Oboist Rachel Clegg plays in the Family Concert at this year’s Summer Festival. We caught up with her to find out more.

Rachael Clegg, oboe

What is your favourite piece of music?
Everyone says this but my favourite piece of music changes week by week! At the moment its Brahms Piano concertos, as | played one last week, I’d forgotten how amazing Brahms is! But if its got a good tune, particularly for the oboe, I’m sold. 

Tell us a little known fact about you…
Not about me, but my mum. In the 60’s she dated George Harrison (How cool?!) She was an art student and was into photography. Whilst in Guernsey taking photos she went to a gig of a little known band called the Beatles.. 

Any hobbies?
I love my garden! We are lucky to have space to grow vegetables. The area of Manchester we live has fertile soil and used to be the garden of Manchester where vegetables for the city were grown years ago. Also running, I managed 1100 km last year.

What or who inspired you to become a musician?
My Grandfather was a very keen amateur musician. He conducted the local orchestra where I grew up and played the organ in church. He thought the oboe would be a good idea as not many people choose it as its hard to make a nice sound to start with and the reeds are tricky.. he wasn’t wrong! 

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Festival?

I’m so looking forward to doing Peter and the Wolf by Prokoviev (arr Daniel Whibley) There are 6 of us, wind quintet and piano performing this amazing work in costume whilst playing and narrating. 

Which orchestras or ensembles have you’ve played with?
I’ve been a professional oboist for 30 years so I’ve played with quite a few! I’ve been with Manchester Camerata for 22 years. I love playing with the other two Manchester orchestras, BBC Philharmonic and the Halle. I’ve also played with LSO and LPO, and just before the pandemic I went to Australia to a chamber music festival. My job has led me on many travels for which I’m very grateful. 

Funniest / most embarrassing moment in music?
On my very first professional concert, I was playing off stage in Symphonies Fantastique by Berlioz. High up in the organ loft for the live broadcast I found I could barely see the music as it had gone dark between rehearsal and concert and there was no light. Luckily, I was young with good eyesight. I’m doing the same part again next week.. must remember glasses and stand light!


You can find out more about our Summer Festival by visiting our website, or buy tickets now from Ticketsource.