Arthur Weisberg

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Arthur Weisberg (April 4, 1931 January 17, 2009) was an American clarinetist, bassoonist, conductor, composer and author.



Weisberg was born in New York City. He attended The High School of Music & Art, majoring in bassoon and studying with Simon Kovar, and graduating in 1948. [1]

Soon after leaving Juilliard, he found notable success securing the principal chairs with the Houston and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras and second bassoon with the Cleveland Orchestra, before coming back to New York City. After pursuing study of conducting with Jean Morel he again returned to the bassoon as principal for Symphony of the Air as well as bassoonist of the New York Woodwind Quintet for 14 years. [2]

In the realm of conducting he has conducted the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Sjaellands and Aalborg Symphonies of Denmark. Weisberg founded and conducted the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble.

Weisberg also extensively taught, having held posts at the Juilliard School, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Yale School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music.

He recorded several renderings of 20th-century music, such as from Schoenberg ( Pierrot Lunaire, Erwartung ), Varèse, Messiaen, and contemporary American composers (e.g., Elliott Carter, Stefan Wolpe, and George Crumb), mostly with the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, the Orchestra of the 20th Century, and the Ensemble 21. These met with considerable critical acclaim. Weisberg also conducted Charles Schwartz's 1979 jazz symphony Mother ! Mother ! with Clark Terry and Zoot Sims. [3]


Weisberg also authored two books: The Art of Wind Playing (G. Schirmer) and Performing 20th Century Music-a Handbook for Conductors and Instrumentalists (Yale University Press) as well as composed and edited numerous scores, including the Bach Cello Suites. [4]

"Future Bassoon" system

Weisberg introduced a new bassoon which he claimed was "absolutely unable to crack. Perfect slurs on the most problematic notes. Never having to flick again. Ease of fingering. Better quality and pitch on six of the worst notes. This is what the Weisberg System promises and delivers, and it does all of this automatically, with no new fingerings to learn." [5] Because of Arthur Weisberg's death, Robert D. Jordan has inherited the mantel of president for "Future Bassoon" and has changed the name to "Weisberg Systems, LLC". "Weisberg Systems, LLC" have been implementing the no-flick system on many bassoons and continue to be a viable option for bassoonists everywhere. [6]

Selected compositions

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  1. "Notable Alumni," Alumni & Friends of LaGuardia High School. Accessed Nov. 8, 2016.
  2. "Arthur Weisberg". American Composers Alliance. February 19, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  3. Mother______! Mother______! at AllMusic
  4. Indiana University faculty biography page. Archived December 17, 2006, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved March 22, 2007.
  5. Future Bassoon system website. Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved March 22, 2007.
  6. "Weisberg Systems, LLC". Weisberg Systems, LLC. Retrieved September 14, 2017.