J. Lawry Bloom
Clarinet, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
I had the good fortune to study with Anthony from 1971 to 1974 at Temple University. From the beginning he was an amazing gentleman. My brother drove me to my audition in the summer of 1971, and we got quite lost trying to find the house, arriving over an hour late. I was, of course, mortified. In the warm summer evening the front door was wide open and Tony was sitting in a chair, reading the paper. I was distraught, and apologetic for being so late. He just laughed and said, yes, it was sort of difficult to find the house. We went up to the studio and his gentle, kind manner calmed me down enough to play an audition and be accepted into his studio.
My lessons over the next three years were wonderful. Part technique, part philosophy, Tony would sometimes ramble on about things. Those of you who have read his articles in clarinet magazine the last few years would understand. That was like lessons, almost stream of consciousness, tangential thinking, leading from one area to another, interrelating the many factors that go into being a performer. I always felt that he was a very realistic musician – in orchestral studies particularly, there wasn’t the right” way to play it; he would say of piece like Tchaikovsky 6th, “this is the way it goes when Ormandy conducts, like this when Abbado, this was for Muti.” It’s a very realistic way to approach music, and mentally healthy. You’re not constantly angry that some conductor is doing it “wrong”, you’re trying to perform a slightly different approach. And yet when he played he was never wishy-washy.
Tony was extremely generous with his time, whether it was running over in lessons, coming down to school to hear recitals, or having me visit the family up at Lake George during the summer. Mark and I were in school together, played in a quintet, and hung around, so it was not uncommon for the Gigliotti’s to include me for dinner after a lesson. Since I have no money while in school they can’t have known how appreciated that was.
As a musician Tony was interesting to listen to, creative, and exciting. As a clarinetist he could play anything, performed with confidence and consistency and was a natural leader. And as a human being Tony was a warm, wonderful, gregarious person who gave us, individually and collectively, so much. He will be greatly missed on all these levels.
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