Roger Cole In Conversation with Bramwell Tovey
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- Celebrating Roger Cole
At the conclusion of the current season, Roger Cole will retire as Principal Oboe of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held for 45 years. In that time he has performed under five VSO Music Directors: Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Rudolf Barshai, Sergiu Comissiona, Bramwell Tovey and Otto Tausk.
Bramwell Tovey, the VSO’s Music Director Emeritus, catches up with Roger for a wide-ranging conversation about a life devoted to musical performance. Roger will share tales of his musical roots and education, observations on his orchestral career, influences, and philosophies, his sense of humour and his work as a conductor with the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra.
VSO Principal Oboe, Wayne and Leslie Ann Ingram Chair
VSO Music Director Emeritus
Principal Oboe, Wayne and Leslie Ann Ingram Chair
Roger Cole was appointed Principal Oboist of the Vancouver Symphony by Maestro Kazuyoshi Akiyama in 1976. At age 22 he was the youngest principal player of the VSO. Today he is the oldest principal player. From 1976-2008 he was also the principal oboist of the CBC Radio Orchestra.
Mr. Cole received his early musical training in Seattle, Washington and went on to become a scholarship student at Yale University and The Juilliard School where he studied with the renowned American oboist, Robert Bloom.
Mr. Cole has participated in the summer music festivals of Aspen, Tanglewood, and Marlboro. He has recently taught, conducted and performed at the Marrowstone Music Festival (Bellingham, Wa.) and the PRISMA Music Festival (Powell River, BC).
He performs regularly in solo and chamber music recitals and has appeared as soloist with the VSO and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra many times. He has recorded a CD for CBC Records with his VSO colleague, pianist Linda Lee Thomas entitled “The Expressive Oboe”.
Mr. Cole has taught at the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver Academy of Music and the VSO School of Music. He has given master classes across North America and in Asia. He also has an active oboe studio at his home in North Vancouver.
In June 2003 Mr. Cole was named Music Director and Senior Orchestra Conductor of the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra. Under his guidance the VYSO has flourished and is considered one of the finest Youth Orchestras in Canada. The VYSO has performed many times along side the VSO under Maestro Bramwell Tovey.
From 1998-2012 he was the principal oboist of the Carmel Bach Festival in California
Bramwell Tovey, Music Director Emeritus
Following an exceptional 18 year tenure as Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony, which concluded in summer 2018, Bramwell Tovey now serves as the orchestra’s Music Director Emeritus. Under his leadership the VSO toured China, Korea, across Canada and the United States. His VSO innovations included the establishment of the VSO School of Music, the VSO’s annual festival of contemporary music and the VSO Orchestral Institute, a comprehensive summer orchestral training program for young musicians in British Columbia. The Grammy and Juno award-winning conductor and composer also serves as Principal Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra and Artistic Advisor to the Rhode Island Philharmonic. Mr. Tovey was the recipient of the Oskar Morawetz 2015 Prize for Excellence in Music Performance. In 2013 he was appointed an honorary Officer of the Order of Canada for services to music.