… making a piece reach out and touch the audience requires more than just notes – it takes mature musicality, which is just what de Waart believes the two new principal players in the orchestra’s wind section bring to the table.

The two new faces belong to principal oboe Katherine Young Steele and principal flute Sonora Slocum.

Adding a new principal to any section in the orchestra produces both immediate changes in the orchestra’s sound as well as change in that section’s ensemble sensibilities that will develop over time.

Part of de Waart’s job is to build his vision for the orchestra through each player he hires during his tenure. Remembering that de Waart began his professional musical life as an oboist, it seemed only fair to ask if hearing oboe auditions is more difficult for him than hearing auditions on other instruments.

“No. It’s probably harder on the ones auditioning who probably feel I might have a strong feeling about sound or something,” he said.

De Waart heard Young Steele audition for the principal oboe in the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and remembers being impressed then.

“She was one of two or three we considered for that job,” he recalled.


Gee, he conducted San Francisco Opera? That I didn’t know. And when would that audition have been? Or did they call him in for the audition a few years back? (Just wondering out loud here.)

Update: Looking him up online I have read that he did a Ring Cycle here in 1980, but that’s all I’ve found.

17. September 2012 · Comments Off on She Is Our Future, People! · Categories: Read Online

I looked over at my daughter and her hand was over her chest, her mouth was wide open wide and her brown eyes were the size of saucers. As the audience clapped loudly, she said, “Oh my, Mommy! Her voice sounds like a flute. It’s so pretty.”

At intermission, I told her that we could leave—and she looked at me as if I were telling her that we could just skip Christmas.

We returned to our velvet seats. “Oh mommy, they feel so soft,” she said. “Much fancier than going to the movies.”


What a wonderful story! (And shame to those who commented in a horrible way; have you nothing better to do?!)

If we get more excited children, we will have a future. If we dismiss them, frown upon them, or tell them they don’t belong, we might as well kiss it goodbye.

Dan was just saying, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if each musician found a child to bring to the opera”. Or he said something like that, anyway. (I suppose I shouldn’t have put it in quotes. But really, it would be so great!

We have a lovely young girl who comes to Opera San José. She always comes to more than one performance of an opera, in fact. Our principal flutist, who is wonderful with children, has befriended her, so we frequently see her come to the pit. It makes my heart so darn happy!

Osesp Quintet rehearsing for an upcoming concert

17. September 2012 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

I feel like the oboe player judges my terrible playing omg

Well yeah, we can be that way sometimes ….

17. September 2012 · Comments Off on Sheet Music Plus · Categories: Music & Books, sheet music

I have links to Sheet Music Plus on my site, and when someone orders via the link I get a little percentage of the sale. (I’ve noted that on the pages where I have that link when I remember.) It helps with the cost of the blog, and I thank all of you who have ordered via the site. It’s much appreciated! My blog isn’t a profit producing kind of thing (some are, and I’ve been asked by a few businesses to do that with this, but that would take all the fun out of it, I think), but if I can cover some of the costs I’m okay with that.

Yesterday I received notice that they are having a sale, and I’m providing a link right up front here, in case you are interested.

Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

17. September 2012 · Comments Off on Understanding the Oboe · Categories: Videos

Really?! Understanding the oboe? Is that at all possible? Hmmm. It’s definitely impossible to understand the oboist! Although “oboists are very special human beings”! (It’s on the video, so it must be true!)

This video is new to me, yet it was put out by the US Army Field Band on February 8, 2012. Shame on me for not catching it back then. If you have 55:47 minutes to spare you might want to watch it. (It’s obviously an old video, as they say the most expensive oboe is $5,000, and there are statements you and I might disagree with, but it’s still fun to watch!)

Just thoughts as I watch …

Little oops on the spelling of “embouchure” … oh well! (They spell it “embochure”.)

33:45 … VERY important! Band directors take note. 🙂

And what fun to see the strobe tuner. We had one when I was in high school and I’ve tried to explain it to my students. If I can get them to watch this they’ll finally understand what it is.

I’ve communicated with Kerry Willingham in the past, so it’s fun to see him in action here. (The kind of military action I really enjoy!)

Near the end of the video the college scholarship reason for taking oboe is in this. Is THAT why so many students think playing oboe equals a guaranteed scholarship?

… and no, I don’t practice standing up. In case you were wondering.

17. September 2012 · Comments Off on Good News For Violists! · Categories: Havin' Fun

Yes, there is a reason to play viola after all! 😉

Marco Roberto Sousa Jr. loves playing the viola — even more so now that the stringed instrument may have saved his life.

Eighth-grader Marco, 13, was walking home from Hastings Middle School on Thursday when he was hit by an SUV. Luckily for him, the viola took the worst of the blow, its hardshell plastic case serving as a cushion to spare Marco from more serious injury. As it was, he sustained a fractured hip, a concussion and facial cuts and bruises in the accident.