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American oboist Ray Still was born in Elwood, Indiana, on 12 March 1920, moving to Los Angeles whilst growing up. He studied the clarinet from the age of fourteen, but switched to the oboe two years later after hearing the playing of Belgian oboist Henri de Busscher. He studied initially with Philip Memoli, then, after working in the US army, he enrolled at Juilliard in 1946, studying oboe with Bruno Labate, then Robert Bloom.
Still's professional career began with a second oboe job with Kansas City Philharmonic. Then he became principal oboe of the Buffalo Philharmonic, then the Baltimore Symphony. He joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as assistant first oboe, but soon became principal, and played there for about forty years. He also performed and recorded chamber music at various music festivals internationally, and also had oboe teaching positions in Baltimore, Chicago and Evanstan, Illinois.
He died in Woodstock, Vermont, on his 94th birthday, 12 March 2014.