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Boudreaux, Josephine

Josephine Boudreaux served as the Houston Symphony's concertmaster from 1931 until 1937. She was born in Crowley, Louisiana on May 28, 1898, the daughter of Philippe Mozart Boudreaux and Margarite Octavine Clotiaux.

She moved to Houston, Texas with her family at the age of seven. There she studied violin with Professor Emil S. Lindenburg (1850-1919). For the 1916-17 and 1917-18 seasons she was a young member of the Houston Symphony. She played violin with the orchestra at the Isis Theatre, part of the Saenger Amusement Company theater chain. She was part of the musician committee involved in a 1921 attempt to revive the Houston Symphony under conductor William Reher. After four years at the Isis, she raised enough money to study in Europe at the newly formed American Conservatory at Fountainebleau.

At the conservatory’s inaugural ceremony on she heard speeches by Walter Damrosch (1862-1950), president of the American Friends of French Musicians and originator of the Fontainebleau Conservatory, and by composer Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921), who died later that year. Among the other students of that first class was the young composer Aaron Copland (1900-1990).

By February of 1922 she was studying with Maurice Hewitt (1884-1971), a member of the Capet Quartet, as well as Lucien Capet (1873-1928). After her first summer, she won a scholarship for the second summer at the Conservatoire and continued her studies with Capet and Hewitt. She also studied for two years under composer Jenő Hubay (1858-1937), director of the national conservatory at Budapest, and studied ensemble there with Adolph Schiffer, head of the cello department, playing in a string quartet with Schiffer.

Miss Boudreaux arranged to study with Otakar Ševčík (1852-1934) in Pisek, Czechoslovakia in 1924. Her concerts in the succeeding years met with critical success.

In 1926 she returned to Paris, and after six years of studying abroad, she returned to Texas in 1927.

She embarked on a number public concerts beginning in March 1928, the first with pianist Patricio Gutierrez (1896-1985). Boudreaux announced her availability to teach violin and for professional appearances in the fall of 1928. During that period she was forming her chamber ensemble, the Houston String Quartet. By 1929 the group was called the Boudreaux String Quartet, whose other members included Octave Pimbert, second violin, Grace Keller, viola, and Athelstan R. Charlton, cello.

The Houston Symphony Orchestra Association engaged the Boudreaux String Quartet to perform a series of three chamber music concerts to be held in the homes of Association members for the 1929-1930 season. This partnership continued for the 1930-1931 season. These performances engendered a renewed interest in re-forming the Houston Symphony orchestra, which had been disbanded in 1918. With Josephine Boudreaux as concert master, the Houston Symphony was reconstituted, with two concerts in May of 1931.

Miss Boudreaux was enlisted as concertmaster for the upcoming season, and Uriel Nespoli became the new conductor. She was featured soloist several times during her career with the Houston Symphony, and widely praised for her part in the January 1936 performance of Saint-Saens’ Prelude to the Deluge, Dr. Alfred Hertz conducting.

Other conductors she served as concertmaster were Frank St. Leger (1890-1969) and Ernst Hoffmann (1899-1956), with whom she gave her last concert as concertmaster in January, 1937.

After leaving the orchestra she continued to teach generations of violinists. Miss Boudreaux died August 11, 1993 in Houston, Texas.
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