Meet the Musicians: Wes Nichols, oboe

by Sandy Brotman

Principal oboist Wesley Nichols is one of the longest-performing artists with Amadeus Concerts.

When asked about his choice of instrument, Wes said, “I am not sure whether I chose the oboe or it chose me,” implying that it was meant to be and not an option for him to play any other. Further, he feels there is some kind of connection between the instruments and the personality types of those who play them.

The oboe is best known for its ability to sing because it has wonderful vocal characteristics. While it is often called upon to play the melody due to its timbre and intensity, an equal part of the challenge of orchestral playing is to blend with other instruments.

There are some showpieces for the oboe, such as Le Tombeau de Couperin (Ravel), and La Scala de Seta (Rossini), both of which Amadeus has performed. In fact, the lively and colorful overture to La Scala was part of our September concert.

As glittering as those moments are, Wes says that often the most rewarding ones are quiet, with the movements created by a skilled composer using the instrument for what it does best: haunting solos, brilliant accents, pungent blends.

Personal note: Even when the oboe is being used for its color, supporting other instruments, I enjoy keying in on it. You might try it. There are some achingly beautiful phrases to be found there.

For the past twenty years, Wes has run a real estate business for commercial clientele. He feels that he has crafted his life to allow space for his primary loves: his son, his marriage of thirty years, his oboe, and then his job.