First Prize: Clarinet, and Double Bass, Paris Conservatory

This is written for his son, Peter Moleux.

Georges E, Moleux was the Principal double bass of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for many years . In addition to winning First Prize in Double Bass at the Paris Conservatory, he also won first prize in clarinet. I was a member of the New England Conservatory Concert Band when I was a kid in High School. I went to Brookline High School from 1947 until 1951. I had begun the clarinet with Normn Carrel(whose real name was Cohen) who had been the Principal in Houston for several years and came back to Boston to teach at the New England Conservatory. He had the most beautiful sound I have ever heard and he taught me his sound and I think his great love for the instrument.(Norman was also a very gifted cartoonist, having written several excellent books of cartoons, mostly of clarinetists in trouble< I am searching for those books) It was Mr Carrel(as I called him) who suggested that I play in the NEC Concert Band, which met every Saturday morning and was filled with all of the clarinet students of the Conserstory , who were all better than I was, by far. Many were to be big names. in that band, which Mr Moleux organized like the Garde Republican Band in Paris, more like an orchestra, with 40 clarinets, 20 firsts and 20 seconds, as violins are in an orchestra. And we played orchestral repertoire, for the most part. At one of the first rehearsals, we were playing Le Coc D’or Overture by N. Rimsky Korsakov. I saw some smaller notes on the page and played them. Big Mistake, as I told that ths was the Cadenza to be played by only one clarinet. Terribly embarrassing, but you know, I got to play that part many times as principal clarinet in many orchestras.
It was at one of the rehearsals that he told the band about his two first prizes. Then as we looked in wonder, he solfegged (sang the musical syllables) of the Flight of the Bumblebee, at the correct presto tempo. I never did that, nor have I heard anyone else do that, ever.
So, that was what I knew about Mr. Moleux. He was treated as a god by that band of professionels-to-be, and it was a fine and building experience for all who played, included the dumb kid who played along with the first clarinet in the Cadenza.
Looking for the Biographical material on Georges Moleux, it is really almost impossible to find anything of real importance. His is simply name on literally hundreds of recordings , as he recorded with the finest String Quartets of the day when they used Double Bass, the Budapest Quartet is but one, and he was the couble Bass of the very famous recording, conducted by Leonard Bernstein, of the Stravinsky Octet and L’Histoire du Soldat, still a definitive recording. I know that while I was a student at the Conservatory he married a bass student. He was also the teacher of many other students, one of them being Buell Neidlinger, recognized as the finest Jazz bassist, who also played for several seasons with the Boston Symphony.

To get an idea of the virtuosity of Georges Moleux, remember that Serge Koussevitsky, the Conductor of the Boston Symphony was himself a virtuoso Double Bassist, who toured the world prior to becomeing the Director of the Boston Symphony. Certainly as the person who undoubtedly auditioned his replacement, he would have picked a virtuoso. That was Georges Moleux.

Ispentlast evening looking for biographical refrences for Georges E. Moleux, and finally just constructed what you see above. Very little is to be found andI guess it was because he was very busy, he payed beautifully, was a great teacher, with a wonderful sense of humor. Perhaps someone will use this little piece as a reference.

And keep practicing.


One Response to First Prize: Clarinet, and Double Bass, Paris Conservatory

  1. Peter Moleux says:

    Thanks Sherman! My father, who was born in 1900, had three wives over his lifetime. His first wife was a lady in France and I believe that they had one son (but I never confirmed that). I believe that they divorced but I never found any paperwork. He married my mother in 1933, they had only one son (me) born in 1945 but they divorced sometime around 1962-3. we lived in Newton, Massachusetts. I have a son and a daughter. My son actually has the clarinet that my father used in Paris. After his marriage to my mom ended, he married Sandra Lee Robinson, as you mentioned, and they moved to Marshfield, MA. He passed away from cancer in 1966. By the way, his third prize that he received from the Paris Conservatory of Music was for the saxophone. My father helped start and taught double bass at the Tanglewood Music Festival. My father was very close to Serge Koussevitsky and his funeral took place at the same location as did Koussevitsky’s. My mother, Naomi, was very close to Leonard Bernstein’s mother who invited her to attend the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in Washington, public debut on September 8, 1971. There she met Michael Tilston Thomas. My parents were also close to Lou (Gino) Cioffi, Tiny (Leslie) Martin (a jazz bassist) at the BSO, Aaron Copland, and others at the BSO, Boston Conservatory of Music (where he taught) and, of course, the New England Conservatory of Music. There are many names that I remember but it was so long ago that its hard to connect with them. This is my first time dealing with a blog. I hope that this information helps and, at least, gives a better (but not complete) picture of my father’s private life. Thanks for your comments!

    Best regards,


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