We are extremely fortunate to have as our Honorary Presidents two of the most highly distinguished players and advocates in the profession.
Nicholas Daniel OBE – Honorary Oboe President
Nicholas Daniel has long been acknowledged as one of the world’s great oboe players, and is one of Britain’s best-known musicians. In a distinguished career that began more than four decades ago he has become an important ambassador in many different musical fields, and has significantly enlarged the repertoire for his instrument with the commissioning of hundreds of new works.
Nicholas dedicates his life to music in many varied ways. He records and broadcasts widely, including regular recordings on the Harmonia Mundi Label, and he boasts a huge following internationally on social media. He is proud to support and patronise many important initiatives, charities and trusts, and has directed several music festivals and concert series, most notably in Germany and Dartington, and has been Music Director of the Leicester International Music Festival and lunchtime series for many years. He is highly sought after as a teacher, being Professor at the Trossingen Musikhochschule in Germany and at the Guildhall School of Music in London.
Following his BBC Proms conducting debut in 2004, he works with many fine ensembles in wide-ranging repertoire ranging from Baroque to contemporary, and from small groups to opera. He is Music Director of Triorca, an orchestral project which brings together talented young musicians from Serbia, Germany and the UK. In recognition of his achievements he was honoured in 2012 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with the prestigious Queen’s Medal for Music, and cited as having made
“an outstanding contribution to the musical life of the nation”. In October 2020 he was awarded an OBE.
Having sung as in the choir of Salisbury Cathedral as a boy, Nicholas was put directly into the spotlight at the age of 18 when he won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. After a short period of study at London’s Royal Academy of Music, with Janet Craxton and Celia Nicklin, and then privately with clarinettist Anthony Pay and with Hans Keller, he quickly established his career with early debuts at the BBC Proms and on disc.
He has been a concerto soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, performing a huge range of repertoire from Bach to Xenakis and beyond, premiering works written for him by composers including Harrison Birtwistle, Henri Dutilleux, James MacMillan, Thea
Musgrave, John Tavener and Michael Tippett, as well as encouraging many younger composers to write for the oboe. His recording of concertos by Vaughan Williams and MacMillan was awarded the BBC Music Magazine Premiere Award in 2016.
As chamber musician Nicholas is a founder member of the award-winning Britten Sinfonia, the Haffner Wind Ensemble, and the Britten Oboe Quartet, whose debut disc was released to great acclaim on the Harmonia Mundi label in 2017. He also works regularly with pianists Charles Owen and Julius Drake, and with many leading string quartets including the Carducci and Vogler. He is principal oboist of Camerata Pacifica, California’s leading chamber music ensemble, and is a popular guest at music festivals all over the world.
Roger Birnstingl – Honorary Bassoon President
Roger Birnstingl was born in England in 1932 and studied piano and bassoon at the Royal College of Music, London. In 1955, as a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra with Herbert von Karajan, he made his first of over twenty-five United States tours. Former principal bassoonist of the London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, for thirteen years he was prinicpal bassoonist of the London Symphony Orchestra, before joining l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in 1977. He has played under many great conductors including Claudio Abbado, Sir John Barbirolli, Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Herbert von Karajan, Otto Klemperer, Fritz Reiner, Sir Georg Solti, and Igor Stravinsky. He has been a member of numerous chamber groups such as the London Sinfonietta, the London Wind Soloists, and the London Wind Trio, and has made many recordings including the complete wind works of Mozart and Beethoven and all Schoenberg’s chamber music. During his time in London he was Professor of bBssoon at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and while living in Switzerland was Professor of Bassoon & Chamber Music at the Geneva Conservatoire (where he is now Professeur Emeritus). Many students who have studied with him are now dispersed amongst the world’s leading orchestras. He frequently gives masterclasses at the London Music colleges, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall. Roger is frequently in demand as a jury member for exams and competitions such as the Prague Spring and the Geneva Competition.
A recent interview with Roger may be found here.