Michael Wilson was appointed Principal Oboe of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2009. Prior to this he was Co-Principal Oboe from September 2005. Before moving to Hong Kong, he was working regularly with London-based orchestras including the London Philharmonic Orchestra with whom he toured extensively in Germany under the direction of their then Chief Conductor, Kurt Masur. He also worked with other UK orchestras, which gave rise to the opportunity to play Vivaldi’s Concerto for Oboe and Violin, with Nigel Kennedy.
Michael studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where he graduated with First Class Honours and received the Philip Jones prize for woodwind. He was then awarded a place in the then newly founded orchestra, the Southbank Sinfonia, based in London.
Since moving to Hong Kong he has been invited to play Principal Oboe with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra.
Michael also enjoys regular work with Moving Performance, a leadership development company dedicated to inspiring change in organisations through music.
Any free time Michael has, he spends having fun with his two sons, Oliver and Charlie.
What or who were your early musical influences?
I was in a cathedral choir in the south-west of England, from the age of 8 until 13. It was during this time I was fortunate enough to acquire a thorough musical training through singing basically every day. So the choir was an early influence.
I took up the oboe shortly before leaving the choir, quite a late start so I felt I was constantly playing catch up! But the fact that I was in a specialist music school, meant that I was surrounded by instrumentalists to aspire too.
What's the most challenging part about being an oboist and what's the most enjoyable?
The most challenging part of being an oboist in an orchestra is trying to keep the standard of playing people expect from you every time one plays. The most enjoyable part of playing is in the knowledge that it is this challenging, when it works out well it's hugely satisfying because you know yourself how much work goes in to it!
Any practice and pre-concert rituals?
Not particularly rituals just making sure to have a meal a good length of time before the concert so I'm not sleepy from digesting food and also having a good nap before playing helps concentration.
What’s in your oboe bag?
Apart from the oboe, tools - reed knives, pliers, screwdriver, cigarette papers, and other little things for either reeds or oboe. Toothbrush toothpaste!
When you are not playing the oboe, what do you enjoy doing?
I have two sons 6 and 4 years old, who tend to keep me busy when I'm not playing! Also I try and go to the gym when I can.
To someone starting to learn the oboe, what advice would you give?
At the beginning, perseverance is key!
I think you really have to want to play the oboe simply because at the outset it can be difficult to get going. Other than that, learning the oboe is a great journey to be a part of and there is always something new to learn!