Chair, Brass and Percussion; Trumpet (BSO principal)

Roger Voisin (1918–2008) taught at New England Conservatory for nearly 30 years, and for 21 of those years served as chair of brass and percussion. Voisin, who came to the U.S. from France with his family at age 11, began his studies with his father, BSO trumpet player René Louis Voisin. Other teachers were BSO trumpeters Georges Mager and Marcel LaFosse. Roger himself joined the BSO in 1935, at the age of 17, and was the youngest player to be admitted to the orchestra. He took a hiatus to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Returning to the BSO after the war, Voisin became principal trumpet in 1952, bringing his "French" sound, characterised by a clear, well-focused tone and elegant phrasing, to the forefront.

After his retirement from the BSO in 1973, and from NEC shortly thereafter, he remained an active voice at the BSO and on the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center. Voisin's solo albums included first recordings of various Baroque and Classical works for trumpet, and influenced the revival of interest in the brass repertoire. In 1963 Voisin began editing trumpet music for the International Music Company; at the time of his death in February 2008, 10 volumes edited by him were in print in the International catalogue, including four volumes of orchestral excerpts.

Voisin's students at NEC included his own son Peter '72 and former BSO trumpeter Timothy Morrison '78. Voisin was married to NEC alumna, pianist Martha Hayes Voisin '49 M.M. NEC bestowed an honorary Doctor of Music degree on Roger Voisin in 1991, at which time Dean Chester Williams said, "His students always received more than the weekly hour lesson, for they often spent all day Saturday at the Voisin home in Jamaica Plain, where they joined Roger in duets, trios, and quartets. Martha Voisin could be counted on to supply food. Sometimes his students would mow the lawn and help with other household chores."

2009-11-11


WHY DO I LIKE THESE THINGS? ARE MY EARS ON WRONG? CHARLES IVES