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Robert Botti


The Lizabeth and Frank Newman Chair


Oboist Robert Botti (The Lizabeth and Frank Newman Chair) joined the New York Philharmonic in 1992, having been principal oboe of the New York City Opera Orchestra. He has appeared as soloist with the New York Symphonic Ensemble and performed in the Grand Teton, Bach Stony Brook, and Music from Colorado festivals. He has collaborated and recorded with Gunther Schuller and Wynton Marsalis as a guest artist with Jazz at Lincoln Center, and is a member of the Sylvan Winds, with whom he has given many premieres. He can be heard on recordings with the Philharmonic’s Principal Bassoon Judith LeClair, Sylvan Winds, Philharmonia Virtuosi, New York Kammermusiker, Amadeus Ensemble, and Harmonie Ensemble; he is featured on the premiere recording of Arnold Sturm’s Suite for Oboe and Piano. Botti holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School. He is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and SUNY–Purchase, and has given master classes at Yale, Princeton, and Indiana universities.

I had actually planned to go into medicine and become a surgeon, but a revelatory experience at a summer music camp changed my mind.

Interview with Robert Botti

THE FACTS: Born in New York City. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School. Prior to the Philharmonic: principal oboe with the New York City Opera Orchestra and principal oboe with the Opera Orchestra of New York. At the Philharmonic: Joined September 1992. Teaches at the Manhattan School of Music.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: The Young People’s Concerts with Leonard Bernstein. My father was a bassist in the Philharmonic and I would frequently attend YPCs with my mother and siblings. My mother was a violinist and pianist and she introduced me to both instruments at an early age. My grandfather and great uncle were trumpeters who had worked with Toscanini. Sunday dinners always included renditions of famous orchestral trumpet excerpts (especially the “The Lone Ranger” theme from Rossini’s William Tell). I was taken with the instrument but couldn’t begin studying it because I had braces at the time. My parents suggested the oboe; I tried it and I loved it.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN? I didn’t decide until my senior year in high school. I had actually planned to go into medicine and become a surgeon, but a revelatory experience at a summer music camp changed my mind.

WHO WERE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES? I had the good fortune to study with Harold Gomberg and Ronald Roseman when they were both still performing as Principal Oboists with the Philharmonic. They had different approaches to the instrument, but both were hugely inspirational to me as a young musician.

MOST INSPIRING COMPOSER: If there’s one, it would have to be Bach — for me he’s up there pretty close to God.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA: Alan Gilbert and Giants Are Small's productions of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre and Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen, and the concert we played at Park Avenue Armory where the Orchestra surrounded the audience, also led by Alan Gilbert.

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN LISTENING TO LATELY? I listen to a very eclectic mix of things on my iPod, from piano works that my daughter is working on to Hermeto Pascoal to old Genesis.

DO YOU PERFORM IN OTHER GROUPS? I enjoy playing with the New York Philharmonic Ensembles and at chamber music festivals during the summer.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? I look for any excuse to spend time outdoors hiking or camping with my five children.

As of March 2014

Upcoming 2023-2024 Performances

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