Gail Hennessy

Baroque & Classical Oboe Tutor

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Gail Hennessy was born in Wisconsin in the USA, and studied modern oboe at the University of Louisville before taking up a position as cor anglais player in North Carolina. There she encountered a baroque oboe for the first time, and fell in love with its sound. This, together with her empathy for baroque music, led her to study Historical Performance Practice at Washington University, and ultimately drew her to Britain. She was an apprentice to baroque oboe-maker Mary Kirkpatrick in Oxfordshire, and studied baroque oboe with the late David Reichenberg through the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

She now has a busy career playing and recording with many British baroque ensembles, including The Academy of Ancient Music, New London Consort, The Parley of Instruments, Fiori Musicali, La Serenissima, and Birmingham-based Ex Cathedra. She appears as a soloist and chamber musician around the world, and has broadcast as a soloist on BBC Radio 3, and on radio in France, Denmark, Japan, Switzerland, Belgium and the USA. She also encourages composers to write new music for old instruments, and has premiered works by Jennifer Fowler (1988), Roderick Williams (2004), Rhian Samuel (2008), and Thea Musgrave (Jan 2011).

In addition to her work at Birmingham Conservatoire, she teaches baroque oboe at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London), the Royal College of Music (London), Dartington International Summer School and the Cambridge Early Music Summer School. Her highly acclaimed recordings of Bach sonatas and Vivaldi chamber music are available on the Signum label.