Oboe Talk Interview: Erin Hannigan

Name: Erin Hannigan

Current position or what role the oboe currently plays in your life (i.e. principal oboe, freelancer, etc.): I’m the Principal Oboist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and I am the Professor of Oboe at Southern Methodist University.

The kind of oboe you play: Loree Royal, 125 Model

Website or Blog (if you have one): www.erinhannigan.com and www.dsokids.com

1. Tell us your story about how you found the oboe… or how it found you.

My Dad had always liked the oboe, so he suggested that I try it when I was 7 years old. I looked it up in the dictionary since I had never heard of it. I was still pretty small when I started, and one of my earliest oboe memories is of dropping my first plastic oboe on the hardwood floor. It broke in half!

2. What’s your “secret recipe” for making a great oboe reed?

Patience, especially while working on the tip. The tip is the most important part of the reed, so go slow, and keep your knife very sharp! If I actually have the time, I definitely prefer working on reeds gradually over a couple days rather than all at once.

3. How do you motivate yourself when you run into challenges, or problems with reeds, or other oboe frustrations?

It’s like a puzzle to me, so I know that I just may need to approach the problem from a few different angles to find the solution. There never has been a problem that hard work, focus, and sometimes some guidance from a friend or teacher, has not overcome.

4. What one oboe “secret,” if someone had told it to you back when you were getting started, would have made your oboe journey even better than it’s been?

I think it would’ve been helpful to have someone tell me that there never was going to be a day when everything was suddenly easy, perfect, and no longer challenging. It’s very freeing when you finally realize that every oboist out there, even your most admired role model, is on a lifelong journey of learning this instrument. We are ALL learning every single day…there is no “point of arrival.”

5. What’s your favorite oboe piece EVER?

Any piece by J.S. Bach.

6. What ELSE do you enjoy doing outside of playing the oboe?

Enjoy working out at the gym, running long distances, reading, and being involved with dogs and dog rescue.

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