Bethany Slater is an oboist, reed-maker, and ceramicist based in Washington DC. She is the oboist and English hornist for Inscape, a chamber orchestra that predominantly performs music of emerging American composers. Inscape has recorded two albums and two EPs under the Sono Luminus label. Their debut album, "Sprung Rhythm," was nominated for a Grammy.
Bethany has appeared frequently with the Windham Chamber Music Festival, and the Pikes Falls Chamber Music Festival. Previously, she held the positions of principal oboe with the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra and 2nd oboe of Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra.
In 2007 Bethany was one of five finalists in the Gillet International Oboe Competition sponsored by the International Double Reed Society. She has also been featured twice on the McGraw Hill Young Artist Showcase on WQXR.
She received a BM in oboe performance from the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Richard Killmer. She then continued her studies with David Walter at the Paris Conservatory with a Fulbright grant.
Bethany plays a model M2 Marigaux oboe.
When not at her reed desk or practicing, she is most often found in her pottery studio, teaching wheel classes at the District Clay Center, or selling her ceramics at DC markets.
Bethany's Reed Shop Story
Bethany began selling oboe reeds way back in 2004 to just her teacher's students. Word got out, more and more requests started coming in, new products were offered, and a website was built. Now, selling reeds has turned into a full-time job with customers spanning the globe. The daily problem-solving required in reed-making keeps things interesting, and building close relationships with her customers makes it gratifying.
People love to ask Bethany these questions:
"Do you watch TV while you make reeds?"- Nope. Never. However, I listen to podcasts while I scrape blanks. You know, the usual This American Life and RadioLab, but my newest faves are Meet the Composer, Ear Hustle, and 99% Invisible.
"Do you keep all the best reeds for yourself?"- Ironically, I keep all the worst reeds for myself- the ones that leak or are chipped. You know what they say about the cobbler's children, right?