Légère Oboe Reed, My Story

Marek Roszkowski

I have been a professional oboe player for over 20 years now. As most oboists do, I have struggled with the reed making process throughout all those years and hated it. Not only making reeds, but the fragility of the cane was a continuous nightmare. Even if I had an almost “perfect reed”, I could never relax because it could get worse through many factors like weather, temperature or humidity change.

Like all oboe players, I have been dreaming of a solution to all those problems for years...

Then I found out about Légère and their clarinet and saxophone reeds. For years, once a week I would check the Légère website and found the information: “We have a very good oboe reed prototype, but it is more difficult than we expected.” For years the same information. Then, a year ago in October they announced the premiere of their oboe reed in Tokyo. One week later, during my tour in Japan I had just one Légère oboe reed in my hand! The next day, I risked my oboe life and I played two Mozart’s operas “Marriage of Figaro” in the most prestigious concert hall in Tokyo's “Orchard Hall”. Two three and a half hour operas in one day! As principal oboe in very humid conditions, I knew I had no chance to do this with my best cane reed, basically because it got swollen so much I could hardly control it. I had no choice but to risk it and use my one Légère oboe reed. I guess it was a Japan premiere of the Légère oboe reed and it saved my life! For the next few months, I was the only oboe player in Poland who used the reed, mainly because the company postponed the sales of the reed for next few months.

From June, when Légère started selling the reeds again, I have been using five Légère oboe reeds and I have not touched the cane ones since! My biggest oboe dream has come true.

From then, I have played many concerts, solo (Listen Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVvDqRKxsDI) and in orchestras as a principal oboist. I just love them! Mind you, I have five but they are not the same. All of them were adjusted to my preferences. I have my way of doing it and I am still experimenting. Straight from the box they may be too hard therefore the intonation of f sharp and g could be too flat. From those five, one is just for my solo concerts or big solos in orchestral pieces (I play solo than I swap to another one in seconds to play tutti), one is great for baroque music, two are light and easy to play anything with easiness you cannot reach on cane reed and I use it in orchestra repertoire (having the first one to play big solos ready) and one which is quite hard, but it has a lovely dark sound to play anything else. They all are ready to play in seconds and the sound is soft, sweet and great from the bottom b flat to a on the top!

I have my ways of adjusting them to my preferences, but the most important thing is keeping them clean! I have my ways of doing that, but if you want your reeds to play nicely you must clean them regularly.

If you do that, you all will enjoy a new lease of life in your oboe world – I have no doubts that this is the greatest breakthrough in my whole artistic life!

Marek Roszkowski

Proficiency Diploma in Performance with distinction Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester

Principal oboist- Krystian Zimerman’s Polish Festival Orchestra

Principal oboist- Warsaw Chamber Opera