Her performances praised as “excellent” and “elegantly rendered” by the New York Times, oboist ToniMarie Marchioni has performed in Europe, South America, Asia, and throughout the United States as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. Most recently, she was a featured artist at the Moab Music Festival (Utah), in Carnegie Hall’s collected stories festival curated by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, as well as in the Stefan Wolpe Society’s concert series, Portrait of a Visionary, and at New York's leading contemporary music venue Spectrum giving the world premiere of Discipline for Oboe and Piano, which she commissioned from composer Lansing McLoskey. In 2010, she performed the Martinů Oboe Concerto with the Orquesta Philarmónica del Ecuador, and in 2008, she gave the U.S. premiere of Jonathan Harvey’s concerto Sprechgesang for Oboe/English Horn. A member of the IRIS Orchestra (Memphis, TN) and Decoda (New York, NY), and an alumni of Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect (formerly ACJW), she has also appeared with the National Symphony (including the 2016 European Tour), American Ballet Theater, Grant Park Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Georgia Woodwind Quintet, and Continuum Ensemble.
What's the most challenging part about being an oboist and what's the most enjoyable?
The most enjoyable part of playing the oboe is the limitless possibilities that we have as musicians. There will always be more repertoire, more reeds, more concerts, more program combinations. I love the idea that we are never finished as artists, that we can always reinvent ourselves, or re-interpret a piece, or change our minds about the way a phrase should go. Some people may find that over-whelming, but I think it's amazing. For me, the most challenging part of playing the oboe is undoubtedly also one of the most miraculous aspects of it -- reed-making. I am fortunate to enjoy the reed-making process even if it can be at times stressful and unpredictable. But the idea that we have that much control of the instrument and have the opportunity to physically make our voice is ultimately inspiring to me.
Any mental and/or physical exercises you recommend to oboists for optimal performance?
I am a big believer in fitness for performance. I believe that exercise and physical health and strength are absolutely tied to oboe playing. Personally, I am a novice runner and also do High Intensity Interval Training and calisthenics to help with breath control and strength. Oboe playing is athletic! Performance is also a mental challenge, and it's important to remember that being nervous is completely natural. To deal with performance anxiety, I try to put it in a positive light as much as possible -- it's not anxiety, but excitement to share beautiful music with the audience. Plus, there's really no reason to be nervous if you're prepared. Also, I try to be as nice to myself as possible. Positive thinking goes a long way towards success.
Could you tell us about your instruments - what are the stories behind your primary oboe and english horn?
I am fortunate to have some beautiful instruments right now. I currently play on 2 new Loree Royals, one I purchased from John Symer and one that was hand-picked by National Symphony Orchestra Principal Oboe Nicholas Stovall at the Loree showroom in Paris. My English horn, also a Loree, was bought from Metropolitan Opera English horn player Pedro Diaz. He played it during his first few years in the job, so I like to think some of his magic is still in the instrument.
What are some highlights in your oboe career?
How do I choose?? Here are a few:
- Playing oboe and English horn with the National Symphony Orchestra on their 2016 European Tour
- Being a guest artist at the Moab Music Festival in Utah
- My two year fellowship at Carnegie Hall with Ensemble Connect (formerly ACJW)
- Commissioning and premiering a new work for Oboe and Piano by Lansing McLoskey - video here: https://youtu.be/9PYUBmR1qxU
- Studying with my wonderful teachers: Elaine Douvas, Pedro Diaz, Eugene Izotov, and Mark McEwen
When you are not playing the oboe, what do you enjoy doing?
A career with the oboe doesn't leave a lot of free time, but I am lucky to have a wonderful rescue dog, Rita (part Australian shepherd, part terrier), who really helps to keep me sane. I also enjoy bargain-shopping, trying new restaurants, and exploring the world of Bourbon (I do live in Kentucky, after all!).
What advice would you give to someone starting to learn the oboe?
The oboe is not user-friendly, so find a knowledgeable private teacher and a supply of excellent reeds as soon as you can. It's important to establish good habits and acquire the best training available to you as early as possible.
Anything else you'd like to add?
It's so important to remember that a life in music is a marathon, not a sprint. With that in mind, this quote is really resonating with me right now:
"Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny."
Currently the Assistant Professor of Oboe at the University of Kentucky and on faculty at the New Harmony Music Festival (Indiana), Dr. Marchioni has worked as a teaching-artist with Sinfonia Por La Vida (Ecuador) and has held faculty positions at the University of Georgia, Las Vegas Music Festival, and the American Festival for the Arts (Houston, TX). She is a frequent performer at the International Double Reed Society conferences, and a sought after clinician and pedagogue. Recent and upcoming masterclasses and clinics include Indiana University, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Vanderbilt University, University of Wisconsin - Madison, University of Iowa, University of Georgia, University of South Carolina, The Midwest Clinic, Georgia Music Educators Association, Kentucky Music Educators Association, and the Kentucky Governors School for the Arts. A native of Mechanicsburg, PA, Dr. Marchioni holds degrees from Harvard University (BA) and The Juilliard School (MM and DMA).
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