Oboe and Cor Anglais

NEXT Musician 2018-19

Japanese oboist Mana Shibata lives in Cheshire and enjoys a varied career as an orchestral and chamber musician. Mana freelances with orchestras such as Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Manchester Camerata, and is currently on trial with City of London Sinfonia. She is most frequently seen performing with her wind quintet Magnard Ensemble, who are selected artists for both the Tillett and Tunnell Trusts for the current season, and their debut CD, Revolting Rhymes and Marvellous Music received a 4 star review from BBC Music Magazine. As well as Brahms Lieder, Wagner operas and Stravinsky ballets (and great many other composers for that matter), contemporary music is something that keeps Mana excited about music. She has worked with Psappha and Octandre Ensemble, and in June 2018 she premiered a solo oboe work by the young composer, Leo Geyer at Beaminster Festival. 
Mana left her hometown, Tokyo aged 13 to study at Chetham’s School of Music, then at the Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Mana has won several awards including Evelyn Rothwell/Barbirolli Prize at the RAM, Craxton Memorial Trust Award, and the Cains Advocates Prize at the 2014 Barbirolli International Oboe Competition.   

Why are you looking forward to taking part in NEXT?

Melinda Maxwell has been my inspiration since I was an undergraduate and when I found out that there was an opportunity to study and work with her and her colleagues at BCMG, I wasted no time in applying. Music and the arts in general are sadly struggling and I have felt for many years now that some of my real interests as a musician have been sacrificed in order to survive.

New Music should be given more opportunities to shine, and for everyone to listen without preconceptions – not all contemporary music is “squeaky”! By being part of this new programme, I hope to reconnect with where classical music is heading and learn how it has got where it is now. I also hope to improve my communication skills with the audience, not only through my performance but outside of concerts, as my ultimate aim as a musician is to entice as many people as I can to listen to a wide variety of music with no prejudices. I am absolutely thrilled to have been chosen to take part in the NEXT Programme and cannot wait to get started!