Phil Rovner


Oral History Information

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Rovner Products

Phil Rovner was having some trouble with his intonation as a saxophone player, and decided to design a new approach to attaching the reed to his mouthpiece. As an engineer, he had the knowledge to create this new ligature, which has since been utilized by musicians around the world. Phil grew up in Baltimore and played in local clubs, which were plentiful in the early 1950s. He took lessons from Joe Allard, the noted professor at Juilliard. In fact, Phil tells an interesting story about taking the milk train home from his lessons, which would take up to six hours because the train made so many stops. He later worked as an engineer in the aerospace field testing the performance of aircraft and measuring vibrations. He also worked with radar and was fascinated to learn how mathematically similar radar is to acoustics. While working on improving the performance of the ligature in the early 1970s, Phil discovered that a fabric type material worked differently than other traditional materials and soon he began manufacturing his product. The ligature helped launch Rovner Products, which now also provides mouthpieces and other musical accessories. In 2014 he retired and sold the company to his employees, George and Lynn Reeder. However, Phil kept playing and continued to help with product development into his 90s.