With the RPO since: 2007
Favorite time of year in Rochester: summertime, outdoor activities: BBQ, Baseball, sitting on my porch
Hometown: Cape Town, South Africa
Drink you're most likely to order at Java's: Rooibos Tea
First music-related memory? I have a comforting memory enjoying Sunday dinners with my family in Cape Town around a large oak table where we would have a pot roast and listen to a LP. Long after those dinners I realized that those memories were of Verdi and other opera composers.
Influential teachers: Bob Atherholt, Richard Woodhams, Martin Schuring
What are your other "hidden" talents? I would NOT say I am talented but I love playing golf.
What other orchestras have you performed with? Houston Grand Opera and Ballet, Houston Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Slovenian Radio, Cape Town Symphony, Haddonfield Symphony
Oddest RPO concert memory ... My G# key fell off my instrument whilst playing a solo that revolved around that particular key and thanks to my colleagues I could use another oboe and nobody missed a step while I switched and tried to keep my wheel on the wagon!
Erik Behr was appointed Principal Oboe of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2007. Prior to joining the RPO, he was Principal Oboe of the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet. Behr has performed as guest principal with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, and as a guest with the Seattle and Houston symphonies. During the summer, he performs alongside his wife, RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde, at the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and Mainly Mozart Festival. He also has performed at the Spoleto and Casals Festivals, with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and in the world’s great concert halls as part of the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra under the baton of Kurt Masur.
In addition to numerous concerto appearances with the RPO and Houston Ballet, Behr has recorded Honegger’s Concerto da Camera with the RTV Slovenia Orchestra, and has performed concertos with European orchestras. He is a member of the World Wind Quintet, which has performed at the Edinburgh International Festival, Kilkenny Festival, and Maribor Festival. His playing has been praised by critics as “bold and graceful” (Washington Post), “immaculate” (Sunday Tribune), for its “tremendous musicianship and sense of style” (Irish Examiner) and “ease and eloquence” (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle).
Behr served on the oboe faculty at the University of Houston prior to joining the RPO and is presently Adjunct Professor at Roberts Wesleyan College and teaches private lessons at Cornell University. He received his bachelor’s degree (cum laude) at Arizona State University, his master’s from Temple University, and doctorate from Rice University. His principal teachers have been Robert Atherholt, Richard Woodhams, and Martin Schuring.