Tributes from Former Colleagues
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- Celebrating Roger Cole
Roger Cole has served as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Oboe for 45 years. He has performed under five VSO Music Directors: Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Rudolf Barshai, Sergiu Comissiona, Bramwell Tovey and Otto Tausk. At the conclusion of the current season, he will retire from his position. A number of his colleagues have contributed their thoughts and well wishes in celebration of Roger’s extraordinary career.
George Laverock, producer & arts administrator
Elaine Smith, oboe
Linda Lee Thomas, piano
Camille Churchfield, flute
Christopher Millard, bassoon
Elizabeth Volpé Bligh, harp
Roger Cole, 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