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. She is principal oboist with the Portland Festival Symphony, Portland Summerfest Opera, 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.
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.
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. 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.
Andrea Llafet has a passion for collaborative music. For over 30 years she has been a collaborative pianist for numerous choral, instrumental and vocal recitals and competitions across the Northwest. Andrea holds a Masters degree in Teaching Music from Portland State University, where she taught class piano and collaborated with the Opera program. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano Performance from ORU in Tulsa, OK where she was twice featured soloist with the ORU orchestra and collaborative pianist with the ORU Concert Choir & Orchestra across Europe. She has studied with Donald Ryan, Robert Durso, Mary Kogen, Harold Gray, and Mary Field.
Andrea has worked as pianist/substitute keyboardist for Vancouver Symphony, Mt. Hood Pops Orchestra, Oklahoma Sinfonia and Tulsa Pops Orchestra. She has traveled across the country with Splendor Productions as pianist/keyboardist for pop, jazz and sacred vocal and instrumental ensembles. She has collaborated with numerous theatre groups including Theatre Tulsa and the Black Crooke Theater in Lake City, CO.
Andrea currently manages a full studio of piano students in Vancouver, is an active accompanist for recitals and competitions across the Northwest, and is on staff with the Evergreen School District as choral accompanist and assistant choir director.
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.
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 has served as a repair tech with the Northwest Oboe Seminar for several years, and often performs with our large ensemble for our evening concert.
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.