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Group work: Writing for oboe – Introductory workshop - The Open College of the Arts
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Group work: Writing for oboe – Introductory workshop

28 March 2020, 2pm – 4pm

This is a session for students to learn about the oboe: its history, its strengths and weaknesses, and the possibilities it provides to composers. I’ll present over Zoom, with students able to interact through text or video chat. The session will have a practical focus and is primarily aimed at helping students develop their ability to work with the instrument in a composition or orchestration context, however, anyone who wants to learn more about woodwind instruments in any capacity is very welcome to join us.

The oboe is a double-reed woodwind instrument and is best known as a member of the orchestra, often given beautiful solos, such as the famous main theme in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The oboe also has a rich repertoire of solo and chamber music, however, which stretches from Baroque trio sonatas to modernist epics and Jazz improvisation.

As an oboist and a composer I’ll introduce the instrument and demonstrate its capabilities. I’ll play extracts from the different styles and periods which make up the oboe repertoire, and explore both conventional and extended playing techniques in detail. I’ll also present the cor anglais, the oboe’s lower-pitched cousin, and take a look at some of the other instruments in the oboe family.

There will be an opportunity for students to submit short fragments of music for workshop on the day. I’ll play through these, giving you the chance to hear your work in practice, and give feedback on how idiomatic and practical the writing is. These fragments can be newly composed, or extracts from pieces you have already written (though unfortunately these can’t be works you plan to submit for assessment).

If you’d like to attend please register your interest by emailing me at desmondclarke@oca.ac.uk , including whether or not you would like to submit a fragment or extract to be workshopped. The event will be recorded, so anyone who can’t make it on the day will be able to access it afterwards. Likewise, if you can’t make the date but would still like to submit a work, please still do so.


Image credit : Jan Bednář

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Posted by author: Desmond Clarke

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