Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Artist Spotlight - Oboist Anthony Robson

Recognised as an international leader in the field of historical oboe performance Anthony Robson is a long-standing member of Yorkshire Baroque Soloists.  As an orchestral musician, chamber musician and soloist he has appeared with leading period orchestras including the English Baroque Soloists, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Collegium Musicum 90. His discography of solo performance includes complete recordings of oboe concerti of JS Bach and Albinoni which have received considerable critical acclaim. 

We began naturally with JS Bach and asking Tony for his take on his work...

It’s the sheer genius of it all, in the case of the choral works it’s the 
complete understanding of the text and how he picks the 
instrumentation and thematic subject to suit. I also love his idiomatic 
instrumental writing, he obviously had some sensational players at his 

What do you most enjoy about performing in York?

Who wouldn’t enjoy performing in York? I’m a Yorkshireman born and 
bred, it’s always nice to come home, and St Michael le Belfrey [where Yorkshire Baroque Soloists often perform] is the ideal venue for baroque music.  

What is the hardest thing about performing?

I find that the most difficult thing is being too hard on oneself, when you 
feel that you might not have delivered your best (it sometimes happens 
we’re only human !) and you feel you have let your fellow musicians and 
the composer down. The tiniest mishaps like a missed note can be so 
devastating but one has to think of the bigger picture or it would become 
impossible to survive. Having high standards can be so detrimental to 
expression, you have to find a way to get through that barrier so that you 
can really fly and express what you feel in your heart, what the 
composer is trying to convey, and how you can get the audience in the 
palm of your hand and take them on that journey. 

Tony coaching York's Minster Minstrels at the NCEM as part of the 

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Anthem project

Is there any piece of music or repertoire that haven’t had the opportunity to perform yet but would like to?

I always regret the fact that I never got to play the Swan Lake ballet of 
Tchaikovsky, and it’s certainly too late now ! It was hearing the exquisite 
solo at the start of the second act that led me to take up the oboe at the 
age of 11. I remember telling my daughter my regret and her reply was 
‘Oh Dad, that solo was made for you !’ 

When you’re not practising or performing, how else do you like to spend your time?

I like to come up to Yorkshire whenever I can and spend time with my 
partner who lives near Haworth, luckily I get to do that a lot ! We enjoy 
pootling about in Yorkshire and the Lake District and drink a lot of beer ! 

If you hadn’t become a musician, what other job would you have liked to do?

None, I simply can’t imagine ever having been anything but ! 

How do you mostly listen to music?

Well to be honest, I don’t much, I might occasionally think, ‘I haven’t 
heard Mahler 4 in a while’ and pop on a CD but generally I don’t ‘take 
my work home’ because it’s so inferior an experience than actually 
performing music. 

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

I’d love to sit at table with Bach and Handel and find out if they got along 
at all !
Bach and Handel: Good dinner guests?

We look forward to hearing Anthony playing oboe for the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists in JS Bach: Magnificat & Cantata BWV 140 Wachet Auf (Sleepers, wake) and CPE Bach: Magnificat with Yorkshire Bach Choir and conducted by Peter Seymour. 

Vocal soloists include Bethany Seymour (Soprano), Wendy Goodson (Soprano), Rachel Lancaster (Alto), Solomon Hayes (Alto), Jason Darnell (Tenor) & Gareth Brynmor John (Baritone).

The concert takes place on Saturday 10 December 7.30pm at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York.

Tickets are available in advance via bit.ly/YBachXmas 

The concert is part of the York Early Christmas Festival 2016

1 comment:

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