Principal Oboe, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
Principal Oboe of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 2007, Erik Behr was previously Principal Oboe of the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet. He has performed as guest principal with the San Francisco Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Nashville Symphony. During the summer he performs with his wife, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Concertmaster Juliana Athayde, at the Sun Valley Music Festival and the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra as principal oboe. His other festival appearances include the Edinburgh International, Casals, Maribor, and Spoleto festivals.
In addition to numerous other concerto appearances, Behr performed the world premiere of Allen Shawn’s oboe concerto in 2018, commissioned for Behr and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2017, he performed the world premiere of Guggenheim Fellow Adam Roberts’s oboe quartet, which was commissioned for Behr and the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester, where he is Artistic Director with his wife.
His playing has been praised by critics as “bold and graceful” (Washington Post), “immaculate” (Sunday Tribune), singled out for “tremendous musicianship and sense of style” (Irish Examiner), and for “ease and eloquence” (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle).
Currently Adjunct Professor at Roberts Wesleyan College, he has also been a guest oboe teacher at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Rice University, the National Orchestral Institute, and Carnegie Hall’s NYO-USA. Behr has served on the oboe faculty at the University of Houston and was a visiting lecturer at Cornell University. He received a Bachelor of Music degree (cum laude) from Arizona State University, a Master of Music degree from Temple University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Rice University. His principal teachers include Robert Atherholt, Richard Woodhams, and Martin Schuring.