MANA SHIBATA

oboe

@manashibata

Where are you from?

I'm originally from Tokyo, Japan. I came to England when I was 13 to study at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester. 

Why and when did you start playing the oboe?

When I said I wanted to join the school wind band, the music teacher got a very dusty box out of his store room which contained an oboe and told me to play it! I was 10 and instantly became obsessed with the oboe!  

 

Where and with whom did you study?

After having 5 wonderful years learning with Valerie Taylor at Chetham's, I studied at Royal Academy of Music with Tess Miller, Celia Nicklin and Emanuel Abbühl. I took my Master's at Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Alison Teale, Richard Simpson and Gordon Hunt. 

Where can we see you in action outside Magnard?

As a freelance oboist I get to work with several orchestras such as Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Manchester Camerata, and I have worked as the principal oboist with Scottish Opera as a trialist. I'm currently on trial with City of London Sinfonia, who play at Opera Holland Park every summer. I also teach privately in Cheshire.

 

Career highlights?

Lots of great memories so far but I think one of the most memorable is playing in the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House conducted by Placido Domingo. I worked as an usher at the House for 7 years before that so it was exciting in so many ways!

What would be your Desert Island Discs?

I love listening to David Bowie and the Beatles. Ballet scores are incredible so Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet, Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and Nutcracker. If I'm allowed a couple more, Le Nozze di Figaro and Tristan und Isolde. How many am I allowed?! 

What is your lifelong dream?

To play Swan Lake with Marianela Nunez dancing Odette/Odile. Although I'd want to be watching too so maybe I could play on stage...? 

What do you love besides music?

As you might have guessed, I love ballet. I trained quite seriously before I took up the oboe but I was never going to make it. I also love classic novels - Austen, Brontë sisters, Trollope, Gaskell etc.

 

If you weren’t a professional oboist, what would you have been instead?

I was also a child actor so I would love to have carried on acting. I'm not sure I would have survived though - the acting world is even more cut-throat!!

What’s your favourite food?

I love food and would eat anything but nattō will always have a special place in my heart (or should that be my stomach?). If you don't know what that is... Google it but don't judge me. I'm Japanese.

Who is your icon?

Marianela Nunez and Charlotte Brontë. They've both made me cry in a good way. 

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