Amy Roberts, Oboe
When did you start to play the oboe? I was 9 years old but had wanted to play since I was very small. We had a cassette of ‘the music man’ and I liked the sound of the oboe and how it got to tune everybody (power hungry!). My music centre said that I had to wait for my big teeth to come through so that was an extremely exciting development once it happened!
Do you play any other instruments? My Mum was taking me to music classes from the womb and then got me involved in kindermusik, recorder and choir. Aged 4, I was inspired by a lady who played piano at church and she started teaching me. Then once my brother learnt a 2nd instrument I found Mum’s violin under the bed to keep up with the sibling competition….
Where did you study? During secondary school I attended the London Centre for Young Musicians on oboe and violin which was an incredible preparation for music college and exploring & enjoying all kinds of music. I then enrolled on the Joint Course between the RNCM and University of Manchester before moving back to London for a postgraduate at RAM.
When did you first play with Sinfonia Cymru? It was an incredible project in 2016 with Bryn Terfel playing Bach’s Cantata ‘Ich habe genug’ in Llandaff Cathedral. We later performed it with 2 members of the Royal Ballet at Grange Park Opera.
What do you like about working with Sinfonia Cymru? The orchestra is unbelievably friendly and allows for so much creative input from the players. Programming always has an interesting angle and we are encouraged to come up with ideas for projects.
What is your favourite Sinfonia Cymru moment? So many to choose from! Possibly playing Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony with Gabor Takacs-Nagy which was one of the most energetic and exhilarating weeks of work I’ve ever done.
What is your favourite musical moment elsewhere? Again, so many to pick! My earliest orchestral ‘wow’ moment was my 1st day with the London Schools Symphony Orchestra playing Sibelius Symphony no. 7. I’d never played in such a fantastic ensemble until then and couldn’t believe how lucky I was. Also performing Mahler 9 with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchestre has to be up there!
What do you most like about being a professional musician? Incredibly I get to do what I love for a living which is extremely fortunate. There is such variety from week to week, you meet interesting people, and it’s pretty crazy that I’ll never get to the bottom of all the music in the world – there’s so much to explore!
When you’re not playing with Sinfonia Cymru what other orchestras, ensembles or projects are you involved with? I spend a fair amount of time playing with other UK orchestras, am part of a quintet called ‘Moriarty Winds’, and enjoy duo recitals with pianist Gamal Khamis. I also recently released 2 books of oboe warm-ups which was a great way to flex my writing and marketing muscles!
What are your three favourite pieces of music, and why?
Messiaen Quartet for the end of time – it’s unspeakably beautiful especially when listened to in the context of its history, and is inspired by the faith I share with Messiaen.
‘Heather on the Hill’ from the film Brigadoon – I’m a real sucker for the lush ‘Hollywood’ sound. This musical dance sequence got me into old musicals and films which has been a great love of mine.
‘Gloria’ from Bach’s B minor Mass – this is joy on a plate for me!
What’s an interesting fact about yourself? I’m absolutely obsessed with Strictly (not much of a secret) and try to work out the coolest dance moves after the show.
After shelving the idea of ‘mad scientist’ as a career move I thought I could become a professional page turner aged 11. I’d been paid with a £5 book token after a page-turning ‘gig’ and thought hmmm this could turn into something….