Since his appointment as principal oboe of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1977, RICHARD WOODHAMS has earned a reputation as being among the world's foremost oboists. He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with John de Lancie. Woodhams has appeared as soloist on numerous occasions throughout the United States in a variety of repertoire. He has performed and recorded Richard Strauss' Oboe Concerto with Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra and has also recorded two concertos by the 18th-century astronomer, composer, and oboist William Herschel with Philadelphia's Mozart Orchestra. Woodhams gave the United States premiere of Helios by Thea Musgrave with Philadelphia's Orchestra 2001 and the world premiere of Bernard Rands' Concertino with the Network for New Music. Most recently he premiered chamber works by Ned Rorem, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Chuck Holdeman, and William Bolcom with the Guarneri Quartet.
Woodhams is a member of the faculties of the Curtis Institute and Temple University. He also serves as principal oboe of the World Orchestra for Peace, founded by Georg Solti in 1995. Under its current music director, Valery Gergiev, Woodhams has performed recently with that orchestra in Europe, Russia, and the Far East. In September 2007, he will participate for the second time as a judge in the International Oboe Competition of the Bavarian Radio.
Born into a musical family in Palo Alto, California, Woodhams began his orchestral career as principal oboe of the Saint Louis Symphony, and he has also played temporarily in the same capacity with the Chicago Symphony and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He is a regular participant in the Aspen and La Jolla music festivals, and was a soloist on the Philadelphia Orchestra's 2005 spring tour of the Far East.