Robert Walters to Lead the Oboe Studio at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music
"Robert Walters is a phenomenal artist and teacher who will continue to serve as a brilliant mentor to our students," says Stull. "His extraordinary success in preparing world-class artists will benefit generations of musicians at Oberlin, and we are exceedingly fortunate to have him as a member of our faculty."
Walters assumes leadership of an oboe and English horn studio that has seen a great deal of success, with recent Oberlin graduates being offered principal positions in the Shanghai, Kansas City, and Pacific symphonies and the Santiago Philharmonic. Others have been finalists for principal positions with San Francisco Opera and the Seattle Symphony.
“The culture of wind playing and teaching at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music is a long and distinguished one,” says Walters. “I am thrilled to be part of a faculty that is so deeply committed to shaping and guiding successive generations of young musicians. I love the sense of shared mission that animates absolutely everyone who teaches here.”
Walters plays oboe and solo English horn with the Cleveland Orchestra, a position he also held with the Metropolitan Opera and Cincinnati Symphony. He has taught at Bard, Swarthmore, Haverford, and at the University of Pennsylvania. He currently teaches at the Aspen Music Festival, the Colorado College Summer Music Festival, and the New World Symphony.
A fourth-generation music professor and a graduate of both the Curtis Institute of Music and Columbia University, Walters believes that his educational experiences and background instilled in him a strong commitment to teaching—especially at the undergraduate level. “The ideals of intensive musical training coupled with a broad education have profoundly shaped my own life,” says Walters. “It is a great joy for me to help undergraduates forge a similar path for themselves at such a rich and vital time in their lives.
“The principles that I share with my students at Oberlin are ones that I constantly refer to while performing with the Cleveland Orchestra,” says Walters. “My Oberlin students recognize that for me, teaching and playing are, as the poet William Mathews suggests, ‘two parts of a single and seamless investigation.’”
Throughout his teaching career, Walters has helped students of both instruments attain positions with the orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Rochester, Seattle, and San Francisco.
“The level of playing keeps getting higher and higher,” says Walters. “I’m convinced that our good fortune is a direct result of a teaching style that seeks to mirror that of the Oberlin Conservatory itself. We offer a world-class musical education that places self-discovery on equal footing with instrumental mastery.”
Robert Walters joined the Cleveland Orchestra as solo English horn and oboe at the beginning of the 2004-05 season. He previously held the same positions with the Metropolitan Opera and the Cincinnati Symphony. From 1990 to 1996, he performed and recorded with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, among other ensembles. He also was a frequent performer with James Levine and the MET Chamber Ensemble at Carnegie Hall.
Walters has appeared as guest soloist with the Chicago Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Other solo engagements include performances with the Beijing Radio Symphony and Curtis Symphony Orchestra. He has been a faculty member of the Colorado College Summer Music Festival since 2003 and the Aspen Music Festival since 2005. He became a member of the oboe faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in February 2006. Previously, he has taught oboe at Bard, Haverford, and the University of Pennsylvania.
A native of Los Angeles, Walters earned a Bachelor of Music degree at the Curtis Institute of Music and a Master of Fine Arts degree at Columbia University, Graduate Writing Division. He spent five summers at the Marlboro Music Festival and toured as a member of Musicians from Marlboro. He also participated in the National Repertory Orchestra, the Bard and Spoleto festivals, and the Kent/Blossom Music program. Walters studied with Richard Woodhams, principal oboe of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the late John Mack, former principal oboe of the Cleveland Orchestra.
The Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Awarded the 2009 National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music is renowned internationally as a professional music school of the highest caliber. Praised as a “national treasure” by the Washington Post, the conservatory, founded in 1865 and situated amid the intellectual vitality of Oberlin College since 1867, is the oldest continuously operating conservatory in the United States. Oberlin’s alumni enjoy illustrious careers in all aspects of the music world. They have achieved prominence as solo performers; chamber, orchestral, and jazz musicians; composers; conductors; and music educators, scholars, and administrators.