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Flutist Louis Moyse Dies at 94

By Kevin Shihoten
31 Jul 2007

Louis Moyse

Louis Moyse, prominent flutist, pedagogue and co-founder of the Marlboro Music School & Festival, died of heart failure yesterday at age 94.

The son of influential French flutist Marcel Moyse, Louis Moyse was born in Scheveningen, Netherlands in 1912 during one of his father's tours. He studied flute and piano at the Paris Conservatory.

Moyse's pedagogical lineage was exceptional: his first flute teachers were his father and his father's teacher, Philippe Gaubert, the prize pupil of Paul Taffanel, founder of the modern French school of flute playing,

As a freelancer in 1920s Paris, Moyse was a member of the Opéra-Comique and played in orchestras that accompanied silent movies. He also rubbed shoulders with composers Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, Bohuslav Martinu and Maurice Ravel, and collaborated with Duke Ellington, Adolf Busch and Reynaldo Hahn.

At 19, Moyse was awarded the Conservatory's Premier Prix and thereafter became an assistant to his father, who joined the school's flute faculty in 1932. Among Louis's students was a young Lukas Foss.

In 1934, the elder Moyse formed the successful Moyse Trio, with his son on the piano and daughter-in-law Blanche Honegger on the flute.

The Moyse family moved to Argentina after World War II, eventually settling in Brattleboro, Vermont and forming Marlboro College's music deparment. Along with Adolf Busch and Rudolf Serkin, they founded the Marlboro Music School & Fesival in 1951.

In 1952, Moyse co-founded the Brattleboro Music Center, a revered community institution for chamber music, and drew musicians from Boston and New York to expand local audiences.

"They brought a great deal culturally speaking to the community because they wanted to build on this side of the ocean what they were used to having in Europe," recalls Philipp Naegele, friend of Moyse and an emeritus music professor at Smith College, in the Brattleboro Reformer.

Moyse also taught for many years at the University of Toronto and Boston University, and continued teaching privately at his home in Westport, New York and later in Montepelier, Vermont, where he resided for the last nine years of his life. He also gave annual master classes in Saint Amour, France, his father's hometown, until 2005.

Less than two week ago, Moyse conducted an ensemble in his arrangement of Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Montpelier Unitarian Church.

Louis Moyse is survived by his wife Janet, four children from his first marriage, four stepchildren, a sister and several grandchildren.





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