Since 1994 Robert Sheena has been the principal English horn player for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops Orchestra. As a result of his mastery of his instrument, Mr. Sheena has been honored with several premieres and appearances as soloist with the BSO/BPO and has received much critical and audience acclaim.
He was a featured soloist in Andre Previn’s Reflections (BSO 1996), and Aaron Copland’s Quiet City (BSO and BPO in 2000). In 1999 and 2007 he performed the solo English horn in Sibelius’s Swan of Tuonela with the BSO during subscription weeks in Symphony Hall. Gabriel Gould’s Watercolors (1998) and William Pfaff’s During Wind and Rain (2005)are works commissioned expressly for him, by David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony and Adam Grossman and the Master Singers of Lexington, respectively. In 1998 he gave the world premiere of Daniel Pinkham’s Odes for English horn and Organ at the American Guild of Organists convention. More recently, renown Boston area composer Marti Epstein wrote two works for him: Quartet (for the inauguration of Karen Zorn as the President of Longy in 2007) and Bloom, which he premiered with the Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble in April of 2009.
Mr. Sheena makes frequent trips to perform in Japan. In August 2009 he traveled to Hiroshima as part of the International Affinis Chamber Music Festival, where he had the honor of playing with musicians from all over the world. In 2001, he performed the famous solo from Dvorak’s “Symphony from the New World” with the Super World Orchestra and Lorin Maazel in Tokyo. He also enjoys playing Chamber Music in Tokyo with his colleague in the BSO Oboe section, Keisuke Wakao.
Mr. Sheena is on the oboe and English horn faculties of Boston University, the Boston Conservatory, and the Longy School of Music. An alumnus of the Tanglewood Music Center, he now works with TMC Fellows in chamber music coachings and master classes at Tanglewood. Along with BSO principal oboe John Ferrillo, he co-directs an intensive two-week summer workshop for young oboists at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.
Prior to joining the BSO Mr. Sheena performed frequently as an extra with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. From 1987 to 1991 he was Assistant Principal Oboe and solo English horn with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and with the San Antonio Symphony from 1991 to 1994. He received his bachelor of music degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his master of music degree from Northwestern University. He has studied the oboe intensively with such masters of the instrument as Ray Still, Grover Schiltz, William Banovetz, John Mack and Marc Lifschey.