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Richard Woodhams became principal oboe of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1977, succeeding John de Lancie, his distinguished teacher at the Curtis Institute. Mr. de Lancie was a pupil of Marcel Tabuteau, one of the most influential instrumentalists of the 20th century, who served as principal oboe of the Orchestra from 1915 until 1954.
Mr. Woodhams’s tenure has included solo appearances with The Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia, as well as in New York, Boston, and other cities throughout the United States and Asia in collaboration with its four previous music directors. His recordings with the Orchestra include Richard Strauss’s Oboe Concerto with Wolfgang Sawallisch. Mr. Woodhams has given first performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra of solo works by J.S. Bach, Bellini, Haydn, Rochberg, Christopher Rouse, Joan Tower, and Vaughan Williams. He has also given premieres of chamber works by William Bolcom, Chuck Holdeman, Thea Musgrave, Bernard Rands, Ned Rorem, Richard Wernick, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.
Mr. Woodhams has played solo works with such notable musicians as violinists Alexander Schneider and Itzhak Perlman, pianists Christoph Eschenbach and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and the Guarneri, Shanghai, and dePasquale string quartets. He has also recorded Joan Tower’s Island Prelude with the Tokyo String Quartet.
Mr. Woodhams has taught at the Curtis Institute since 1985 and has given master classes at many prominent schools worldwide, including London’s Royal College of Music, the Juilliard School, Rice University, and the Shanghai Conservatory. His former students occupy many prominent playing and teaching positions both in the United States and abroad.
Since 2000 Mr. Woodhams has taught and played annually at the Aspen Music Festival, where he performed Christopher Rouse’s Oboe Concerto in 2009 with David Robertson; he has also participated in the Marlboro and La Jolla music festivals, among others. He began his musical studies in his native Palo Alto, California, with Raymond Dusté and started his orchestral career with the Saint Louis Symphony under Walter Susskind at the age of 19.
Photo: Jessica Griffin