Katharina Spreckelsen is The English Concert’s Principal Oboe.
When, where and what did you play the first time with the English Concert?
The first time I played with the English Concert was recording Handel’s fireworks music in 1998. They needed 24 oboes, so I was lucky enough to be asked! It was such fun meeting and playing with so many colleagues from all over Europe.
What has been your most memorable TEC concert and why?
This is a tie I am afraid. In the year 2000 we toured works by Bach for many weeks of the year. Playing second oboe next to Alfredo Bernardini in the St Matthew Passion was one of my most memorable tours with the EC. More recently, my most memorable concert must have been performing Handel’s Alcina in Carnegie Hall. The line up of soloists was incredible and I do so enjoy performing Handel operas with Harry.
What’s one of your favourite pieces of music and why?
This must be without doubt Bach’s Cantata ‘Aus Der Tiefen’ BWV 131. The text is incredible and the music is beyond this world. Scored for strings (no viola, sorry!), oboe and SATB. The two arias have a chorale going throughout and the choruses… well, just listen to it. You will understand.
Do you have a secret interest or hobby that would surprise people?
Not a secret anymore. I am halfway through a Maths degree.
Katharina Spreckelsen is one of the leading baroque oboists of her generation. She was born in Germany and after studying with the late Michel Piguet in Basle, Katharina moved to London for further studies with Paul Goodwin at the Royal College of Music.
She soon became a sought after player with many European Ensembles. Katharina was principal oboist with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, the Gabrieli Players and Florilegium and she now divides her time between The English Concert, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Christian Curnyn’s Early Opera Company.
Katharina often performs and records with singers such as Mark Padmore, Thomas Quasthof, Ian Bostridge, Andreas Scholl, David Daniels and Rolando Villazón. Her performances as an obligato soloist are frequently paired with solo concerto performances.
Katharina has recorded extensively. She can be heard on many of Ton Kopman’s Bach Cantata recordings. With the Gabrieli Consort and Players she has recorded Oratorios by Handel, sacred works by JS Bach and Haydn’s Creation. With The English Concert she appears notably on discs with David Daniels, Elizabeth Watts, Danielle De Niese and Lucy Crowe. Most recently, Katharina recorded a disc of Bach Cantatas with Iestyn Davies and Jonathan Cohen.
Katharina is professor for baroque and classical oboe at the Royal Academy of Music. Over the past 20 years she has fostered a new generation of baroque oboists, many of whom are now her colleagues.