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English Horn

Robert Sheena

Beranek chair, endowed in perpetutity, Boston Symphony Orchestra

Robert Sheena headshot with English horn


Robert Sheena has been the English horn player of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops Orchestra since 1994, during which time his uniquely vocal style of playing has garnered accolades from audience members and the media alike. In his more than 20 years as a member of the BSO, Sheena has performed as soloist with the orchestra on several occasions, most notably in the world premiere performances of George Tsontakis's Sonnets — a BSO commission composed specifically for him — at Symphony Hall in February 2016 with Andris Nelsons conducting, followed by a Tanglewood performance that August. He has also been featured in BSO performances at Tanglewood of André Previn's Reflections and Aaron Copland's Quiet City. With the Boston Pops, he has been featured at Symphony Hall in Quiet City and Michael Daugherty's Spaghetti Western. From 1987 to 1991 Sheena was the assistant principal oboe and English horn of the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Since then, he has made numerous trips to perform in Asia, not only with the BSO, but also in Japan as a guest English hornist with the Super World Orchestra in 2001, Affinis Music Festival in 2009, and Seiji Ozawa's Saito Kinen Orchestra in 2014. From 1991 until he joined the BSO in 1994 he was assistant principal oboe and English horn with the San Antonio Symphony. From 1984 to 1987 he was a freelance oboist in the Chicago area, playing in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and frequently as a substitute oboist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Sheena is an instructor of both oboe and English horn at Boston University's School of Music and Tanglewood Institute, Boston Conservatory, Berklee, and the Longy School of Music of Bard College. An alumnus of Tanglewood Music Center, he works with the fellowship oboists there every summer as a TMC faculty member, coaching them in chamber music and giving English horn master classes. Sheena occupies the Beranek Chair in the woodwind section of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

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