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John Mack Music Collection: John Mack Biography

Biographical Information

John Wilfred MackJohn Wilfred Mack was born October 30, 1927, in Somerville, New Jersey. His Father was a Presbyterian minister and John was encouraged to learn about music from an early age. He played piano and violin before he switched in sixth grade to the instrument that eventually became his life's work, the oboe.

Juilliard School of Music in New York provided a nurturing undergraduate environment for John Mack's talent. He played first oboe in the orchestra and studied with Harold Gomberg, who was the principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic.

John Mack attended the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia for graduate school and took lessons from Marcel Tabuteau, who was the first oboist with the Philadelphia Orchestra under renowned conductor, Leopold Stokowski. The impeccable technique and magnificent breath control John Mack incorporated into his playing is a direct result of his association with Tabuteau.

After playing first oboe with the Sadler's Wells Ballet Orchestra during their North American Tour (1951-52), John Mack played first oboe for eleven seasons with the New Orleans Symphony. In 1965 George Szell recruited John Mack to move to Ohio to perform as principal oboist of the Cleveland Orchestra. For more information regarding Mr. Mack's life, see the Washington Post obituary by Adam Berstein.