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Meet Cassie Pilgrim: Our new Principal Oboist

As we welcome a new generation of wind players recently joining the SPCO, our 2019-2020 season will be known as a celebration of winds. Cassie Pilgrim, unanimously chosen as our new Principal Oboist, will be featured throughout the season in her new permanent role. She looks forward to starting her first official orchestra position with the SPCO this September.

Cassie will be featured in many of our season’s highlights, such as Rossini’s beautiful oboe solo in The Silken Ladder, Telemann’s Quartet in A Minor for winds, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, and the exciting Serenade for Winds by Dvořák.

She described her new role as an opportunity to connect with the audience on a deeper level, allowing others to get to know her in a different way that can only be accessed through music and performing.

How did Cassie end up playing the oboe? The notoriously difficult double-reed woodwind caught her eye at the age of ten when she needed an instrument that could fit comfortably in her school bag. Ultimately, however, its difficulty created a thrilling challenge that she could not resist taking on. Today, she has accumulated experience that includes performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as well as appearances at Festival Mozaic, Music from Angel Fire, Aspen Music Festival, and Colorado College Summer Music Festival. Additionally, she was a recent Artist Diploma student of Robert Walters at the Oberlin Conservatory, and she previously studied with Elizabeth Koch Tiscione and Richard Woodhams at the Curtis Institute of Music.

“To think I get to perform with the very orchestra whose recordings always charmed and inspired awe in me — I’m very grateful!”

Throughout her education and extensive performing, she looked to the SPCO for a large source of inspiration, explaining that “to think I get to perform with the very orchestra whose recordings always charmed and inspired awe in me — I’m very grateful! I’m beyond excited to make music with my world-class colleagues and engage with the Twin Cities … The nature of it being a chamber orchestra, everything is more exposed. It’s a much tighter ship, so everyone has an important role. Playing without a conductor, you can feel everyone coming together through eye contact, movement, and so on. It can be stylistically very refined and delicate and bold at the same time. There’s no ceiling to what they can produce.”

“Everyone in the orchestra [the SPCO] has such a distinct musical voice,” continued Cassie, “but there’s also a collective voice coming out of that.” She is excited to be able to speak her mind, musically and verbally, and having it fit together within the ensemble.

Principal Flutist Julia Bogorad-Kogan, one of the SPCO musicians who will work most closely with Cassie, said, “The musicians are thrilled to welcome Cassie Pilgrim as our new Principal Oboist. This is such a key position for us, and Cassie has a great combination of skills as an ensemble player, leader, and beautiful soloist. It will be a pleasure to make music with her and watch her blossom in this role.”

Learn more about Cassie Pilgrim in the press release.