TAEM- As The Arts and Entertainment Magazine has stretched it’s wings from the early days as a blog, then The Eerie Digest, the entire entertainment field has opened up to us. With colleges and Students of the Arts panning our magazine monthly for guidance in their careers, we love to set examples for them in the many fields now laid before us.
Our newest exploration is in the genre of classical music, and we have chosen Oboist H. David Meyers lifetime achievement to do so. His friends have fondly called him ‘H’ for so many years, that he states that he has forgotten the true first name that ‘H’ stands for. Out of respect, we will call him ‘H’ for that very reason.
‘H’, tell us about your very early years and your initial love of classical music and the instrument that is the hallmark of your career.
HDM-I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said the “oboe is an ill wind which no one blows good!” Might I add for the oboists of the world, “ an instrument which leaves no psyche in a palatable position!” In other words, you have to be crazy to play the oboe! On the other side of the moon, the oboe is the solo instrument of the orchestra and the darling of the masters and Hollywood composers!
TAEM- Who was your greatest influence in your career?
HDM-two fantastic artists, Louis DelVecchio, one of the greatest teachers who ever lived, and a former Assistant Director of Music for New York City schools, and Englebert Brenner, oboist and solo English hornist of the New York Philharmonic.
TAEM- We have learned that at the age of 15 you played the oboe in Carnegie Hall, in my old home town of New York City. Tell us how you first became involved with the orchestra and how you came to be with them.
HDM-As principal oboist of the New York City All_City High School Orchestra, we performed each year at Carnegie Hall and later when it was built in 1962, Lincoln Center. At 16, the National Orchestral Association, allowed me to become the first high school student to perform regularly with them at Carnegie Hall. My teacher, Englebert Brenner a member of the New York Phiharmonic for 44 years, provided me with numerous opportunities to perform with he and his colleagues at chamber concerts and symphony performances throughout New York, and later Washington, D.C.
TAEM- How exciting was this for you to perform in such great company?
HDM- It was a dream come true! At 16, I was likely the youngest professional oboist in the country and had the glorious opportunity to play with the world’s greatest musicians, and most importantly, learn from them. And, at the world’s greatest venues.
TAEM- You also performed more than a dozen solo appearances with members of the National Symphony Orchestra. This was an outstanding accomplishment. Please describe these events to our readers and any challenges that they presented to you.
HDM-One of the outstanding joys of life is to have the opportunity to play a musical instrument. Performing with a major symphony provides an adrenaline rush, but the experience of performing as a soloist with some of the great musicians of the world is absolutely thrilling!
More than 8 oboe concertos have been written for me including compositions by Loretta Jankowski, Morris Kates, Michael Moog DeMedici, and Willem Holsbergen( the discoverer of the missing Beethoven works which were the subject of worldwide headlines.)
The challenges of performing a concerto with a world class orchestra are daunting, but to perform a score for the first time requires collaboration between the conductor, orchestra, and composer! Often, there are differences of interpretation and opinion, and in many instances, very high profile egos.
What is most rewarding, are the responses from audiences and fellow musicians upon listening to the birth of new music which may become part of the repertoire of the oboe and classical music. The breaking of new musical horizons is always rewarding and, hopefully uplifting for audiences around the globe. In June of 2010, I had the fantastic thrill of performing the Beethoven Oboe Concerto with members of the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center! As an over-the-hill outfielder with the University of Miami Hurricanes, life couldn’t get any better!
TAEM- You also performed for the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, one of Russia’s most prestigious orchestras, as the soloist on a recording of a Beethoven concerto whose score had been lost for almost 200 years. This was a great achievement for you. Tell us about this, and what it meant for your career.
HDM- The magnificent St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Russia’s most prestigious orchestra, and I have collaborated on 3CDs in the past decade, including the first: Steve Perillo’s “Romance for Oboe and Orchestra” and “Song for America”(first performed on the first anniversary of 9/11 at the US Capitol by the Washington Symphony.
“Mozart Oboe Concerto” on the 250th anniversary of Mozart(2nd cd), and the “Beethovenfound Oboe Concerto” on the 3rd cd.
Performing on the first major symphonic presentation of a missing and rediscovered Beethoven work was absolutely one of the greatest moments of my life! As the oboist selected to be the soloist, I have had so many gracious invitations to perform this work around the globe, not to mention the fantastic resurgence of interest in classical music as a result of Willem Holsbergen’s discovery! (the Indiana Jones of musicologists!!)
TAEM- Your charitable work is also renowned and we learned that for more than two decades you organized events in New York City, and the Kennedy Center, benefiting such organizations as Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC.. Tell us of your achievements with this.
HDM-Over the years, my talented and generous musical colleagues have performed concerts at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and even the Queen Elizabeth 2, to raise support for people who need our help. It is a joy to turn a symphony performance into 100 Victor Borges to entertain and delight audiences who are there to support others.
HDM-Timesaver/Mastercard and Visa, as is widely known, was the creator of the first secured credit cards which directly lead to the modern debit card. As CEO, I hired Mickey Mantle as a national spokesperson to enlighten the public about a brand new financial instrument. This development meant that people who could not qualify for the normal Mastercard or Visa could now be approved. It was a revolutionary development in banking which has affected millions of people. Interesting to note: Mickey Mantle brought a gift from Dallas to Washington, D.C. in the form of a 2ft x 3ft commissioned painting by the famous artist, Robert Simon, as a gift to my brother and myself for giving Mickey a position as TV spokesperson for Mastercard and Visa. This commissioned painting by Mickey Mantle is soon to go on a nationwide museum tour and sold at auction to benefit “Wounded Warriors.” Until the near future, this incredible work of art, commissioned by “the Mick” has never been on public display! It is dated and signed 12/2383 by Mickey Mantle!
TAEM- ‘H’, we learned that you will also be performing at Great Meadows, in Northern Virginia. Please let our readers know more about this event and where they can purchase tickets to see your performance.
HDM-It can’t get any better than this: A 200 piece orchestra and 500 chorus members, 6 bands, roasting whole hogs and sides of beef, a jumbotron, beer trucks, 100 tents, entertainment all day, with more than 30,000 people in attendance on May 27th, 2012 at Great Meadows in The Plains, Virginia, to honor our nation’s heros, “Wounded Warriors.” For ticket information, or to volunteer, contact Beethovenfound.Org , or call 301-296-4408.
TAEM- ‘H’, we want to thank you for spending time with The Arts and Entertainment Magazine for this wonderful interview, and we know that the many Students of the Arts who follow our magazine will enjoy learning about you. We wish you much luck in your career and hope that you will visit with us again.