Richard Woodhams

Oboe, Orchestral Repertoire

Richard Woodhams, credit Jessica GriffinRichard Woodhams served as principal oboe of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1977 until his retirement in 2018. Mr. Woodhams is a 1968 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with John de Lancie.

Mr. Woodhams has appeared as a soloist throughout the United States and Asia with the Philadelphia Orchestra, performing works by Bach, Bellini, Elgar, Haydn, Mozart, George Rochberg, Christopher Rouse, Strauss, Joan Tower, and Vaughan Williams. He has premiered chamber works by William Bolcom, Chuck Holdeman, Thea Musgrave, Bernard Rands, Ned Rorem, Richard Wernick, Adam Wernick, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. He has also collaborated with such artists as Emanuel Ax, Christoph Eschenbach, Itzhak Perlman, and Andre Watts; and the Guarneri, Orion, Tokyo, and Shanghai string quartets. His recordings include Strauss’s Oboe Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Wolfgang Sawallisch and Joan Tower’s Island Prelude with the Tokyo String Quartet.

Mr. Woodhams is a founding member of the World Orchestra for Peace, assembled in 1995 by Sir Georg Solti to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. He has also played principal oboe with the Chicago Symphony under Daniel Barenboim and Riccardo Muti. He participates annually in Music for Life, an orchestra that gives concerts in Carnegie Hall to address specific humanitarian causes; and is also an active participant in chamber music in the Philadelphia area.

Mr. Woodhams gives master classes frequently in the United States and abroad, and his former students occupy positions in orchestras worldwide. From 1969 to 1977, he was principal oboe of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and he has been a member of the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival since 2000.

Mr. Woodhams joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1985.