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The Agony and Ecstasy of an Oboe Reed Maker

Of all the wind instrument players in an orchestra, oboists are among the few who have to spend more time making their reeds than playing their music. As the comic monologist Josh Kornbluth has painfully learned, just one of the myriad micro-adjustments that reed makers create will make a world of difference in their music.

Photography by SCOTT CHERNIS

Watch “Josh Kornbluth: On the Short, Intense Life of the Oboe Reed”

Josh Kornbluth, perhaps best known as a comic monologist, is also an accomplished oboist. Here, Josh plays his oboe and talks about the challenges of reed-making for his instrument.

Listen to “The Agony and Ecstasy of an Oboe Reed Maker”

Oboists can spend more time making reeds for their instrument than playing their music. One such musician, the comic monologist Josh Kornbluth, has a lot to say about reed making’s painfully exacting process.

Listen to “The Conductionist”

The late Butch Morris, a figure from the outer edges of jazz, reimagined conducting as a form of composition, coining his own word for the combination of the two.

Ann Morhauser, The Glass Builder

Many artisans struggle to pay the bills, hoping for a little good press along the way. Ann Morhauser started with all of those odds, and then some, in a tiny studio near Santa Cruz, CA. Today, her unique glassware is featured in stores across the country—and in The Smithsonian. How did she get here?

Photography by SHMUEL THALER

Redesigning an Old Recipe: The School Lunch

Stereotypical school lunch fare (think fish sticks and frozen “pizza”) has been the butt of jokes for decades. It’s an industry ripe for change, and Chef Joan Gallagher is at the vanguard — blending culinary expertise with fresh, healthy, handmade food, and nutritional education — to transform the way students eat. photo by Jeff Greenwald…

Listen to “What? A Bamboo Bicycle?”

A bicycle made of bamboo might look a little silly—brown and fat, with swollen joints. But Craig Calfee, a respected pioneer of carbon fiber bicycle frames, swears by their strength, flexibility, and ecological value.

What? A Bamboo Bicycle?

OK, so some of them may look silly—brown and fat, with oversized joints. But Craig Calfee, a respected (and highly successful) carbon frame builder, swears by the strength, flexibility, and ecological value of the bamboo bicycle.

Written and photographed by JEFF GREENWALD

San Francisco’s “Last Black Calligrapher” Invites You to Go Deeper

Hunter Saxony III imbues his lettering work with layers of meaning, while also intentionally leaving it open to interpretation. In the process, he’s taking an age-old, traditional art form in a new direction. One summer morning in 2018, the artist currently known as Hunter Saxony III sat down in his San Francisco studio with eight…