Archiver > SPRINKLE > 2003-07 > 1059066037

From: "Margaret L. Sopp" <>
Subject: Re: [SPRINKLE] Robert Sprenkle - 1914-1988
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2003 12:01:25 -0500
References: <1ea.dacb1fd.2c512c60@aol.com>

Thank you, Maureen, for posting the information about oboist
Robert Sprenkle. It was very interesting to read. (And provides
info on his family as well.)

Robert was the s/o William Howard Sprenkle & Cecile Gertrude
Frey. William was an Adams Co., PA Sprenkle, who moved to
Pittsburgh, where he was a teacher. If I was right on my guess
on the identity of Margie Sprenkle, who attended Professor Aaron
Sheely's school in Gettysburg (from Paula's newspaper post), then
that Margie & William were siblings.


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Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2003 7:34 AM
Subject: [SPRINKLE] Robert Sprenkle - 1914-1988

> <A
nkle.html">Robert Sprenkle - 1914-1988</A>
> Robert Sprenkle - 1914-1988
> Members of the I. D. R. S mourn the passing of our much
esteemed honorary
> member, Robert Sprenkle. The following obituary appeared in a
Rochester paper.
> Robert Sprenkle, RPO's principal oboist for 48 years dies
> By Robert V. Palmer
> Democrat and Chronicle music critic
> One of the world's best-known oboists, Robert Sprenkle died at
his Brighton
> home yesterday afternoon after a long bout with cancer.
> Principal oboist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra for 48
years and
> professor of oboe at the Eastman School of Music for 45 years,
Sprenkle was known
> internationally as a firstclass performer and teacher.
> In a 1977 review, former Democrat and Chronicle music critic
Michael Walsh
> (now with Time magazine), began a review by singling out
Sprenkle who was coming
> back from an operation and "producing the kind of oboe playing
> considerable reputation is based on..."
> His book, titled The Art of Oboe Playing, was widely read by
students, and
> was a teaching standard. Former students from across the
country - many now
> holding positions in major orchestras - had visited him in the
hospital in past
> weeks.
> "He had a great influence on the oboe world," says oboist
Richard Killmer,
> who replaced Sprenkle when he retired from Eastman in 1982.
"His book is one of
> a kind. He had students in almost every orchestra in the
> "It was a privilege to know him - and to be around him." An
avid runner,
> bird-watcher and amateur geologist in his spare time, Sprenkle
was described by
> friends as passionate in his hobbies and self-disciplined in
his work, but
> gentle in disposition.
> "He was the principal reason I came here," says retired RPO
> Stanley Hasty, who had been principal clarinetist with the
orchestras of Pittsburgh
> and Cleveland.
> "He was a really sweet man. And he was so sincere in his
beliefs. While being
> unswerving, he was never antagonistic. it was easy to have a
very warm
> relationship with him - both personally and professionally."
> Intending to pursue a career as an engineer and bridge-builder
after high
> school, Sprenkle was convinced by Howard Hansen, then director
at Eastman, to
> apply for a scholarship.
> He won it, and reportedly flipped a coin. Bridge-building lost.
> "He was a kind, kind, very thoughtful person - and very
analytical about his
> own playing," says Eastman colleague David Van Hoesen. "I think
that's why he
> was such a good teacher. "
> Current Eastman School director Robert Freeman concurs.
> "He was one of the great oboe teachers of his time," says
Freeman. "He will
> be missed."
> Sprenkle was in his early 70s. Survivors include his wife,
Barbara, a son,
> Todd, and two daughters, Peggy and Robin. Further information
was unavailable.
> Funeral arrangements are pending.
> A memorial service and concert was held on February 5 at the
Unitarian Church
> of Rochester. Remembrances of Mr. Sprenkle, the man, the
oboist, the teacher,
> were given by these long-time colleagues: Eileen Malone,
formerly principal
> harpist of the Rochester Philharmonic; Wayne Barlow, professor
emeritus of
> composition, the Eastman School of Music; and by Jonathan
Parkes, oboist of the
> Rochester Philharmonic. John Snow, Mr. Sprenkle's successor as
principal oboist
> of the RPO performed Schumann's Abend lied, and Howard Hanson's
Pastorale, Op.
> 38. Judith Ricker, also a member of the RPO oboe section,
together with bass
> Thomas Paul, performed Bach's Cantata No. 82 "Ich babe genug. "
Bonita Boyd,
> flutist, performed Mozart's Andante in C, K. 315. The program
for the service
> included this touching dedication:
> Dedication
> Robert Sprenkle was the renowned principal oboist of the
> Philharmonic Orchestra from 1937 to 1985. During that time he
was also professor of oboe
> at the Eastman School of Music, a position he served with great
> He had a deep belief in the shared experience of orchestral
playing. "The joy
> of doing something can only exist if it's shared. You play
solos in a
> Beethoven symphony, but you have so many other opportunities
where you share
> passages... The real success of being a good orchestral player
is being able to join
> with other players and the conductor in the whole experience. "
> As colleagues, the orchestra members cherish the memory of his
> principles and unyielding devotion to his work. As musicians,
they, along with
> generations of Eastman Theatre audiences, were touched by a
rare simplicity of honest,
> deeply felt musical expression.
> Robert Sprenkle leaves his wife, Barbara, a son, Todd, of
> California, and two daughters, Roberta Choppers of Louisville,
Kentucky, and Margaret
> Halleck of Sall Lake City, Utah.

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