Robert Atherholt has been principal oboist of the Houston Symphony for more than 20 years. His artistry has been celebrated in numerous solo appearances and festival residencies all over the world.
Atherholt earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the prestigious Juilliard School of Music. Only 2 years after graduating, he won his first principal oboe position. First serving in that capacity with the New Jersey Symphony, he soon moved on to the Opera Orchestra of New York, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He also performed as guest principal oboist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in performances of Mahler’s 7th Symphony under Bernard Haitink, and later served as acting principal oboist on the BSO European tour 2000 with Seiji Ozawa conducting. This season he has appeared as guest principal oboist of The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He was appointed to his current Houston Symphony post in 1984. In this position he has distinguished himself as a soloist performing numerous concerti with the HSO, including the Mozart concerto and the world premier of Schumann/Picker Romances and Interludes, both of which he later recorded with this orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach.
Atherholt has also appeared as a soloist around the world. He has performed with Spain’s Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias Oviedo in 1999 and in Japan’s Pacific Music Festival in 1995. He has toured Japan and Europe as part of the Houston Symphony Chamber Players and recorded Schoenberg’s Woodwind Quintet, Opus 26 with that group.
As a chamber musician, he appears regularly with Da Camera of Houston and has appeared at Marlboro, the Pacific Music Festival, Ravinia, Caramoor Orcas Island and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
He spends his summers as principal oboe of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and the Grand Teton Music Festival. He is professor of oboe at the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University, and conducts guest clinics at various festivals and universities across the country including the National Orchestral Institute and The New World Symphony. This season he will be traveling to China to work with students at the Beijing Conservatory. His students play in orchestras throughout North and South America, Switzerland and Israel; many of them as principal oboist themselves.