player and oboist who attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and
Temple University, from which she earned a Master’s degree in
music. She also earned the
Henri Kohn Memorial Prize from the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood, California, on the merit of her work in
their Fellowship Program. In
1986, she performed in Carnegie Recital Hall in the final round of the Lucarelli International Oboe Competition. (She had already won the Temple
University Soloists Competition and the University of Michigan Concerto
In 1987, she
appeared on the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia album, Gloria! Gloria!.
streak continued when she was dubbed Associate Principal Oboe for The
Philadelphia Orchestra and then Principal Oboe for the Pittsburgh Symphony
Orchestra, a chair she has occupied from 1991 to the present.
One of her
first concerts with them would have been at Carnegie Hall in October 1991, an
all-Sibelius affair for which she was specifically mentioned as a highlight
in the New York Times review. It
would not be the last time.
November 1993, she helped premiere Leonardo Balada’s
“Music for Oboe and Orchestra:
Lament from the Cradle of the Earth” and later recorded it
with the PSO on a CD entitled Balada/Lees/Zwilich: Wind Concertos, which was
released in 1997. Accompanying
it on the shelves was 25th
Anniversary International Double Reed Society, on which Cynthia, Nancy Goeres and Andre Previn
premiered Andre’s “Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano”.
Cynthia and Nancy reunited for Nancy Galbraith’s “Incantation
and Allegro”, a piece written specifically for them, on the album, Galbraith: Four Chamber Works. She released her first solo effort, Classic Discoveries for Oboe, on
Boston Records, a mixed bag of works by Arthur Bliss, Frederick Delius,
Paul Dukas, and Pietro
Do you believe
in the healing power of music?
Cynthia does, and so does Brian Simpson, a longtime asthmatic who was told by a doctor that he had between six and
nine months to live after undergoing respiratory arrest. Bed-ridden, Brian took comfort in an
article he read about an English asthmatic who improved his lung
performance by playing the oboe.
This, coupled with a copy of Classic
Discoveries for Oboe, inspired him to start playing the instrument,
which he had played while in college.
He went from playing minutes at a time to about three hours per day
and has managed to rehabilitate himself, although he still requires the use
of an oxygen tank. Brian has a
full-time job, working as an asthmatic and respiratory therapist at Elk
Regional Health Center in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania. He also got to meet Cynthia, who
gave him some quick pointers, and attend one of her concerts with the PSO.
March 2005, the PSO performed the first symphony of Johannes Brahms at
Heinz Hall under the baton of Charles Dutoit, and
once again, Cynthia was acknowledged in a review for her easy-on-the-ears, technically
her second compact disc, Mist over the
Lake, in 2006, another eclectic collection featuring music by Arthur
Bliss, Jan Freidlin (who wrote the title track), Amilcare Ponchielli, and others.
February 2007, she offered up a freebie master class at West Virginia
University’s Bloch Learning and Performance Hall, located in the
Creative Arts Center. She has
also helped out at the Mazeroski Sports Camp/Notes
for the Heart Music Camp, a unique events that affords children an
opportunity to meet athletes and musicians from the Pittsburgh area.
2009, she soloed on a rarely performed oboe concerto attributed to Franz Joseph
Haydn, which shared an unusual double bill with Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.
The PSO went
on a tour of Europe in the summer of ’09 and have posted something of
a photographic scrapbook online.
(A link is listed below.)
2010, the Pittsburgh Symphony Pops presented an evening of show tunes with
Marvin Hamlisch wielding the baton and
you-know-who getting a pretty nice write-up in the Post-Gazette. She
also garnered kudos for her solo work during the second movement of Brahms’
violin concerto, no small feat when the violinist was Anne-Sophie Mutter.
As you can
probably tell, Cynthia Koledo-DeAlmeida is
popular among colleagues, critics, listeners, and students. She teaches at Carnegie Mellon
University, where she also serves as Coordinator of the Woodwind
Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of
Fidelis (Frederick Oakely/John Francis Wade)
Soprano – Benita Valente
Conductor – Michael Korn