Browse Record

First Name: J. Walter
Last Name: Guetter
URL: http://idrs2.colorado.edu/pubidrs2/dr17.2/DR17.2.Phelan.html
Bio: J. Walter Guetter (bassoon) [1895-1937] Born in Philadelphia April 17, 1895, Walter went to Berlin at the age of 15 to study bassoon for four years with his uncle, Adolf Guetter. In 1914, the 19-year-old Guetter came home, a very young bassoonist looking for a job. Leopold Stokowski, who was then building the Philadelphia Orchestra into the great virtuoso instrument which it became, said, "I heard Walter Guetter for the first time when he was a young man just growing out of boyhood. I was struck with his great gifts as a Fagottist, and took him immediately into the orchestra..." At Willow Grove Park, where the Chicago Symphony played concerts in the summer season, Walter auditioned for Frederick Stock. Stock said to his manager, "Mr. Ulrich, I want this young man in .Chicago next season." Ulrich replied, "We already have our first contracted." Stock went on, "Engage him as third bassoon, assistant first, and I will take care of the rest." Walter was hired and in the midst of the 1915-1916 season he became first bassoonist of the Chicago Symphony. During his tenure with Chicago, Guetter served in the Navy at the Great Lakes Naval Station, Illinois-hence the 1917 photo on the cover. He returned to the Chicago Symphony after the Navy until 1922. Ed. In 1922 Guetter rejoined the Philadelphia Orchestra as first bassoon. Thus that formidable trio of first chair men in the woodwind section was established: Kincaid, Tabuteau, and Guetter-flute, oboe, and bassoon. These three were to play together for 15 years. His illness, starting with a little indigestion, began to take an increasing portion of his energy, and the pressure on him mounted. On May 1, 1937, Walter Guetter died.
Source: The Double Reed 17/2 (Fall 1994)