Since 1994, Robert Sheena has been the principal English horn player for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops Orchestra. As a result of his mastery of his instrument, Sheena has been honored with several premieres and appearances as soloist with the BSO/BPO, and has received much critical and audience acclaim. At Tanglewood in 1996, he was a featured soloist with the BSO in André Previn’s Reflections for English horn, cello, and chamber orchestra. In 1999, he performed the solo English horn in Sibelius's Swan of Tuonela with the BSO in Symphony Hall, and on opening night at Tanglewood in 2000, where he was a soloist, with then-principal trumpet Chalres Schlueter, with the BSO in Aaron Copland's Quiet City, a work he has also performed with the BPO. In 1998, David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony commissioned a work for English horn and orchestra, Gabriel Gould's Watercolors, expressly for Sheena, who premiered and later recorded the piece with that orchestra under Miller's direction. He gave the premiere of Dan Pinkham's Odes for English horn and organ at the American Guild of Organists convention in 1998. An alumnus of the Tanglewood Music Center, he now works with TMC Fellows in chamber music coachings and master classes at Tanglewood. Along with BSO principal oboe John Ferrillo, he co-directs an intensive two-week summer workshop for young oboists at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.
Prior to joining the BSO, Sheena performed frequently as an extra with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. From 1987 to 1991, he was assistant principal oboe and solo English horn with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and with the San Antonio Symphony from 1991 to 1994.
Bachelor of Music, University of California at Berkeley. Master of Music, Northwestern University. Studies with Ray Still, Grove Schiltz, William Banovetz, John Mack, and Marc Lifschey. Also faculty of Boston University, Boston Conservatory, and Longy School of Music.
Photo by Michael J. Lutch/courtesy BSO