Anthony Gigliotti, 79, Philadelphia Clarinetist and Teacher

Date: 2001-12-19

Anthony Gigliotti, a mainstay of the Philadelphia Orchestra sound as principal clarinetist for 47 years and a polymath of the instrument who trained generations of colleagues, died on Dec. 3 at a hospital in Camden, N.J. He was 79 and lived in Cherry Hill, N.J.

The cause was complications from myelodysplasia, a bone marrow ailment, said his wife, Tai-ling.

Through recordings and through his students, Mr. Gigliotti helped shape clarinet-playing in this country, transmitting a tradition of flexiblity and technical brilliance.

His musicianship made him equally at home in the Hungarian dances of Kodaly, the florid solos of Rachmaninoff and the gossamer lines of Ravel. His tone quality was resonant but bright.

''To project solo lines in the context of the famous Philadelphia string sound, one had to have that,'' said Larry Combs, principal clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony. At the same time, he reflected the Philadelphia wind style of flowing, seamless lines, said Ronald Reuben, the Philadelphia Orchestra's bass clarinetist and a former student of Mr. Gigliotti.

Mr. Gigliotti retired from the orchestra in 1996, but maintained a busy teaching schedule until his death.

He taught at the Curtis Institute of Music and Temple University in Philadelphia, the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. He also had private students and gave master classes around the country.

In June, he finished a recording of a concerto dedicated to him by George Rochberg.

Mr. Gigliotti also shaped the physical tools of the modern clarinetist, helping design clarinets for the Selmer clarinet company in Paris and producing his own mouthpieces and ligatures.

Mr. Gigliotti, who grew up in Phladelphia, is survived by his wife; three sons, Mark, who is co-principal bassoonist in the Philadelphia Orchestra, Neal and Adam; and by a daughter, Lynne.

Mr. Gigliotti attended Curtis, but interrupted his studies to serve in the Navy in World War II.

In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, he recounted how one night a kamikaze crashed into his aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Randolph, in the Pacific.

''People used to ask me if I wasn't nervous playing this or that,'' he said. ''That kamikaze had cured me of nervousness.''


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