Topic: Jerome Roth

Jerome Roth, New York Oboe Player, is Dead at 87

New York Times
October 14, 2005

Jerome Roth, an oboist in the New York Philharmonic for 31 years and a
member of the pioneering New York Woodwind Quintet in the 1950's, died
on Wednesday in Ridgefield, Conn. He was 87.

His son Robert Roth said he died at a nursing home and had been
suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Jerome Roth belonged to a generation of great American oboists who
emerged after World War II. The orchestra at the Juilliard School, which
he attended on the G.I. Bill of Rights, also included Ray Still and John
Mack, who both went on to stardom as principal players at the Chicago
Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra, respectively.

From 1961 until his retirement in 1992, Mr. Roth was the stalwart second
oboist in the Philharmonic, a master at blending with his double-reed
colleagues. He spent a decade in the New York Woodwind Quintet, which
was founded in the 1950's and was a leading example of the combination
of flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn.

Jerome Roth was born on June 15, 1918, in Manhattan. His father ran a
hardware store that had a piano in the back, and there his mother would
play music between customers.

In an article for The Double Reed, Mr. Roth said that as a child, he had
taught himself to play piano, going so far as to make his own
arrangement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. He began his musical studies
at the Henry Street Settlement.

At Juilliard, he studied with Harold Gomberg, who was the New York
Philharmonic principal oboist for many years, and soon joined the Little
Orchestra Society and the quintet.

In the article, Mr. Roth said Ronald Roseman, the Philharmonic's second
oboist, had proposed swapping his job for the quintet position.

"I was primarily a first oboist, but playing second oboe with Harold
Gomberg was an opportunity I couldn't refuse," he said. Their sounds
were so similar that Gomberg would sometimes have him take over a

Besides his son Robert, of Weston, Conn., the chief financial officer
for the HBO cable network, Mr. Roth is survived by his wife, Ruth Roth,
of Newtown, Conn., and another son, Richard Roth, of Manhattan, senior
United Nations correspondent for CNN. His first wife, Blanche Roth, died
in 1985. He also had three stepchildren and six grandchildren.

Paul Barrett
   -Principal Bassoonist, Honolulu Symphony
    -Lecturer in Bassoon, University of Hawaii