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Meet 3 Musicians – Part 1 Eve Osborn

Eve Osborn: The Turning Point

Audrey Journal journalist Harriet Cunningham interviewed 3 classical musicians who will be performing at Riverside during Spring. In this 3 part blog series, we find out a little about each musician, starting with Eve Osborn, who is performing in Songs of the North this September.

Playing with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra was always a childhood dream for oboist Eve Osborn. 

Now, as a member of one of the world’s leading orchestral training programs, that dream has come true. The young musician, who graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium last year, spent 2019 in an intensive year-long program of practicing, rehearsing and performing, receiving mentorship and guidance, and regular spots on stage with the band.

It is, she says, the turning point of her career.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect but it’s exceeded all of my expectations, for sure. We get to play in the big orchestral concerts like the subscription series, but we also get to do commercial concerts as well. Last year I got to play in two Harry Potter movies, which was really fun because I’ve always been a fan!”

The program also prepares the young musicians for the nuts and bolts of life as a professional orchestral musician.

“In terms of administration, the program really keeps us not so much on our toes, but it makes sure we stay on top of our emails, constantly double-checking schedules, making sure we are in the right place at the right time.”

It is, she says, all about bridging the gap between study and a career.

As well as performing with the full orchestra, the Fellows have a chance to shine in their own series of chamber music concerts.

“I’m really looking forward to [the Riverside concerts] because I get to play in the Britten Fantasy Quartet which is for oboe and strings. I’d never played with that instrumentation until last year when we did the
Mozart Oboe Quartet.”

With a diary full of rehearsal and performance dates, Eve seems to be on the cusp of what promises to be an exciting professional career. But the oboe was not Eve’s first instrument.

“I started in year 7 when my music teacher brought an oboe to class, gave it to me and said, ‘good luck’. The music teacher at my school was always trying to get more people on the ‘endangered’ instruments, so oboe, bassoon, French horn and viola. I’d already played flute before that so he thought it would be a good instrument to transition from.”

It was tough at the beginning when the oboe sounded, in her words, “a little bit duck-like”.

“It’s all about persevering through that and realising the hard work that goes into getting a beautiful sound out. It’s all worth it in the end.”

Eve is realistic about the prospect of finding a permanent position in an orchestra in Australia, considering that there is only one professional symphony orchestra in each state, plus a number of opera orchestras, and each orchestra employs four full time oboe players at most. Small wonder, then, that when a new principal oboe is appointed they tend to stay in the position for many years.

“It’s really a waiting game.”

So as Eve approaches the end of her time in the SSO Fellowship, the inevitable question is, what next?

“My answer is I’m not entirely sure,” she says. “I do know that someday I’d love to have a full-time job in an orchestra somewhere in the world. In the mean time, I’m very keen to go overseas, have a bunch of lessons, do some concerts and maybe audition for schools over there to do a Masters.”

The Sydney Symphony Fellowship appear in Songs of the North at Riverside, September 1.

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