Victoria Racz, B.M., M.M., was the principal oboist, featured soloist, and General Manager of the Oregon Chamber Players for the complete existence of the ensemble (1995-2014). She played principal oboe and was a soloist twice with the Newport Symphony (from 1995 – 2011), and has played oboe and English horn with Columbia Symphony, American Metropole Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, 45th Parallel, and principal oboe with other groups in the region, including the Oregon Chorale, ISing Choir, Portland Phoenix Choirs, and Vancouver Master Chorale, where she has also been a concerto soloist twice. She is principal oboist with the Portland Festival Symphony, Opera in the Park, and is also the oboist with the Con Grazia Wind Quintet, the OCP Quartet, Sirens Trio, Double Reed Divas, and Trio Adrato. She has performed with a diverse range of artists including performers such as Jane Siberry, Roberta Flack, Martha Reeves, Kurt Elling, and Jessye Norman. In August of 2020 she won the one-year principal oboe position with Portland’s Columbia Symphony for their 2020-’21 Season while their regular principal takes a sabbatical. She was the Acting Principal oboist for Portland Columbia Symphony's 2023 Season, and in January 2024 she auditioned and won the Principal position.
She is the Co-founder, General Manager and primary wind coach for the Junior Symphony of Vancouver, and is in demand throughout the Northwest as a teacher and adjudicator. She has written program notes and/or presented concert talks with organizations such as the Oregon Chamber Players, Junior Symphony of Vancouver, Portland’s Columbia Symphony, and Newport Symphony. From 1993 to 2000 she was the oboe professor at Marylhurst University in Oregon, and she was hired as oboe professor at Clark College, Washington, in 2022.
Several compositions have been written or arranged specifically for her by such composers/musicians as Dr. Matt Doran, Norman Leyden, Ray Pizzi, Jean Chatillon, and Timoteus Racz.
Kathy Stockwell-Riemann, B.M., Artist Diploma., studied with renowned oboists and teachers Dan Stolper (Michigan State University), and Sara Lambert Bloom & Robert Bloom (Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Artist Diploma Program) among others. She ran her own successful reed company out of Seattle, and has been the Reed Clinician and Assistant of the Northwest Oboe Seminar since 2001. Kathy was on leave for several years and we are excited that she is returning in 2023!!
She and Victoria met at Gail Warnaar's Double Reed Camp at Hope College in Michigan, where both Kathy and Victoria attended for many years.
Seattle based oboist Brent Hages, received his formal training at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Temple University, studying with James B. Caldwell, Alfred Genovese and Louis Rosenblatt.
Brent performs with most of the professional orchestras in the Pacific Northwest, including appearances with Mimi Hines, Idina Menzel, Il Divo, Celtic Woman, Andrea Bocelli, Johnny Mathis, and Evanescence. Past national tours of Wicked, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and Porgy and Bess. He regularly records with the Northwest Sinfonia Orchestra for movie and television scores- the most recent release of The Lumber Baron; video games (Diablo III, Destiny, Planetary Annihilation, World of Warcraft series) and with the Seattle Film Institute.
Formerly affiliated with Central Washington University, Cornish College of the Arts, and Seattle Pacific University as Adjunct Instructor of Oboe.
Aside from performing, he spends his time with his Whippet dogs, collecting vintage recordings, and has collected and restored the instruments of his former teachers that were used throughout their careers.
Michael C. Liu, MD, piano, has been a long-time faculty professor of family medicine at the Family Medicine of SW Washington Residency Program at the PeaceHealth SW hospital. He also has been the orchestral pianist for the Vancouver Symphony and board member for the VSO for more than 21 years. Dr. Liu has been playing the piano since the age of 4. He was an accomplished young musician growing up in the Chicago area and went on to receive degrees in both music and chemistry at the University of Illinois where he studied with the renowned pianist Ian Hobson. He was able to continue his music involvement throughout his medical school and residency training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN where he was both the soloist for and orchestral pianist for two orchestras. In addition to attending two summers at the Tanglewood young artist program studying chamber music and orchestral music, he also formed several piano trio groups and duo-piano teams over the years to explore and perform as much of the great repertoire written for those ensembles. In addition to his involvement with the VSO and its chamber series, he has also been the pianist for the Portland Chamber Music Group and a doctor jazz band group called the MED Trio Plus.
This will be his second time as our Seminar pianist, and we're thrilled to welcome him back!
Photo by Paul Quackenbush
Nicole Buetti is a highly dedicated musician, composer and educator. She is the contrabassoonist for the Vancouver (WA) Symphony, Portland Columbia Symphony and the Oregon Coast Music festival, and principal bassoonist in the Portland Choir Orchestra. She also freelances and performs with groups all across the pacific northwest. She has performed with the Haydn Music festival orchestra in Vienna, and as a soloist and chamber music artist with the Assisi Performing Arts Festival in Italy.
Nicole is also an award-winning composer, with nearly 400-recorded musical works in a wide variety of genres. She has composed extensively for chamber ensembles and large ensembles of various configurations, film and television music, as well as her passion - children’s music. In 2017, she released her 6th album of educational songs for children titled Just Be You! This album was honored by both the “Parent’s Picks Award for Top 5 Best Preschool and Elementary Music CD’s of 2018” and “2017 Educational CD of the Year” by Creative Child Magazine. Her highly acclaimed kid's music education program "Meet the Instruments" was also honored with a “Parent’s Picks Award" and a HTH Award for “Best Homeschooling Curriculum and Resources 2020-21."
Nicole teaches at the University of Portland, Willamette University and Clark College as well as maintaining a large private studio. She also enjoys teaching children around the world through online streaming with her children's learning songs and popular puppets - The Nirks®.
Victoria and Nicole perform together in the Con Grazia Wind Quintet and at the Vampire Ball (Nicole has been the Music Director for the ball for several years), as well as other groups around the region such as Vancouver Master Chorale, and subbing with Oregon Symphony. Be sure to check out our Meet The Instruments videos that Nicole brilliantly produced for Portland's Columbia Symphony. (Links provided below.)
In 2023 she will be joining the annual Northwest Oboe Seminar for the first time as an assistant, and bassoonist!
Victoria's Meet the Oboe, EH and assorted! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jMv5FOBVyk&t=42s
Nicole's Meet the Bassoon and Contrabassoon! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qN_u_geips&t=356s
Ann Crandall began her bassoon career at age 12 in 7th grade band. Band, and then orchestra, was so much fun, she stayed with the bassoon in spite of reed and repair woes. After high school there was a B.A. and a B.Mus. at University of Washington, a seven year stint in Tucson Symphony, Arizona Opera, and the faculty of University of Arizona, then off to graduate school at SUNY Stony Brook. As a student of Arthur Weisberg, Ms. Crandall earned master's and doctorate degrees and won the Sunwood Performance Award.
Since moving to Vancouver, WA, Ms. Crandall has served on the faculties of Willamette University and Portland State University, and has been a busy freelancer performing with all the major metro area ensembles while maintaining a private studio of bassoon students.
She was Principal Bassoon with Portland Opera for many years, and continues to perform throughout the region, including playing Principal Bassoon with the Portland Festival Symphony, and playing with the Vancouver Master Chorale Orchestra.
She has been assisting with the Northwest Oboe Seminar since 2010 and retired in 2023! THANK YOU, Ann!! She is invited to return and play in our large ensembles anytime she wishes.
Established in 1984, Mark Chudnow Woodwinds has been a leading innovator in the design and development of double reed products since its inception. Mark started as a repairman in 1980 and is one of only a handful of Americans trained at the F. Lorée factory in France! He brought to the business an understanding and creativity not formerly found in the field. Mark quickly brought to fruition some of the many ideas he had developed in his years of talking and listening to musicians' complaints involving instruments and accessories.
Among the innovative improvements are the CA and the Sierra line of staples. The CAs are the first line of staples to be consistent, seamless and chamfered. Mark's English Horn and Oboe d'amore bocals are also noteworthy. Each one is constructed with a "tenon cork" at the tip, insuring greater airtightness and security than any other bocal on the market. Extremely popular among reedmakers throughout the world are the precision MCW hollow ground knives.
On a whimsical note, Mark's introduction of colorful swabs has brightened the otherwise black or brown world of double reed accessories.
In 1990, the Sierra oboe was introduced as a natural extension of Mark's skills and interest. Debuting in 1991, the MCW Oboe represents Mark's endeavor to provide an oboe of professional quality at an affordable price. Designed for the intermediate to advanced level student, the MCW oboe truly represents handcrafted excellence for the serious student. Mark's first presentation at the Northwest Oboe Seminar was in 2000 with his topic, Secrets of Oboe Making!
MCW has been a Seminar sponsor since 1995 and has been our repair tech for the past several years.
Pablo Izquierdo received a masters degree in performance from University of Victoria, B.C. He played for 20 years with the Portland Opera, and currently performs with the Portland Chamber Orchestra, Portland Festival Symphony, and the Walla Walla Symphony. He has studied oboe repair with Tom Hiniker, is an adjunct faculty member at Reed College, and has a private oboe studio in Beaverton.
He served as our repair tech from 2005 through to 2016, and usually joins us now in our large ensembles, sometimes serving as an emergency sub for small ensembles as well!