This oboe soloist’s reed split mid-solo… but he recovered like an absolute pro

28 April 2021, 16:03 | Updated: 30 April 2021, 15:42

"Descent into Oboe hell" (LSO)

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

A masterclass in quick-thinking, and how to turn a technical mishap into a museum-worthy viral moment.

It happened during a performance of the Berlioz opera The Damnation of Faust at the Barbican, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

London Symphony Orchestra’s principal oboe Olivier Stankiewicz was about to embark upon his big solo moment. But as he began to play, he realised there was a water bubble trapped in his keys.

Slapping his instrument in an attempt to clear it, Stankiewicz ended up splitting the reed in the process.

But second oboe, Rosie Jenkins, was ready to jump in and save the day.

In a heartbeat, the principal oboist grabs the second oboist’s instrument and continues his solo seamlessly, nipping the potential concert disaster straight in the bud.

The part of the story that wasn’t captured on camera, the LSO explains on YouTube, is that Jenkins cleaned Stankiewicz’s instrument, calmly fitted it with a new reed and handed it back to him, all in time for their next entries.

Read more: The Berlin Phil hoped to prank a soloist by playing the wrong concerto… but it didn’t go to plan >

“And meanwhile, none of the players around them bats an eyelid, and no one in the hall is any the wiser that there has been a drama,” the orchestra adds.

Bravo to this oboe duo for seamlessly handling an all-too-familiar woodwind mishap with grace, agility and exceptionally cool heads.

London Symphony Orchestra is Classic FM’s Orchestra in the City of London.