Pauline Oostenrijk: “Allow Yourself to Play On Reeds That Are Easy and Not Too Heavy”
Accompanying pianist. Copywriter.
This interview with renowned musician Pauline Oostenrijk provides insights into her distinguished musical journey, shaped by familial influences and an unwavering passion for the oboe. From a young age, Oostenrijk was captivated by the instrument’s unique timbre and visual allure, leading her to choose the oboe as her musical medium. Overcoming challenges in finding an oboe teacher in the Northern Netherlands, she pursued her musical education, eventually becoming the principal oboist of the Residentie Orchestra of the Hague for twenty-five years.
Oostenrijk shares valuable advice on technical exercises, emphasizing the importance of scales in thirds for maintaining instrument integrity. Delving into her instrument choice, she discusses her preference for the Marigaux oboe, departing from the traditional Lorée style. The interview touches upon her recent album, “The Notes Are Swallows,” a personal project that intertwines forgotten compositions for solo oboe by Dutch composer Bernard van den Sigtenhorst Meyer with matching piano pieces and poems, showcasing Oostenrijk’s commitment to preserving Dutch cultural heritage.
Expanding beyond orchestral roles, Oostenrijk explores her chamber music projects, including a collaboration with guitarist Enno Voorhorst and the Orlando Quintet. Reflecting on her musical influences, she cites Dutch oboist Han de Vries and Swiss oboist Heinz Holliger as early heroes, with later inspiration drawn from violinists. Oostenrijk concludes with advice for aspiring oboists, urging a focus on playing on reeds that provide freedom and expression, and recommending “The Essential Oboist” by John Williams as a concise and inspiring technical resource often overlooked in the oboe community.