Oboist to step into the limelight


Wellington oboist Robert Orr is looking forward to stepping from the ranks of the orchestra to the front of the stage as soloist with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra this weekend.

Orr, principal oboist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, will perform two of his favourite works – J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe and Concerto for Oboe D’Amore – as soloist in the DSO’s “Basically Baroque” concerts.

“One hears Bach being described as a genius. It’s almost a cliche to say it, but it is so true,” Orr said.

“Part of that genius, from my point of view as an oboe player, is not only the incredible melodic and harmonic invention of the music, but the composer’s ability to capture the character of the instruments he was writing for.”

Orr has adored the Bach concertos since he first began learning the oboe as a child and was given a cassette recording of the two pieces.

“I think I probably listened to them every night for a year.

“The gorgeous melodies and creative and sometimes bittersweet harmonies create a sound world distinctive to the baroque period and to J.S. Bach in particular,” Orr said.

For the performance of Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe, Orr will be joined by conductor and accomplished violinist Daniel Kossov.

The conductor will guide the orchestra’s string players in rehearsals, and then in performance the two soloists will take turns at directing the ensemble.

“When it comes to the performance, there are times when the oboe has the leading line, and times where the violin has the leading line. It is going to be very interesting,” Orr said.

He regarded the Bach concertos as very much like chamber music.

“They are not so much a ‘solo instrument with accompaniment’ scenario but music where we can react and feed ideas off each other in the performances.

“In this sense it is very collaborative and I am very much looking forward to it.”

Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s “Basically Baroque” concerts, conducted by Daniel Kossov, will be held this Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at 3pm, at the King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre in Bay View Rd.

The programme comprises J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboeand Concerto for Oboe D’Amore, Respighi’s The Birds and Mozart’s Symphony No 41, Jupiter