Music 03

Vincent James Ognibene

March 6, 1948 ~ August 11, 2020 (age 72)

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           Warren - Vincent James Ognibene passed away on August 11, 2020, following a seventeen-year battle with cancer. 

Jim was born in Warren, Ohio, on March 6, 1948, the son of Nunzio Ognibene and Theresa (D’Allessandro) Ognibene.

            Jim retired in 2019 after a 33-year tenure as principal bass clarinetist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York City.  With the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, he performed regularly at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and toured Europe and Asia. His playing can be heard on numerous Grammy award winning Metropolitan Opera recordings, including Wagner’s Ring Cycle on the Deutsche Gramophone label.

            Prior to his position with the Met, Jim was a member of the Charlotte, Symphony and served four years in the military as a member of the United States Marine Band and White House Orchestra in Washington DC.  More recently, Jim was a member of the All-Star Orchestra made up of leading players from major American Orchestras featured on Emmy award winning television broadcasts and Khan Academy videos.  His freelance work included performing on television and movie soundtracks. He also performed regularly with the New York Philharmonic.

            Jim humbly credited his musical success to working alongside some of the finest musicians in the world.  He also credits his early musical training; membership in the Warren Junior Military Band and the Harding High School Band and in particular the mentorship of his high school band directors, Robert Fleming and Clinton Foster.

            Jim earned music degrees from Indiana University and Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music. He participated in the Spoleto, Grand Teton, Bard, Napa Valley and numerous other music festivals.  He served many summers as the clarinet coach for the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Verbier, Switzerland and was an instructor at the Juilliard School of Music.

            Survivors include his son, Joseph Nunzio Ognibene of Boulder, Colorado; stepson, Sam Oatts of Denver, Colorado; mother, Theresa Ognibene of Niles, Ohio; sister, Mary Ellen (Mark) Vencel of Cortland, Ohio; brother, Michael (Mary) Ognibene of Warren, Ohio and his former wife and dear friend, Katherine Fink of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Jim also leaves behind loving relatives, friends, and musical colleagues.  Jim was preceded in death by his father, Nunzio.

            In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jim’s name to YSU Foundation/Dana School of Music 655 Wick Ave. Youngstown, Ohio 44502.

            Arrangements have been entrusted to the professional care of the Peter Rossi & Son Memorial Chapel 1884 North Rd. NE, Warren, Ohio 44483.

            Family and friends may visit to view this obituary, sign the guestbook, and send condolences to Jim’s family.


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YSU Foundation/Dana School of Music
655 Wick Ave., Youngstown OH 44502

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