Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Columnist TSGT(Ret)USAF
Joined
·
1,395 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I know that he died, but when and how.
What ever happened to his line of mouthpieces?
When he left Morgan who made them... Babbitt?
If you do a Google search for David, all that comes up is the trumpet player David Bilger, not the sax guy.
There is no Wikipedia entry for him, it's like he faded into a vacuum.....
He is not even in this forum In Memory of.....
Where did he go to school, who did he study with...?
What town is he from....?
What are the facing's to his gold line alto with the star?
Help me
Please.
thanks
King koeller
 

·
Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
Joined
·
3,232 Posts
I know a short time after his death I ran into his son who was continuing the business - after that I do not know.

Charlie
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
5,076 Posts
I haven't read it, but there's an interview with Bilger in a back issue of Saxophone Journal. You might glean some information there.

VOLUME 14 Number 5-Mar/Apr 1990 $8.95
Jean-Marie Londeix Artist in Residence
The F Alto Saxophone Part 2-Paul Cohen
An Interview with David Bilger-Jerry Rife
Collecting Vintage Jazz Bass Saxophone Recordings-Marie Erickson
Learn Your Scales-Steve Wilkerson
An Interview with Gerald Albright-Jesse Nash
How to Prejudge the Capabilities of a Saxophone Mouthpiece Part 3-Ralph Morgan
Saxophone & Clarinet Speaker Keys-Chris Vadala
Stopping Leaks in the Low C,B and Bb keys-Emilio Lyons
Developing the Saxophone Tone Part 3-Steven Mauk
A JAZZ CONCERTO for Alto Saxophone & Orchestra Part 2-Andrew White
Mastering the Upper Register Part 2-Tom Smialek
Reviews of EXTENDED TECHNIQUE FOR SAXOPHONE by J.Michael Leonard
and ALTO MADNESS by Richie Cole-David Demsey
Jazz Record Reviews by Mel Martin, David Liebman, and Tim Price
Classical Record Reviews by Joseph Viola and Paul Wagner
 

·
Discombobulated SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 201
Joined
·
9,886 Posts
king koeller said:
I know that he died, but when and how.
What ever happened to his line of mouthpieces?
When he left Morgan who made them... Babbitt?
If you do a Google search for David, all that comes up is the trumpet player David Bilger, not the sax guy.
There is no Wikipedia entry for him, it's like he faded into a vacume.....
He is not even in this forum In Memory of.....
Where did he go to school, who did he study with...?
What town is he from....?
What are the facing's to his gold line alto with the star?
Help me
Please.
thanks
King koeller
This web posting indicates that he died at the beginning of 1996, though it's contradictory because the letter underneath requesting assistance for him is dated later in 1996. (Note: the SSDI lists DAVID V BILGER born 16 Apr 1945 died 05 Jan 1997. I believe this must refer to the saxophonist.) He had leukemia and menengitis. I believe he is still survived by his son Dan and widow Dorinne. Dorinne accompanied him on piano in recitals and on recordings.

Dave spent much of his professional life in the Reading, Pennsylvania area, I believe mainly teaching privately and performing. He was on the artist faculty at Lebanon Valley College for at least some of that time. I'm not sure if he's originally from that area. I believe he studied with Rascher and Sinta. He founded and directed the Saxophone Sinfonia.

I seem to recall a recent announcement on the NASA listserv that the Bilger mouthpieces recently went back into production.

Clifford Leaman and Gayle Fredenburgh among others studied with Bilger.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Columnist TSGT(Ret)USAF
Joined
·
1,395 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the great information!
 

·
Discombobulated SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 201
Joined
·
9,886 Posts
A few more facts from some Bilger LPs floating around the house here. Dave and Dorinne both graduated with music degrees from Ithaca College. Dave's saxophone teachers were Donald Sinta, Sigurd Rascher, Joseph Allard, and James Shaner. He studied conducting with Frederick Fennell, Donald Mattran, and Don Wells.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
4,596 Posts
Interesting! My band director in high school also studied conducting with Frederick Fennell at Ithaca during his master's, probably at around the same time that Bilger was attending.

Also slightly off topic: it's worth looking into the work of David Bilger the trumpet player, also. He recently gave a masterclass at my school and as students we can often see him performing down the street with the orchestra for a mere 5 dollars. Incredible all around trumpet player, a very good jazz and session player too, and a great person. I'm sure that the saxophonist possessed many of the same qualities.
 

·
Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2013-2016
Joined
·
7,892 Posts
I always thought that it was interesting that he studied with Rascher AND Sinta. That's one of the reasons that I always found his playing to be interesting - he really didn't sound like anyone else.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
4,147 Posts
J.Max said:
I always thought that it was interesting that he studied with Rascher AND Sinta. That's one of the reasons that I always found his playing to be interesting - he really didn't sound like anyone else.
What would he have sounded like if you had thrown Mule into the mix?:shock:

I guess it might have been -1+0+1 = 0 if you get what I am saying...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Bilger Mouthpieces and Products

Hello All,

I am excited to see all of the interest in Bilger Mouthpieces and this post is to give reassurance that Bilger Mouthpieces and Bilger Products are still in production and are available. Just a little FYI...I am a former student of David Bilger and a good family friend of Dorinne who is now the Director of Operations at Bilger Mouthpieces. All lines of mouthpieces are available and we are starting to mount a big comeback. If you have any questions or interests in Bilger Mouthpieces, please feel free to contact us. The new company email is [email protected], and we will have a website up and running just as soon as possible. I will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have about our line of mouthpieces.

Thanks again!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
I have been out of the sax picture a while and didn't even know David Bilger had passed way back in 1997. It was sad news for me. He was an awesome teacher and performer. He recorded two albums with his wife as the Bilger Duo and played a well reviewed Carnegie Hall concert. He taught in a studio in his home outside Reading, PA and also taught at Lebanon Valley College. He was a gracious man also, in charging me far less than his usual fee because I drove a distance for lessons. The best part of a Bilger lesson was the fact he coached a total performance of a piece. His wife, Dorinne, would sit in during lessons and of course she knew the repertoire. I am sure he embodied the teaching of both Rascher and Sinta in his teaching and performance. He played with a very full-bodied sound (much richer than Rascher and darker than Sinta) and had terrific dynamic control. He gave me original phrasing and cues for the Ibert Concertino and the Glazunov Concerto. I assumed he was taught this by Rascher. I felt his mouthpiece was less of a success. Every player has preferences and having tried his without much success, I went back to my original Ron Caravan mouthpiece which I still play today.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Columnist and Saxophonistic Art
Joined
·
6,260 Posts
I knew Dave, and sad to say he's been gone for quite a while. Good man.

We are basically from the same area...and he refered students to me for the jazz side of things. Dave was a unique soul and a timeless guy. When he got ill, it was pretty horrid. I'll stick to the bright side of things as that is something that was very very sad. I'll say this- he fought hard.

SOMEWHERE....in some older Sax Journals there is an article I did on him & his mouthpieces. I can't really remember what issue as I wrote for that " mag" 20 years. I bet Ken Dorn knows, I think.
In any case, it was over 12 years ago, and I remember really enjoying his pieces. He was really proud of them. And rightly so! Dave drove a lot to the Babbitt factory from Reading Pa, to get the specs just right. But the article came out- and he was really into it. He was a good soul.

On the sax side, he had a straight alto that was amazing. On one of the vinal records he recorded it on a legit piece!! It was an original Buescher.
I remember how great it sounded and the concept- very creative. At the same time, we were talking about education and the ups-downs of it. In a "fair world" I would of liked to see Dave tour his duo -and get the props he really deserved.
I respected his seriousness, his dedication to _HIS VISION_as an artist and his ideas on education. But really he should of toured the world doing the music. He deserved to do it. Like I said...in a fair world. He was very together.

I'm glad I knew him, as I did. We were pretty different as players, and as people. But we had a sympatico- THE SAXOPHONE.< and a committment to the art > And boy could he play it. WOW.
But what I enjoyed about Dave was the individuality he had as a person via the music. He wore bow ties, really cool dresser. In his way- but once you met him, you'd never forget him.Class!:)

Once he dropped by this trio gig I had, a room that was kinda quiet, and no drums. Still playing jazz but it had to be chill. So- I was really playing my ivey-divey repitore < I used that term before Don Byron made the CD btw:) but let Don know. LOL- He's a Ernie Kovacs fan- but more of that later in Byron-ville )
So Dave B ' comes by and is really talking to me about Lester Young. He spotted the rub of where I was coming from, and hung 2 sets. He dug Prez, of course.

Years later when he was sick, I thought he was getting better and one day he called me from the Philly hospital he was in- and was very upbeat. I thought- hey he's on the mend. He started to say he had one of my books with Prez solos etc, and he was going to start practicing tenor and try these as he originally loved Prez. So I grabbed my horn- and played the " Pound Cake" solo for him over the phone. He always enjoyed that one. When I tried his pieces I'd play that solo for him- he and I were lovin' that Lester solo. In any case- I got off the phone- and thought he was on the upswing. 3 days later, I opened the local paper and saw his obit!:(
I can still hear that phone call when I think about it. I know why now.

In the city we lived in ( Reading ) Dave lived in the section that the great author John Updike came from. Shillington. We used to speak of that factor too. Wallace Stevens the poet-author was from here, also kinda that same area of Reading. " Run Rabbit Run" the Updike movie was filmed here BTW. I grew up in the city,and took lessons with a guy that taught Gerry Mulligan
< Sam Corenti > as well as a great saxophone player, who years later won the lotto when he was teaching school, Joe Miller. Joe and Sam were into Bird, and big bands and Mulligan & Chet and provided a great foundation for me. I think Dave was a little older than I, and studied with Saxie Schollenberger as a youth. Dave's wife is really an amazing pianist too, she has the romance in the music, I always looked forward to hearing her.

In any case, I think of Dave often and was thrilled to see his name here.
Thank you. I'm going to find that LP and listen to him on that stritch.:):line4:

In closing I'll include a John Updike quote as a tribute to Dave & as a nod to that section of town that produced these cool guys. < Shillington>

The inner spaces that a good story lets us enter are the old apartments of religion.

John Updike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Tim, while speaking of a class act, "you" are definitely on my list. Your posts on this forum are always insightful, informative, and unselfish, especially those profiles and tributes to our brother musicians/saxophonists.

I met David Bilger on three occasions when he was in town for a trade show. He was the first predominantly classical saxophonist I ever met that was very open to other styles of saxophone playing. We had some great dialogue and I had the wonderful experience of hearing play right in my face. I bought some of his recordings and several of his mouthpieces for my sons who were studying classical repertoire at the time. He was very kind, helpful, and generous with his time (a real teacher). After the first time I met him, a year later I saw him again and he remembered me. I always made a point of going by his booth so that I could hear that wonderful sound. His mouthpiece business seemed to be growing and he was expanding his line of mouthpieces, when the next thing I know he was gone. I only had a small snapshot of him, but my sons and me remember him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
It's a shame I hadn't found this thread a bit ago. I actually took piano lessons from his wife Dorinne until about a year ago. As far as I know, he passed away from acute leukemia and meningitis. Unfortunately I never was able to actually meet David, but Dorinne did occasionally give out their tapes and CD's for the holidays, and I must say their music was beautiful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
David was an amazing sax player. He was also an amazing teacher who helped my playing greatly. Dorinne was wonderful as well. They were both extremely sweet people.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Hey All,

I am glad to see all of the support for Bilger Mouthpieces and good things being said about David Bilger. As a former student of Dave's it is really nice to see that he is still held in such high regard. For those of you who are interested here is the contact information for Bilger Mouthpieces.

Bilger Products
11013 Fuqua, PMB #240
Houston, Texas 77089
Phone: (713) 725-4824
email: [email protected]

All of the mouthpieces are the same name and models; none of the specs. on any of the mouthpieces have changed either. Please shoot me a line if you have any questions or inquiries.

Thanks,

Matthew McCoy - Director of Operations
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top