Biography

Marion Whittow, Oboist

I was educated at Downe House School, in Berkshire, UK where I took up the oboe at 13. For four years I was a full-time student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where I gained a scholarship and won chamber music and orchestral prizes, before being awarded my AGSM diploma and going on to study further in Germany. I play on a Marigaux oboe that has served me well throughout my career; my teachers have included James MacGillivray, Edward Selwyn and Roger Winfield.

After leaving Guildhall I joined the orchestra of the Royal Ballet as oboe and cor anglais player for national tours followed by seasons at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London. Unforgettable memories include regular guest performances by Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn.

Next I joined D’Oyly Carte Opera as principal oboe for further national tours and London seasons at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. I spent a chilly but rewarding winter season with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra as cor anglais player, including regular television and radio broadcasts and recordings.

For fourteen summer seasons I was a member of violinist Max Jaffa’s orchestra in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK, where we played mainly light music to enthusiastic audiences night and morning throughout the summer months, including occasional radio and television broadcasts. Our contract included regular solo spots with orchestral or piano accompaniment.

I have played on a regular basis as a freelance player with orchestras such as the London Mozart Players, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Ulster Orchestra, English Sinfonia, West End Shows etc, with further performances with the London Bach Festival Orchestra, Les Musicians du Roi, English Symphony Orchestra and many other orchestras and ensembles.

Conductors for whom I have played include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Christopher Ball, Steuart Bedford, Harry Blech, Adrian Boult, Norman Del Mar, John Eliot Gardner, John Lanchbery, Manoug Parikian, Simon Rattle, Scott Stromans and Yuval Zaliouk.

As a soloist I have given many recitals up and down the country at music clubs and schools, including children’s lecture recital demonstrations. I would like to think that there are children who perhaps were inspired to learn the oboe by our performances, as I was, when an oboist played at my prep school many years ago.

London recitals include two at the church of St Martin in the Fields, London, and, as part of the Young Musicians’ Series, my solo ‘debut’ at London’s Wigmore Hall, described by the Daily Telegraph as ‘vivid’.

As a member of Quintessence Wind Quintet/Trios I have performed at Music Clubs and other concert performances, and have appeared as concerto and chamber soloist with ensembles in Yorkshire, and more recently, in South Devon, UK.

I am currently a member of Cantilena (voice, oboe, harpsichord - with violin and cello as required). We would be delighted to play for your wedding, reception, anniversary or other celebratory function in the South West, and we have a wide variety of repertoire to suite all tastes - from Bach to contemporary, romantic to humorous and everything in between. Contact me for more details and programme ideas.

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