With her unique vocal sound and compelling musicianship, oboist Emily Pailthorpe has won a large following amongst fellow musicians and concertgoers worldwide. Emily’s career was launched at the age of 17 when she became the youngest artist ever to win the Fernand Gillet International Oboe Competition. Playing the Vaughan Williams concerto, she was hailed by the judges as “the Jacqueline du Pré of the oboe”. Emily went on to make her acclaimed concerto debut in 2003, playing the Strauss Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra, and gave her Wigmore Hall recital debut in the same year.
A graduate of Yale University where she read English, and the Juilliard School of Music, where she won the concerto competition and the prize for most valued orchestral musician, Emily was also a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Her playing has inspired many composers to write for her, including Paul Patterson, who wrote his Phoenix Concerto for her, and Richard Blackford who wrote The Better Angels of Our Nature for her. Emily gave both the world premiere (UK, 2009) and US premiere performances of Patterson’s Phoenix and performed the world premiere of Richard Blackford’s The Better Angels of Our Nature in Los Angeles in 2013. She gave the UK premiere of Better Angels with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Martyn Brabbins in 2015.
In addition to her performances as soloist and chamber musician, Emily has appeared as guest principal oboe with many orchestras, notably the Philharmonia, the London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, BBC Scottish, Welsh National Opera, Baltimore Symphony, Dallas Opera, Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini, Spoleto Festival Orchestra and English National Opera. She is the principal oboist of Sinfonia Viva. A sought-after session artist, Emily features on the soundtracks of many films including Jane Eyre, Harry Potter and The Theory of Everything. She can be heard regularly on American National Public Radio, Classic FM and BBC Radio 3 and she has featured as a guest on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’.
Emily is a founder member and the oboist of the London Conchord Ensemble which celebrated its tenth anniversary with a performance at the BBC Proms Chamber Music Series. The ensemble performs in Europe and America with recent engagements at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Brussels Palais des Beaux Arts, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, BBC Wigmore Lunchtime Series and Washington’s Library of Congress. 2016 marks the second year of Conchord’s annual chamber music festival, the Conchord Festival, which takes place in Twickenham, ‘London’s Arcadia’, in June and of which Emily is Artistic Director. Drawing upon her deep interest in the relationship between literature and music she has brought guests including Simon Callow, Dame Felicity Lott, Michael Berkeley and Roderick Williams to collaborate with the ensemble. In 2015 she arranged a joint commission with the Charleston Literary Festival –The Rhythm of Silence written by Alexandra Spencer-Jones – in which actors from Action to the Word Theatre Company and Conchord, alongside the acclaimed Juliet Stevenson, performed a synthesis of Benjamin Britten’sPhantasty Quartet and Virginia Woolf’s The Waves.
As part of the BBC celebrations to mark International Women’s Day 2016, Emily was invited to perform Thea Musgrave’s virtuosic Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra Helios with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. Her recordings – amongst them English oboe concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra and chamber music of Poulenc, Loeffler, Thuille, Balakirev, Ravel, Dutilleux and Bach – have received many accolades. Her recording of the Bach Oboe d’Amore Concerto became Classic FM’s CD of the month.
Emily is a dedicated teacher; she has coached the Britten-Pears orchestra and given many masterclasses in the UK, France and America, including at the Juilliard School in New York. In 2016 she joins the faculty at the Aspen Music Festival for teaching and performances.
Emily lives in London with her husband, flautist Daniel Pailthorpe and their 3 young children. She plays on an oboe by Howarth of London.