Thoughts and concepts about various aspects of English Horn playing
The recent untimely passing of Grover Schiltz, Principal English Horn player with the Chicago Symphony from 1964 - 2005, is a great loss to the oboe and English Horn community. He joined the Chicago Symphony in 1959 as Assistant Principal oboe, then moved to English Horn in 1964.
He was a magnificent musician, marvelous teacher and exemplary human being whose professional accomplishments and personal attributes were admired by all who came in contact with him. He had been my teacher, mentor and a dear friend for over 36 years and his guidance, inspiration and support played a major role in my decision to become an English Horn player.
Grover's playing was characterized by his beautiful tone quality, superb musicianship and musicality and he maintained extremely high standards throughout his career. He was also a master of the baroque oboe and baroque ornamentation. He had a "no nonsense" approach to teaching, which I appreciated and admired. His standards were high and he not only expected, but encouraged his students to do their very best at all times. He was an inspirational teacher, full of wisdon and always generous with his time.
Grover had many interests that extended well beyond the field of music and it was always enlightening to hear him talk about his passion for travel, photography, rugs, dogs, cooking and wine. He had a delightful sense of humor and he was never at a loss of subjects to discuss.
He presented himself as an excellent role model for all of us in terms of his sense of ethics, honesy and the fair treatment of others. The most important lesson of all that I learned from him was to concentrate on my own work and career interestes, to let my playing speak for itself, and not to realize my professional ambitions at the expense of others. It was sage advice from a very wise man, one who will be dearly missed.
Grover Schiltz, 1931-2012 (Rosenthal Archives, Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
Principal English Horn in the Chicago Symphony from 1964-2005