Kai Rapsch was born in 1978 in Berlin, Germany and dedicated himself to a musical career at a very young age. He attended the renowned Musikgymnasium (High School) Carl-Phillipp-Emanuel Bach in Berlin and was already accepted at the age of 15 to the acclaimed Julius Stern Institute at the University of Arts in Berlin (UdK Berlin). In 1997, he began his regular progamme of study at the UdK Berlin in the Oboe class of Professor Burkhard Glaetzner. He transferred to the University for Music and Theatre in Munich in 2000 he here studied under Professor Günther Passin, and graduated in 2004 with honors. Kai Rapsch was the recipient of the Jürgen Ponto Foundation Scholarship from 1994-1996 and has since received numerous awards, prizes and commendations both nationally and internationally.
What has been your most memorable concert and why?
That was in 2011 after the earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Maestro Mehta and us (the Munich Philharmonic, the Bavarian State Opera and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra ) spontaneously played a charity concert for Japan with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. All members of the orchestra, including me, and most of the audience of that concert had an experience we probably will never forget.
What's the most challenging part about being an oboist and what's the most enjoyable?
Try not to worry too much about your reeds. No matter how bad your reed might be, you should always keep a free mind. In a concert situation nothing will work out if you are too much concerned about your reed. You have to deal with the situation as it is and work with the reed you have. Try to trust yourself and your playing.
The enjoyable part of being an oboist is when you can express your feelings through music without being bothered by a reed problem.
What constitutes a good oboe performance in your opinion?
When you can`t hear any of the difficulties of playing an oboe and when you reach the audience and touch them with your musical expression!
How would you describe your relationship with your reeds?
It`s "complicated" sometimes. But I´m always trying to find a good way to make my music on them.
How has your playing changed over the years?
Listening to other musicians and knowing their musical part when they are playing with you at the same time is one of the most important thing in orchestral or chamber music playing. It is also necessary to try to create a homogeneous sound with the other members of the orchestra. Also the orchestra rehearsals are for learning other peoples’ music score, not your own.
What advice would you give to someone starting to learn the oboe?
Start to play with low pressure on your reeds. Always practice passages slowly, and make a plan what you would like to train and what for. Brain training without the instrument is also very useful. Practice less, but intensely!
What superpower would you like to have and why?
To heal people and to free them from their disease so that they can enjoy again their life.
The German national competition “Jugend musiziert”, the international competition of the Munich Konzertgesellschaft, as well as the international Händel competition in Halle are just a few of the competitions he has participated in and received prizes in.During his studies Kai Rapsch was selected as a member of the Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg. In 2004, he was hired as Soloist for the English Horn and Oboe by the renowned Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. Kai also lectured for the Orchestra Academy of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and was active in the promotion of the professional musical talents. Kai was directly responsible for the launching of several careers with renowned orchestras such as the Komische Oper Berlin, the Regensburg Theatre as well as the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.
In addition to giving regular recitals and leading master classes ,Kai Rapsch performs not only at the famous music festivals in Dresden, Salzburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, but also internationally in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.As Oboe and English Horn soloist Kai Rapsch is frequently invited as a guest performer with such acclaimed orchestras as the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Kammerensemble Salzburg Orchestra Soloists, the Bach Collegium in Munich as well as the New Bach Collegium Musicum in Leipzig.The company “Reeds for Oboes” was founded by Kai Rapsch in 2012. His handmade reeds for oboes and for English horns are sold and distributed throughout the world. www.reedsforoboes.de