at the Henry Mancini Institute and was a frequent guest teacher at New England Conservatory, the Manhattan School of Music, the Sarasota Music Festival and International Double Reed Society conferences.

An internationally recognized master of the musical saw, he was also an accomplished photographer whose work had been widely published. He served as the official photographer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for nearly 30 years.

The Weiss Family Woodwinds, which also included his wife, Alpha Hockett Walker (piano); his sister, Dawn Weiss (flute); and his brother, Abe Weiss (bassoon), performed throughout the country for many years.

Weiss attended the Music Academy from 1962 to 1964, and was named an academy faculty member in 2002.

He died Saturday in Los Angeles at age 67.

Click here for more information about the Music Academy of the West.

— Tim Dougherty is the communications manager for the Music Academy of the West.

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