Kaitlin Kan ’18 Challenges Herself with Vaughan Williams Oboe

Taking a deep breath and placing her fingers carefully along her oboe, Kaitlin Kan ’18 launched into a lively tune, opening Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Concerto in A minor for Oboe and Strings. After a series of rapid trills, Kan slowed as she played a chain of ascending notes.

Kan said, “I think there is a section of the piece that is reminiscent of folk music… It’s very lively and bouncy, and I felt myself really falling into the music and getting into to the spirit of the section of the piece… That particular section I remember [as] successful just because I was just very much in ensemble with my accompanist and I could feel the energy of us just grooving to it.”

After finishing her auditions last year, Kan decided to challenge herself with one of Vaughan Williams pieces, which are known for being more challenging. She has been practicing this piece for about a year-and-a-half.

“I was generally pleased on how I played. I did experience major technical difficulties starting the second half… Because it was so dry, my reed started to collapse a little bit and the opening closed down… It put a lot of back pressure on my face, so it became a lot more difficult to breathe… I had to be very strategic about how I was going to breathe as to make it seem like an artistic choice in order to sustain myself for the end of the piece. It was an adventure,” said Kan.

Kan, a Senior from Villanova, Pa., has been studying oboe for eight years and currently studies with Amanda Hardy at the New England Conservatory (NEC) Preparatory School. She has participated in numerous orchestras including the NEC Youth Symphony, the Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra, and the Academy Symphony and Chamber Orchestras here at Andover.