Rachael Clegg

Principal Oboe

Working as one of Britain’s busiest freelance oboists, I was born in Lancashire and have based myself in the North of England after studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. A deep love of chamber music emerged whilst I was still a student and formed an Oboe Trio playing at the Purcell Room in London and throughout the UK. The composer James McMillan wrote a piece called ‘Intersession’ which we performed at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

In recital, I have performed with pianist, Kathryn Stott. Since 1999, I have been principal oboe with Manchester Camerata. Highlights include acclaimed recordings, such as the complete cycle of Beethoven Symphonies under Douglas Boyd. In addition, I have been a frequent concerto soloist with the orchestra, performing concertos by Mozart, Strauss and Vaughan Williams to critical acclaim.

Most recently I have recorded the Mozart Piano and Wind Quintet with Camerata wind soloists and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet for Chandos. I am also very committed to my work in the education field and frequently participate in workshops.  For 25 years, I have been on the staff of Chetham’s School of Music where I have a thriving class of young oboists.

During recent seasons, I have played Principal Oboe with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and have toured with the John Wilson Orchestra. In 2010, I appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Colin Davis at the Barbican, London and most recently with the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall where I continue to be a regular guest principal oboe, performing at the Proms in London and regularly recording with the orchestra.

Eight years ago our son Francis died suddenly. My body and mind felt like a war zone, shocked, unpredictable and shattered. After the love of family and friends, the two things which carried me forwards were playing music and running.

Playing the oboe and running are now intrinsically bound together. I now run (usually with my club, Chorlton Runners) between 12-20 miles per week and I have a body stronger at 50 than ever before in my life, with a lung capacity which boosts my oboe sound, and therefore confidence, more than I ever hoped.

Parkrun is my favourite. Every Saturday morning at 9am, hundreds of runners sprint, jog or walk 5k. I’m currently 7 runs off my 100 Parkrun T-shirt! It’s a community thing, all in it together, striving to do better and the relief at the end is similar to an orchestral concert!
Then there is the psychological aspect – physical exercise clears the mind, releases endorphins… happy Rachael.