Katherine Needleman joined the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as principal oboist in 2003, the same year she won first prize at the International Double Reed Society’s Gillet-Fox Competition. As soloist, she has appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Albany Symphony, the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra, the Haddonfield Symphony, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia, in addition to her frequent appearances with the Baltimore Symphony. She has performed as guest principal oboist with the New York Philharmonic, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New Zealand, and San Diego.
Needleman’s chamber music engagements have taken her to Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York; Jordan Hall and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, as well as the Freer Gallery in Washington D.C. She has appeared at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, Italy’s Spoleto Festival, the Alpenglow Festival, the Newport Music Festival, and throughout Greenland. A participant at the Marlboro Music Festival, she has also appeared on two tours with “Musicians from Marlboro.”
Devoted to the music of our time, Needleman has premiered numerous works and has commissioned works by Luis Prado, Chia-Yu Hsu and David Ludwig. She gave the American premiere of Brenno Blauth’s Concertino and the West Coast premiere of Christopher Rouse’s Oboe Concerto at the Cabrillo Festival with Marin Alsop conducting. She gave the premiere of Kevin Puts’ oboe concerto, Moonlight, at the Baltimore Symphony’s New Music Festival with Marin Alsop in June, 2018.
In 2019-2020, Needleman continues to present a recital for oboe and piano with pianist Hanchien Lee of music by women composers. The program has been performed in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Tampa, New York City, Washington D.C., Oberlin, and Pittsburgh, and Kansas City. She is concurrently presenting a recital of music for oboe alone in Baltimore, Northfield MN, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Iowa City, Madison WI, Eau Claire WI, and Greensboro VT. An upcoming recital project involves suppressed music of “degenerate” composers. Needleman co-founded and curates Coffee, Patisserie, and Classical Music, a morning classical music series at An Die Musik, one of Baltimore’s most intimate venues.
A Baltimore native, Needleman attended high school at the Baltimore School for the Arts but left early to attend the Curtis Institute of Music, where she was a student of Richard Woodhams. She has been a member of the faculty at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University since 2005, and is currently on faculty at the Young Artist Summer Program at Curtis SummerFest.