Celebrating Founding PNB Orchestra Member Tad Margelli

Tad Margelli is an English Horn player, Oboist, and founding member of PNB’s Orchestra. At the end of the 2023/24 season, Tad will retire, marking an end to his remarkable tenure here at PNB. Join us in celebrating his career by learning more about him and his time at PNB on the blog!

How did you begin playing the English horn and the oboe?

Mitch Miller. He hosted a famous sing-along television show. As Mitchell Miller, he was also a celebrated American oboist. My maternal grandmother heard him play English horn, and she decided I was going to play that instrument. Most English horn players study oboe first—which I did—and usually play both instruments throughout their careers. Fingering systems are similar. Over the years, I also studied piano, harpsichord, baroque oboe, and voice. Even played organ, krummhorn, and celesta.

Tad Margelli, wearing a full tuxedo, stands smiling next to several wind instruments

How did you first start playing with the PNB Orchestra?

I was engaged as a Founding Member of the PNB Orchestra in 1989.

What’s a memorable piece of advice you’ve received during your musical career?

Be kind. Also, don’t let the gas tank get below half.

What is one of your favorite PNB memories?

Difficult question—too many great memories. My New York city tours (2013, 2016) were fun. I always enjoyed playing English horn in the Prokofiev Roméo et Juliette. Loved the Balcony Scene, and the English horn solo that closes the ballet. Also Paquita, Bournonville Variations, Stars and Stripes, Who Cares?, Western Symphony, Souvenirs, Agon, Jewels, Carousel (A Dance), and, of course, Coppélia.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I owe [founding PNB artistic directors] Kent and Francia, as well as [founding PNB music director and conductor] Stewart Kershaw so much for their vision in creating this orchestra. I’m grateful for my PNB Orchestra family: all of my past and present orchestra colleagues, conductors, pianists, and singers, as well as the staff involved with the stage, human resources, properties, sound, and security—wish I’d known the dancers better. It’s been a fantastic trip.

Bio: Tad Margelli is a Founding Member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra and the Auburn Symphony Orchestra. Following undergraduate studies at Pacific Lutheran University and at the Curtis Institute of Music, he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Performance from the University of Washington. He was Principal Oboist with the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, the Yakima Symphony, and the Seattle Concert Band, and he played English horn with the Tacoma Symphony. He served as Principal Oboist for the 1979 Pacific Northwest Wagner Festival and for the Bolshoi Ballet’s Seattle performances of Romeo and Juliet in 2000.

Photos courtesy of Tad Margelli.