Tim Hurtz, Associate Professor of Oboe, joined the faculty at Pennsylvania State University in 1993 and is a member of the Pennsylvania Woodwind Quintet. Previously a faculty member at Illinois State University from 1973 to 1993 teaching the oboe and performing with the Sonneries Woodwind Quintet, Hurtz has performed with the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the San Francisco Opera and Ballet, Joffery, Bolshoi, and American Ballet Theater Orchestras, the Santa Fe Opera, Mannheim Steamroller, and has given recitals and clinics across the U. S., Europe, Canada, and Japan. His teachers included William Criss, Robert Bloom and Ray Still. From 1978 to 1981, he was principal oboe with the National Opera of Mexico City and taught at the Mexican National Conservatory of Music. Hurtz was principal oboe with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Illinois Chamber Orchestra, and the Peoria Symphony Orchestra from 1983 to 1993. In Japan, he was a frequent performer at the Moon Beach Festival in Okinawa. The International Double Reed Society has hosted him in concert three times. He currently serves as principal oboe and has been a soloist with the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra and Music at Penn’s Woods He has traveled extensively giving clinics for Fox Products. From 2006-2009 Hurtz was a soloist and chamber musician with Ireland’s “Summer Music on the Shannon” International music festival.
How is the oboe playing approach different playing in a quintet vs. an orchestra?
Playing oboe in a WW quintet requires being able to play all the ranges of the oboe easily unlike in the orchestra when its possible to play on reeds that just play well for the kind of solos you have in a given piece. Your role in the Quintet is to be a soloist at one point and a very soft accompanist at another. Playing in a professional orchestra many times let’s the principal only play one or two works on the program, and the assistant plays the overture or concerto. Not so with quintet, you play it all.
What non-musical lessons have your experiences as an oboist taught you?
You need to pace yourself by taking breaks from the instrument so that you don’t burn out. Also one needs to learn that what kind of person you are many times comes out in your playing i.e. if you are a warm, friendly person, what comes out your instrument will be that way.
What are some musical highlights of your career so far?
There are so many. Here are just a few:
As a young player, I’d say playing under Daniel Lewis with the USC Symphony. Playing next to Bill Criss in the LA chamber orchestra under Marriner. Studying with Ray Still. Play first oboe in the orchestra for Tosca with Placido Domingo singing. Being on tour with Sonneries Quintet and the Pennsylvania Quintet.
When you are not playing the oboe, what do you enjoy doing?
Watching my daughter concur the world and my son grow up! Cooking and Fly fishing.
What advice would you give to someone starting to learn the oboe?
Start by taking lessons with a real oboist, and get reeds from them every time until you are ready to play on your own reeds.
Anything else you would like to add?
Learn to love the process, not the goal!