Yes, it's true that the Rigoutat Evolution model oboe has turned lots of heads within the one year that it has been available in North America. This instrument, the latest of a series of new instruments by Rigoutat, is in-credible. In an effort to go the extra mile quite literally,I am personally selecting each Rigoutat oboe at the factory in Paris.

This oboe has the stability of an instrument like a Laubin, for example, coupled with the projection and the brilliance of a Loree. Players say it's the perfect combination. After servicing, tuning and selling more than 2,000 oboes since we started our business, we wouldn't dream of going out on a limb unless we were sure. But don't take our word for it! We asked the new Rigoutat owners what they think, and why they bought these instruments. Here are their responses, although because of the prestigious positions of some of these players, and their former alliances to other manufacturers, we would prefer not to print their names.

Here, however, are just a few of their professional affiliations: American Ballet Theater/New York, American Composers Orchestra, American Symphony/New York, Broadway hit, "She Loves Me", Caramoor Festival Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Frank Sinatra Band, Hartford Symphony, Lake George Opera, Marlboro Music Festival, Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra (Colorado Philharmonic), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Paul Taylor Dance Company Orchestra/New York, Philharmonia Virtuosi of New York, Philharmonie des Vents de Quebec, Speculum Musicae (New York), Santa Fe Opera, St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, Toronto Chamber Winds, Toronto Symphony, Trinity Chamber Orchestra/Cleveland, Virginia Symphony. Faculty affiliations: State University of New York at StonyBrook, Columbia University, University of Michigan, Music Academy of the West, James Madison University and others.

Now, the big question: why are they playing the Rigoutat Evolution?

"The Rigoutat has not just surpassed other oboes, it has replaced them! A fantastic horn. I couldn't believe the beauty of the instrument - the sound and evenness are really sensational. "

"I switched to Rigoutat because it is the best oboe I've ever played. It sounds trite, but this instrument makes playing the oboe easy. I used to be so worried about all the oboe things, but not now, because the Rigoutat is so much more than that. The solo possibilities are endless. I can do anything I want to do. The symphony section loves it, and everyone who has tried it is completely blown away. I was playing first oboe in the Verdi Requiem, and I had to lend my oboe to the second oboe player because he simply couldn't play the low notes on his Lorée. The conductor actually stopped the orchestra to say how great the second oboe playing was and this was the Verdi Requiem with 1,000 people on stage! I feel only joy for this oboe. It's a dream to play on! It brings all the joy back into playing that I had really started to lose. When I got this instrument, I played three notes on it and knew this was it. Before I bought this instrument, my career was stagnating. Now, so much is happening. This oboe can make me a star, and it is happening."

"The first word that comes to my mind with these Rigoutats is that they are fun to play. There's enough grief in this world for oboe players, so it's really great to enjoy an instrument like this."

From a player who bought a Rigoutat and a Lorée at the same time:

"I'm going to take 'em both. I love 'em both. It's my Rigoutat. The Lorée is like straight ahead first class and the business, but with the Rigoutat, you take it out of the case, and it's a little pal. It's very friendly. I love it. "

"I switched to a Rigoutat because it simply played rings around not only my current oboe, but all the oboes I tried. "

"One of the sweetest, most flexible instruments I've ever played. I love it because it goes from low Bb all the way up with equal ease. I can get a sweetness out of it I just couldn't get out of anything else. It has a big dynamic range too, so I don't mean a "small" sweetness. It gives me the kind of flexibility you dream of for an oboe It's a flexibility I've never really associated with the oboe! I really never thought I would love an instrument as much as I love this oboe!"

"It's the perfect combination of a Lorée and a Marigaux, but with more artistic potential and a wider range of tone color. The bottom line is that it is fun to play!"

"The scale is far superior to anything I've ever played. I'm no longer embarrassed by my low C#s! Reeds are much easier, too. I can now do things I was trying to do in the past. Life is a lot easier!"

"It has an evenness that I haven't found in other instruments, not to mention a beautiful scale and a full, dark tone. It is also the easiest oboe I have ever played; it has surpassed all my expectations!"

"I have been playing oboe professionally for over twenty years. I have played on Laubins, many Lorées, and Marigaux for the past eight years, but none of them can compare to Rigoutat. I just fell in love! Over the past couple of years, our orchestra has been developing a substantial outdoor season. Being in Canada, the weather is very unpredictable. It is for that reason that I was looking for an instrument that could handle our weather, yet still sound very good. That's when I heard from several colleagues about the Rigoutat Evolution with the interchangeable composite top joint. For me, whether I use the composite top or the wooden top, this instrument has a beautiful sound and great intonation (fabulous low C#). It's the greatest thing since sliced bread!"

"The new Evolution I just purchased is simply fantastic! I just wanted to tell you how thrilled I am! "

"It is by far the best instrument I have ever played. Not only do I love it, but so do all my colleagues in the orchestra."

One of the best parts of Rigoutat oboes for North America is the close relationship we have established with this company as their American agent. With the assistance of the Rigoutat factory, we are offering a level of customer service which, to the best of our knowledge, has never been offered in North America by a French manufacturer. We have parts, supplies, reamers, copies of Rigoutat patents, parts for their 21st century oboe amplification system (which is patented only for installation on a Rigoutat oboe), plus new models in every price range.

Let's say, for arguments sake, that you have a new oboe and it cracks to smithereens. With other companies, you have to ship the oboe to France, wait for a new top joint (up to three months, depending on the company), and hope for the best. With the Rigoutat Evolution model, for example, you can have a new top joint from us by the next morning. New professional model oboes are not inexpensive, and we feel that players are entitled to great service. The fact that Rigoutat is setting the standard gives one pause for thought.

Parenthetically, when the Orchestre de Paris was in New York recently, and I heard them play the Symphonie Fantastique. The English horn player, Alain Denis, has the reputation of being the greatest English horn player in France, and he was unbelievable. Sitting with other oboe players, we just could not believe the beauty and volume of that Rigoutat sound. The flexibility was simply out of this world, and the color of the sound, in combination with the dynamic flexibility was astonishing. Incidentally, every used Loree English horn we have sold thus far in 1996 came in as a result of the owner switching to a new Rigoutat.