Jeffrey Rathbun was born in Lockwood, Missouri, USA, in 1959. After initially learning the piano with his parents, he began to play the oboe when he was ten. He attended the University of North Texas (Bachelor of Music) and the Cleveland Institute of Music (Master of Music), where he also studied composition with Eugene O’Brien. Rathbun has been awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from both institutions.
He has held oboe positions with the Honolulu, Oakland, San Francisco, and Atlanta Symphony Orchestras and, since 1990, has been Assistant Principal Oboe of The Cleveland Orchestra (serving as Principal from 2001-2003). In 1988, he was awarded First Prize in the Lucarelli International Competition for Solo Oboe Players. Rathbun gave his New York debut recital in 1990 performing his 3 Diversions for 2 Oboes with his former teacher, John Mack. They recorded and also performed this piece together upon numerous occasions.
Jeffrey Rathbun has taught at Kent State University and is a member of the woodwind faculty at the Kent-Blossom Chamber Music Festival (Ohio). Since 2006, he has been Professor of Oboe at the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Rathbun has given masterclasses across the United States and has been a frequent visiting professor at Indiana University.
He is an active composer. The Cleveland Orchestra gave the world premières of Daredevil (1995), Three Psalms of Jerusalem (1998) and Motions for ‘Cellos (2000). Many orchestras including, notably, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Ohio Chamber Orchestra and Ensemble Opera Nova, in addition to the Cleveland Orchestra, have performed his compositions. Rathbun has written several chamber works for oboe(s). In 2007, the ensemble CO5 premiered Phases for woodwind quintet.
When not performing or composing, Jeffrey Rathbun enjoys playing golf, practising martial arts, travelling, hiking and reading, with eclectic taste, from classics to science fiction.
A selection of M&V articles about Jeffrey Rathbun
Ensemble. Eagerly Awaited - Opening night at Severance Hall, by Suzanne Torrey
Ensemble. A Special Chemistry - Herbert Blomstedt conducts the Cleveland Orchestra, heard by Suzanne Torrey
Ensemble. A Delicate Touch - Frank Rosenwein plays the Strauss Oboe Concerto, enjoyed by Suzanne Torrey
Ensemble. Joyous and Well-paced - A semi-staged Verdi's 'Falstaff' in Cleveland, reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz