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Introducing Paul Leuders, Principal Oboe

by Neil Kimel

After our beloved Judith Kulb retired at the end of last season, Paul Lueders was asked to play the important position of acting principal oboe. Paul got his BM and MM in music from the New England Conservatory and he came to us from his role as principal oboe of the San Antonio Symphony for the past eight seasons. In his “spare” time, Paul has also performed with some of the nation’s top orchestras, including those of Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Baltimore and Detroit.

The position requires its occupant to be an expressive soloist as well as a sensitive chamber musician. In addition to giving our tuning note, the principal oboe is given countless lyrical and technical solos in the operatic repertoire. Paul had the challenging job of being dropped into this position as part of a well-established wind section, testing his ability to be a leader while blending seamlessly into our orchestra. Needless to say, he did brilliantly.

His next and greatest challenge was to prove to Maestro Mazzola and a committee of our players that he was not only the person to occupy the chair for the one-year job but that he should be its permanent resident! Paul stepped up to the competitive challenge to audition for the principal oboe position in mid-March and was ultimately chosen the winner. We are all thrilled to congratulate and welcome Paul permanently to the orchestra. The next time you hear a gracefully flowing or impossibly technical oboe solo, it is more than likely Paul!

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