Barbara LaFitte

Affiliated Departments
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Career Highlights
  • Principal oboe of Boston Ballet Orchestra and Boston Classical Orchestra
  • Oboe/oboe d'amore/English horn player for Emmanuel Music and Boston Modern Orchestra Project
  • English horn player in Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, performances with John Williams, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Seth McFarlane, Kenny Loggins, Megan Hilty, Kristen Chenoweth, and the B-52s in the 2016 season alone
  • Performances in numerous shows and back-up orchestras including Andrea Bocelli, Moody Blues, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, and Jethro Tull
  • Numerous solo performances
  • Recordings include theme for PBS show Frontline, Danilo Pérez's Grammy nominated Providencia, BMOP's Grammy-nominated recording of Stephen Mackey's Dreamhouse, Mitch Haupers' Invisible Cities, and Emmanuel Music's St. John's Passion
  • Fellowships to Tanglewood Music Center, Spoleto Festival dei Due Monde, and Aspen Music Festival
  • Recipient of Berklee Faculty Fellowship Grant (2015) to study at Jean-Luc Fillon's Oboe Academy for Improvisation in La Roche Guyon, Franc
  • Recipient of Berklee Faculty Travel Grant (2014) to present at the International Double Reed Society Conference in New York City
  • Private lessons with Louis Rosenblatt, Philadelphia Orchestra
  • M.M., Temple University
  • B.M., Arizona State University
In Their Own Words

"My teaching is based in the tradition of my own teacher, Louis Rosenblatt, who is one of the first-generation students of Marcel Tabuteau, the father of the American style of oboe playing. I incorporate a methodical approach to organized practicing, with the goal of covering all the bases: tone production and breath control, technical studies, and études with an emphasis on phrasing. I believe the best approach is to make playing as effortless and rewarding as possible."

"To be a good oboist, you must have an excellent sense of pitch and rhythm. You must have good phrasing skills, which include dynamic contrast. The oboe specifically is praised for its soulful sound, so a nice dark, velvety tone is imperative. To that end, a good understanding of the reed and excellent reed-making skills set the better players apart. Above all, you must be able to communicate the passion in the music and have all the elements up your sleeve in order to successfully accomplish that goal."

"My performance background, which is mainly in the classical realm, has encouraged me to teach my students all the skills necessary to succeed. Sometimes this goes beyond sheer talent. It also includes respectful camaraderie and the ability to play under any conditions. The art of being a good musician includes a positive attitude, as well as the ability to achieve consistent skills on your instrument."

"The possibilities for the oboist at Berklee are endless. My students tend to be more open-minded to the possibilities. They are not afraid to experiment with different repertoire, or to think 'outside of the Bachs.' They can study and transcribe works by jazz oboists such as Paul McCandless, Jean-Luc Fillon, and Nancy Rumbel. This variety keeps both myself and my students open-minded and willing to explore all musical genres."