MICHAEL STOWE – Oboist
What is your main occupation at the moment?
I am a third year undergraduate oboe student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Alongside my studies I take on freelance playing work with various orchestras and ensembles and I also teach the oboe on Saturday mornings at the Wandsworth Music Academy.
What made you choose to play your instrument and how old were you when you started?
I started learning the oboe when I was 10 years old. I had previously been learning the recorder and initially wanted to move on to the flute, as I knew some children at my school who learned it. I suggested this to my mum who quickly responded with “no, everyone plays the flute- learn the oboe!”. Despite being blissfully unaware of the many hours I would eventually spend making reeds, I definitely feel I ended up on the right instrument!
What made you choose the concerto that you will be playing?
I have chosen to perform the Strauss concerto as I feel it perfectly demonstrates what the oboe does best: playing beautiful, endless melodies. The concerto was written in 1945 towards the end of Strauss’s life during what is known as his ‘Indian Summer’ of music, where he composed numerous beautiful pieces of music including his Four Last Songs and the Metamorphosen for solo strings, which I feel collectively paint a picture of Strauss’s life as a composer.
What do you feel you would gain from the experience of winning this competition and playing your concerto with ERSO and Peter Stark?
I have chosen to pursue a career as an oboist as performing is what I am most passionate about, so having the chance to perform one of my all-time favourite pieces of music as a soloist with such a fantastic orchestra and conductor would be a dream come true!