A TRIBUTE TO TWO FINE DOUBLE REED ARTISTS


Don Christlieb
Los Angeles, California


RAY NOWLIN born November 11, 1910; died August 25, 1978

WILLIAM KOSINSKI born September 27, 1918; died September 18, 1978

With the death of Ray Nowlin, I would like to pay respects to a friend and a friendship 48 years standing. Ray was a devout Christian and a devoted husband and father. He was an outstanding musician and bassoonist and an invaluable colleague to anyone having the good fortune to play next to him. Ray was born in Michigan but came to Los Angeles at a very early age.

Achilles Heynen was his only schooling, but Heynen was an institution--graduated from the Conservatory of Brussels with all the honors that (oboist) Henri De Busscher had and could solfege as well as P. Boulez-- spoke 6 languages. Ray and I had our first lessons together and later joined the W.P.A. Orchestra under Modeste Altschuler.

After a year we were eligible for studio work, so I went to MGM and Ray went to Warner Brothers. He remained there for 18 years as first bassoonist and performed with the legendary Erich Korngold and Max Steiner whose scores provided background music for numerous films in Warner Bros.' glory days: of Bogart, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Claude Rains, Paul Muni, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Ann Sheridan, Jack Carson, John Garfield, etc.

Ray was my constant supporter in machinery investigation and helped me finance many of the experiments. Our first pay checks went for this research. He was thus a co-experimenter with me in developing double reed machinery which introduced automated profilers with diamond cutters, motor-powered gougers and shapers, the use of dial indicators--all with the attending techniques that have made important and lasting contributions to the double reed world .

In the 30's contractors were mostly businessmen, and if you were not able to boast of credits meaning training in Europe, New York or Chicago, the contractors were too insecure to hire you on your local background alone. So in this light, Ray was also a pioneer in opening up the motion picture scoring world for West Coast-trained musicians. Max Steiner, a top film composer ("Gone With the Wind") at Warner Bros. came to the W.P.A. Orchestra as a guest conductor, where he did his 'Bird of Paradise' with Delores Del Rio. He liked the bassoons and asked Lilliane L'hoest, oboist at Warner Brothers, to fill him in about our backgrounds. Lilliane just happened to be a good friend with whom I had played a lot of chamber music, so she lost no time in being laudatory.

The L'hoest story itself is one for Laila Storch and all women wind musicians, because she played at Warners when little more than a teen-ager (during the 30's).

Ray and his wife, Roberta, a fine concertmistress, were mainstays for the Pasadena Civic Orchestra from the days of Reginald Bland and Richard Lert to Daniel Lewis, from the 30's through the 60's.

As if one loss is not enough, l must again join with his many admirers and pay respects to another great musician and English horn player, William Kosinski.

"Kosy", as we came to know him, was a student of Marcel Tabuteau and first became known touring South America with Leopold Stokowski and his American Youth Symphony. He played a summer season with Toscanini and then joined the Pittsburgh Symphony under Fritz Reiner. Five years later he joined the Philadelphia Orchestra and maintained a life long friendship with Leopold Stokowski.

Billy came to Los Angeles in the early 40's and played for Werner Janssen and Harold Byrns. It was with the L.A. Chamber Orchestra that he and Arthur Gleghorn made musical history with the recording of the Honegger Concerto da Camera for Flute and English Horn.

Joining the 20th Century Fox Orchestra in the mid-50's, Kosy was a featured soloist in the motion picture scores of Alfred Newman, Hugo Friedhofer, Franz Waxman, David Raskin and Alex North.

He remained at Fox for 10 years before joining the Los Angeles Philharmonic where he performed for 11 years.


Table of Contents