What a surprise when we contacted Claire’s Instagram account (@oboejones) and she replied! Could she be nicer? We don’t think so! Despite her youth, Claire has proved to be a very talented oboist, more than that she is a person we admire. That is why we are so happy that she has accepted an interview. Be ready to get to know her better, Claire Brazeau is a name that you shouldn’t forget 😉
By the way, if you want to learn more about her career, we recommend you to visit her website: http://www.clairebrazeau.com/about. You will love it!
Interview to Claire Brazeau
- When did you start playing the oboe? I was 12 years old, but I had started piano lessons when I was 8.
- Why did you choose this instrument? I wanted to play with my friends in the school band and I was really curious about the wind instrument that nobody else wanted to play.
- How much time do you spend playing the oboe daily? It varies, but normally I’m splitting my time between rehearsals, concerts, recording sessions, teaching, and practicing. During a typical work week my hours range between 2-9 hours per day.
- Is there an oboist who inspires you in a special way? Allan Vogel was my last teacher and he is still a mentor and dear friend. The man is a mensch who truly loves the oboe. There is utter joy in his playing that I strive to emulate.
- Of all your achievements as an oboist, which one would you say is the most important one for you? The moment I realized I was making a sustainable living doing what I love. I have always been extremely honest with myself about my chances of “making it” as an oboist. There was always the possibility that I might need to end my music career to pursue another path that provided financial sustainability. It wasn’t until after a few years of establishing myself as a professional oboist that I could finally let my doubts subside. This revelation didn’t occur during one particular life event or another. I was just driving to work, admiring a glorious urban sunset, and I took a deep breath and told myself that I was going to be okay.
- What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in the world of music and wants to become a professional oboist? Practice smart and often. Go to concerts (as soon as it is safe to do so!). Listen to great recordings. Be organized and honest with your goals. Always be prepared and open to learn in every situation, whether you are at your 15th concert band rehearsal or your first time subbing professionally with a philharmonic. Start developing professional rehearsal etiquette now, in other words, be nice to your colleagues. And whatever you do, learn to make good reeds!
- How did you feel when you received an Artist Diploma from The Colburn School? I was extremely thankful, but also a little nervous to be leaving the supportive nest.
- Your Instagram page is a great place to share things like concert clips, oboe advice, and upcoming performance information. Do you find Social Media useful in your career? Why? Social Media provides an opportunity to share my work without the confines of a ticketed concert hall. On Instagram, the audience is typically more international and young in comparison to our traditional classical audiences. It also feels like an obvious place to do my part to inspire the next generation of musicians and music lovers. Our oboe community is niche, but I think it is important for us to keep sharing with each other and the world.
- We are so impressed that you were a triple major, wow! Congrats! Of all your Bachelor degrees: East Asian studies and piano performance, and a Bachelor of Music in oboe performance, what is the most important thing you have learned from that experience? I guess the most important thing I learned was about…myself. I learned more about my interests, the world around me, my limits and my abilities.
- Is there anything you would like to share with Medina Reeds readers? Thank you so much for the feature! Be well and remember; music has the power to heal the spirit. This is important now more than ever.
Thank you so, so very much Claire! We could repeat this “thank you” a million times because we are just so grateful.
Discover other oboists of different months here: https://medinareeds.es/category/oboist-of-the-month/.