Topic: Wayne Rapier
Wayne Rapier; BSO oboist founded record company; 75
By Richard Dyer
October 15, 2005
Wayne Rapier, who played oboe in the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 25
years, died yesterday in Dana-Faber Cancer Institute. He was 75 and died
after a battle with cancer.
Born in Tyler, Texas, Mr. Rapier studied at the Eastman School of Music
and privately in Philadelphia with the legendary principal oboist of the
Philadelphia Orchestra, Marcel Tabuteau.
At 19 Mr. Rapier began his orchestral career as principal oboist of the
Indianapolis Symphony, and later played in the orchestras of
Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Baltimore and at the Santa Fe Opera prior
to joining the Boston Symphony in 1970. He taught at New England
Conservatory, Longy School of Music, and several other schools. He was
also a commercial pilot and certified flight instrument instructor.
After his retirement from the BSO a decade ago, Mr. Rapier continued to
perform, but concentrated his energies on the record company he had
founded, Boston Records, which he ran out of his home in Duxbury. Its
catalogue grew to more than 80 compact discs of solo and chamber-music
performances by major orchestral players of the past and the present,
including such BSO colleagues as clarinetist Harold Wright, bassoonist
Sherman Walt, oboist Alfred Genovese, bassist Edwin Barker, flutist
Jacques Zoon and harpist Ann Hobson Pilot.
There are also three very beautiful records by Mr. Rapier himself; he
knew the soul of his instrument.
Mr. Rapier was a congenial fellow, a Southern gentleman who never lost
his Texas accent and generous style of going about his business. His
longtime BSO colleague, former principal oboist Ralph Gomberg, said
yesterday: ''Wayne was very talented, a solid musician who worked very
hard. He understood the difficulty of maintaining a good sound on the
oboe, but he could do it, and he played with spirit and sensitivity. He
loved music, the Boston Symphony, and his many friends in the
One of Mr. Rapier's postretirement engagements was to play the ''Vaughan
Williams Concerto for Oboe" with the Plymouth Philharmonic; his
daughter, Bonnie Rapier Harlow of Plympton, is a longtime member of the
orchestra in the cello section, and his wife, Toni, a member of the
Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, also frequently plays in Plymouth.
Music director Steven Karidoyanes said yesterday: ''The way he played
that piece was luscious. In the dancing sections, he was sprightly and
light on his feet, and when it needed to be long and plaintive, it was
just that. He humanized the part. He knew this meant not playing with
the most gorgeous tones all the time. He was always asking what the
music was trying to say, and his response was always 'Let's get at it.'
That was a great lesson."
In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Rapier leaves two sons,
Christopher of Mentor, Ohio, and David of Mansfield; and four
There will be a wake Monday at 5:30 p.m. in Shepherd Funeral Home in
Kingston. A memorial service is scheduled for Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. in
Pilgrim Church in Duxbury.
-Principal Bassoonist, Honolulu Symphony
-Lecturer in Bassoon, University of Hawaii