Featured Faculty Member of the Week / Elizabeth Starr Masoudnia

Elizabeth Starr Masoudnia / English Horn-Oboe / The Philadelphia Orchestra

Elizabeth Starr MasoudniaElizabeth Starr Masoudnia joined The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1995. An active English horn soloist and chamber musician, Ms. Masoudnia premiered Nicholas Maw’s English Horn Concerto, a piece commissioned for her by The Philadelphia Orchestra, in 2005. Her performance of the work was subsequently broadcast on National Public Radio.

Ms. Masoudnia, formerly with Minnesota Orchestra, has participated in the Marlboro Music Festival and performed with the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia (now the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia) and the New York Symphonic Ensemble on four tours of Japan and Southeast Asia.

Elizabeth is a featured artist on a CD of Beethoven and Triebensee oboe trios, released on the ASV Quicksilver label. A native of Philadelphia, Ms. Masoudnia graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with John de Lancie.

We are continuing our conversation with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra about their beginnings in music, their inspirations and aspirations. Please join us each week to see many of your new favorites featured right here!

Q: What CD are you currently listening to?
Philadelphia Orchestra’s new CD with Rite of Spring and Stokow ski-Bach transcriptions

Q: Is there a genre of music, other than classical, that makes your spirit soar?

Q: Who first introduced you to your instrument? What do you remember about the experience?
My 3rd grade music teacher suggested that I should play an instrument. I had heard an oboist play in an assembly the day before and liked its sound, so I said the oboe. A lot of oboe teachers did not want to teach me at that age and suggested that I play the clarinet. I knew that I wanted to play the oboe, though, and finally we found a Curtis oboe student who w as willing to start me on the oboe.

Q: What is your all-time favorite piece (to play, to listen to, etc.)?
Ravel Mother Goose suite.

Q: What is it that you like most about this piece?
It is beautifully constructed and orchestrated and shows off the colors of the orchestra.

Q: What do you most enjoy teaching?
I enjoy connecting with the students and helping each of them reach their full potential on the oboe.

Q: What changes would you implement at a grade school level to instill a greater interest in music studies?
I think that every child can enjoy playing an instrument and listening to music at their own level.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do w hen not performing?
Spend time with my family.

Q: When did you first know that you w anted to be a professional musician?
As soon as I first played the oboe I knew that I w anted to play professionally.

Q: Do you still get nervous before a performance, and if so – how do you cope?
Depending on the piece, or conditions, or my reed, I can get nervous. I try to be over prepared so that I am able to respond well to adverse conditions.

Q: What is your general practice routine?
I like to warm up with slow scales and long tones and make sure that my instrument and reed are in good order. Than I practice slower repertoire and end with technical challenges.

Q: What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?
I enjoy playing with the other great musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra with our new, exciting music director.

Q: What is the most unusual musical gig in which you have ever participated?
I once played a concert in the garage of a beer factory in Japan with a chamber orchestra.

Q: Do you have any closing thoughts for your followers, fans, and admirers?
The PIMF music festival is a great place to study with musicians in the Philadelphia Orchestra and meet other young talented musicians.

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