THE INSIDE STORY: Margaret Herlehy and ROSEWOOD CAFÉ

Margaret Herlehy, professor at the University of New Hampshire and woodwind virtuoso, has released ROSEWOOD CAFÉ, a new collection of Latin inspired music for the oboe.

Today, Margaret is our next featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to hear about what she calls her live “face malfunction”…

Who were your first favorite artists growing up?

I was raised in an urban area and was fortunate to have had exposure to all kinds of music. When I was very young, anything Motown was at the top of my list for listening and dancing. My sister and I would play the 45’s of The Temptations and early Jackson 5 until there were holes in the vinyl. Recess in my elementary school usually involved music and some form of playground choreography.

What was the most embarrassing thing that happened to you during a performance?

Many people have wardrobe malfunctions, I had a face malfunction during a performance of the Marcello Concerto many years ago. This is an incredible piece for oboe and orchestra with a beautiful, slow movement that is very challenging to play because of the long phrases. The stamina and strength became a bit of a concern at the dress rehearsal when I split my lip, but thankfully the performance the next evening went very well. It wasn’t until I came out for a bow that I realized that my lip was in pretty rough shape from all of the playing. There was nothing that I could do except bow and watch the blood drip to the floor in front of a very unsuspecting front row. It was actually quite gruesome.

If you could do any job in the world and make a living at it, what would that be?

I am happy to say that I would do the exact same thing that I am doing now. I cannot imagine life without creating music and sharing it with others. It’s the “making a living” part that needs to be worked out.

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What was your favorite musical moment on the album?

The recording sessions were all amazing. We recorded the entire album in three days, with little rehearsal. The chemistry was great. Performances were spontaneous and very inspired. Cedar House Sound is a beautiful studio and our engineer Gerry Putnam made everyone feel at home and relaxed.

Henrique Eisenmann and I were getting ready to record Choro Negro. This session was our first meeting. He was recommended to me by Fernando Brandao who, in addition to playing beautiful flute on two of the tracks, coached me on interpreting Brazilian music through the entire project. Henrique was getting a feel for the piano and playing through a few tunes. We discussed tempo and decided to record, even though we had never played together. Henrique improvised the most exquisite intro that led Choro Negro to a place that I had no idea existed! We went with it, and then he finessed the ending with this Poulencesque sequence of intervals that nearly brought me to tears. It was a real moment and everyone in the studio knew it.

What does this album mean to you personally?

This project has been my musical leap of faith. I love to play the oboe and I love music, but I have been looking for another outlet for my playing and for the oboe’s voice for quite some time. The melodies in Choro Negro and the timbre of the oboe are so well suited and (as daunting as this is for me as a classically trained musician) I am really enjoying getting off the page.

Is there a specific feeling you want listeners to tune into when hearing your work?

I hope that they feel joy.

ROSEWOOD CAFÉ is now available through Big Round Records for streaming on purchase. Click here to explore this new album.

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