Hometown: Pennington, New Jersey Member: 1986
Eric Olson’s brother starting playing the trumpet when Eric was eight. That led Eric to the recorder and two years later to the oboe.
What do you want patrons of the Symphony to know about you?
As an oboist, I make my own reeds. (All oboe players do). And we spend at least 10 hours a week doing this.
Do you have any pre-concert rituals or routines?
Not really. I do have to eat dinner before I have an evening concert. Some musicians can’t eat before they play, but I don’t fall into that category. I just try to stay relaxed and focused.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a professional musician?
Probably a scientist. My father has a Doctorate in Chemistry and still does research at the age of 80. My mother also has a Chemistry degree, and my brother has Doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of Chicago.
What teacher, mentor or other influencer inspired you the most?
Two teachers in particular. Louis Rosenblatt, former English horn player of the Philadelphia Orchestra helped me develop proper playing habits and basic concepts and advanced concepts of musical phrasing. Ray Still taught helped guide my sound to being a relaxed vocal sound. He also taught me strong concepts in performing major orchestral repertoire with solid rhythm and correct style.
What do you do in your spare time?
What is that? Playing principal oboe in the orchestra is nearly a 24/7 job. During 365 days of the year, I probably have my oboe in my hand all but 10-15 days. I am also involved at my church, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in the southern San Marco area of Jacksonville.
What has been your favorite moment on stage?
Too many to name. Anytime my reeds are working ok and the orchestra is making good music is a favorite moment.
Do you have pets?
We have a cat Eleanor who runs at the first sound from either my oboe or my wife Ellen’s viola. Other than being afraid of music, she is a sweet cat.
Who is your favorite composer?
I have several. Mozart is up at the top.
Playing under Leonard Bernstein on Sibelius Symphony no. 2 at Tanglewood in 1986, and playing 1st oboe on the Beethoven Piano Concerto no 4 with Seiji Ozawa conducting and Alfred Brendel as the piano soloist (1992) at Tanglewood. Playing guest principal oboist with the Baltimore Symphony for a month including a 10-day tour of Japan (2002). Recording (first recording of the piece) Bill Douglas’ “Songs and Dances” for oboe and string quartet, with the San Marco Chamber Music Society for Albany Records.
Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University