Emma Gibbons

IMG_9954_Emma GibbonsEmma grew up in Oxford and began her studies as a recorder player in the Early Music Department at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, but soon changed to study oboe with David Thomas. Whilst at Trinity, Emma won the Evelyn Rothwell Oboe Competition.

Emma continued her studies with a Master of Performance at the Royal College of Music, graduating in 2015. Here she studied with David Theodore, John Anderson and Christine Pendrill and was supported by a Douglas and Hilda Simmonds Award and Henry Wood Trust Award.

During her time at the Royal College of Music, Emma played under many esteemed conductors including Bernard Haitink, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Roger Norrington and John Wilson. She has also performed with the Britten-Pears Orchestra conducted by Semyon Bychkov and the London Sinfonietta Academy. Emma played on the recording for a newly commissioned ballet, Cassandra, which was performed by the Royal Ballet at the Linbury Theatre in October 2014.

Since graduating, Emma has worked with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the Orchestra of the English National Opera, London Contemporary Orchestra, the Orchestra of St Paul’s and Southern Sinfonia. As a concerto soloist and recitalist, Emma has performed in London and Oxford and was a finalist in the Royal College of Music Concerto Competition, performing the Mozart Oboe Concerto.

Emma’s place in Southbank Sinfonia is generously supported by The Kirby Laing Foundation.

Rush Hour #8: Highlands
I am very much looking forward to Rush Hour #8, especially Peter Maxwell Davies’ magnificent An Orkney Wedding, With Sunrise. Last summer I visited the Orkney Islands for the first time and I was mesmerised. Whilst there, I took a trip to Hoy – the island where Maxwell Davies lived for a time – and I experienced first-hand the wild winds and ancient rhythms that inspired his music. This piece in particular, with its surprising blend of sprightly energy, ragged rhythms and unpredictable melodic motifs, is Orcadian to its core, and I can’t wait to share it with the audience!

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What do you love about classical music?
I love the fluidity inherent in classical music. By this I mean that while a composer writes a piece with particular intentions, each time it is performed it is interpreted by the conductor and then rendered by the emotional response of each member of the ensemble. It can never be precisely the same twice; there is metamorphosis, which always makes live music so exciting.

What is your favourite piece of music, and why do you love it?
It is so difficult to pick just one piece, but I feel this would have to be Bach’s St Matthew Passion. I remember hearing it a lot in the house when I was growing up and I sang in it with my school choir when I was nine. I have a new favourite aria each time I listen to it and I try to get to a performance every year. I love the fact that every performance challenges your preconceptions and every hearing of it brings to light different aspects of the beauties within it.

What do you think concerts of the future should look like?
I would hope that there might be further movement towards greater accessibility for new audiences and more development of music for all. Perhaps (while not encouraging any sense of “dumbing down”) there might be more communication between performers and audience.

Emma tells us why she loves Strauss’ Four Last Songs…

Meet the rest of the orchestra