NYFC president 1944-1947
John Wummer (1899-1977) taught himself the flute from a Fred Lax tutor, and by the age of 15 was playing in a theater pit orchestra in Trenton, New Jersey. He studied with Julius Spindler in New York, then André Maquarre in Philadelphia, and got his first symphony experience playing with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Bethlehem Bach Festival. In New York he studied with Georges Barrère and played in the Academy, Hippodrome, Colonial, and Capitol theaters, and by 1922 he was a soloist with Arthur Pryor's band, performing at Asbury Park, New Jersey, in the summers. He also played in the Sousa Band. In 1923-24 he was associate first flute of the Detroit Symphony under Gabrilowitsch, and after a year's leave served 12 seasons as principal flute, the position he held until he was recruited for the NBC Symphony being organized for Toscanini in 1937. In 1942 Wummer became first flute of the New York Philharmonic, where he remained until his retirement in 1965.
Wummer was a regular member of the Casals festivals in Perpignan, Prades, and Puerto Rico. He recorded many of the Bach flute works with Casals, as well as the Mozart G major concerto. Wummer also appeared as soloist with various New York organizations, such as the Adolf Busch Chamber Players, New Friends of Music, Bach Circle of New York, and Saidenberg Little Symphony. He often performed with his third wife (and former student) Mildred Hunt Wummer, whom he married in 1942. Wummer was a member of two regular ensembles: the Baroque Trio (with cellist Daniel Saidenberg and harpsichordist Fernando Valenti), which recorded sonatas of Bach, Quantz, Frederick the Great, and Handel, and the Musical Arts Trio (with violinist David Sackson and pianist Joseph Wolman). Wummer taught at the Manhattan School of Music and Mannes College of Music.