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AWO Alumni Series 2 - Joshua Oates

This was Josh in 2013 before an AWO concert. Since then, Josh has gone on to perform regularly with the Adelaide and Sydney Symphony Orchestras. Read more about his experience below.

What instrument do you play and how long have you been playing? I play the Oboe and the Cor Anglais. I started in high school so I've been playing for 10 years!

What is the best and worst thing about your instrument? The best thing I think would be the sound - a great oboe sound is beautiful and clear but can also be so malleable. It's pretty dependent on what I would say is the worst thing - reeds. A bad reed can cause so much grief and completely ruin the best thing about it! But with a good reed, you can just play the beautiful parts written for the oboe.

What made you want to play oboe? I actually didn't want to, in the beginning! I needed an orchestral instrument at high school and I only played piano and guitar, so I was advised to play one of the 'endangered' instruments - oboe, horn, euphonium or tuba. My mum had played oboe in high school so we had one at home - and 13-year old Josh couldn't face playing a brass instrument so here we are!

What is your favourite work for oboe? Oh wow that's a hard question! I tend to find I really like something when it's been a fun/inspiring experience, so it's always changing. But a piece that I LOVE at the moment is the oboe concerto 'Spirit of the Wild' by Nigel Westlake written for Diana Doherty that I was lucky enough to be around for earlier this year.

What was the first orchestra you played in ? For oboe it would probably have been a concert band or the studio orchestra at Marryatville High School.

How did you get involved with Adelaide Wind Orchestra and what did you learn from playing in it? I was asked to be one of the first members! I was really excited to play a bunch of repertoire (particularly modern) I wouldn't usually get the chance to play at quite a high standard and to learn a lot about playing with other wind players.

What made you choose a career in music? I can't remember a time music wasn't part of my life. But I really remember one time at a state music camp, it must've been around 2008. I was playing Sibelius 2nd symphony - Richard Chew was conducting - and I just remember thinking 'this sound, this feeling is what I want to work with for my career'.

What are you up to now? I'm currently doing a second year in the fellowship program with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra!

What is your dream job/s? I would love a principal oboe job in one of the Australian orchestras! If I've got to choose one I would probably choose Sydney Symphony - I've really enjoyed my time in the fellowship program!

Do you have any advice for any aspiring musician? A few things; 1. Say yes to as many playing opportunities as you can! (Within reason of course) you'll learn to be really versatile and to pick things up quickly which is very valuable. 2. Practice! Practice! Practice! 3. But most importantly, find a way to love it! A piece, an ensemble, anything and go with it! Make it part of your life!

What was your favourite concert with AWO? That's a hard one too! I think if I had to choose - I loved playing the Dvorak Serenade!

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